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Christmas Fern

Scientific name: Polystichum acrostichoides

Christmas fern is a native fern which occurs in both dry and moist wooded slopes, moist banks and ravines. Typically it grows in a fountain-like clump to 2 feet tall and features leathery, lance-shaped, evergreen (green at Christmastime, as the common name suggests) fronds. Young fiddleheads in spring are silvery and scaled.



The evergreen pinnae (leaflets) of Christmas fern are distinctive as they have a lobe that has the appearance of the toe of a Christmas stocking. The fiddleheads are also distinctive, with silvery, white scales.


Non-flowering. It reproduces through spores.

Blooming Season

While it has no blooms, it remains green from spring through Christmas!


Shade to full shade. It likes the acidic humus-rich soils of our woodlands. Also found near the banks of streams. Rabbit, deer and drought tolerant.

Human Connections

These are available commercially and are a nice addition to a garden as a ground cover or along a border since they last all year long, including winter. And, like all ferns, they are completely deer resistant.

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