Oh, Christmas Fern

20150628-20150628-_DSC0002

Polystichum acrostichoides
Dryopteridaceae (wood fern family)

specimen showing sterile and fertile fronds; pardon the boot!
——>

If you’ve been walking around the woods during this freakishly warm season, you’ve probably seen Christmas fern, a widespread evergreen fern of moist to dry woodlands that’s found all over the eastern part of North America.  It’s a lovely plant for the garden, with glossy dark fronds adding winter interest, and a tidy, clump-forming habit.

20150731-20150731-_DSC0449

 

young frond in July

 

 

 

Christmas fern stands about two feet tall, and is easily identified (especially in winter). Each pinna has a distinctive upward-pointing lobe near the base, variously described as a thumb, or toe, or ear. (The technical term is auricle, meaning ear-shaped lobe.)

The fertile fronds have a distinctive shape, with the sori-bearing pinna becoming shorter, narrower, and more widely spaced on the upper portion of the fronds:

20150709-20150709-_DSC0058

20150709-20150709-_DSC0062

 

 

 

 

 

 

sori on underside

20150731-20150731-_DSC0448

 

 

 

 

 

crozier in July

 

 

ps: please refer to my posts about fern terminology and fertile fronds for definitions of some of the jargon

One thought on “Oh, Christmas Fern

  1. Pingback: In Search of Something Green (and Native) | Elizabeth's Wildflower Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s