Polystichum arcostichoides - Christmas Fern
"Christmas Fern is a rhizome subterranean, decumbent, woody, densely scaly-scruffy evergreen that may grow 2 to 3 feet high in a fountain-like manner. The leaves are known as fronds. The fronds have many leaflets and grow directly from the ground in a clump, so no bark is present. No flowers are produced. The fern produces black spores on the underside of the leaf. Its fiddleheads emerge silvery in the spring.
"Not all fronds are fertile. The fertile fronds are narrower at the tip.
"It is best grown in organically rich, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Crown rot problems can occur in poorly drained soils, particularly in the winter. It can typically be found growing in rich rocky woods, along stream banks, in swamps or thickets.
"This fern will not spread or naturalize, however its clumps will increase in size over time.
"It provides winter cover near the ground for songbirds who also use parts and scale-like hairs in nest construction.
"In mass plantings, it makes an excellent plant to combat soil erosion on slopes." (North Carolina Extension)
"An aphid, Amphorphora ampullata, sucks plant juices from the Christmas Fern and other ferns. During the winter, the evergreen fronds of this fern are eaten sparingly by White-Tailed Deer. In addition, young fronds may be eaten by such upland gamebirds as the Ruffed Grouse and Wild Turkey. Overall, the value of this fern to wildlife is limited." (Hilty)
- "Polystichum acrostichoides in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden" By Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55501873
"Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern), West Hartford, VT" by Doug_McGrady is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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