Polystichum acrostichoides (Michx.) Schott - Christmas Fern


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Polystichum acrostichoides - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Dryopteridaceae


Wooded slopes. Old wooded dune slopes. Prefers rich, alkaline soil.


Woody associates include Acer saccharum, Cornus florida, Euonymus obovatus, Fagus grandifolia, Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Liriodendron tulipifera, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Sambucus pubens, Tilia americana, Viburnum acerifolium.


Nova Scotia west to WI, south to FL, TX, and Mexico.


Evergreen fern from a short-creeping rhizome. Leaves deep green, leathery, to 3' long; blade lance-shaped, not reduced at the base but tapering rapidly from middle to tip, arching; leaflets lance-shaped, eared, short-stemmed, bristle tipped, incurving teeth, 20 to 40 pairs, alternate or opposite; stalk short, brown at base, very scaly. Fertile leaflets smaller than the sterile ones. Fruit dots numerous, round, at end of veins.


Flowers NA

Wetland indicator: Upland

The common name refers to the traditional use of this evergreen fern in Christmas decorations.



Cobb, B. 1984. A Field Guide to Ferns and Their Related Families.
Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY.


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005