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Polystichum acrostichoides

Polystichum acrostichoides (Michx.) Schott

 

Christmas Fern

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionPteridophytaFerns
ClassFilicopsida“Leptosporangiate” (has to do with how their spores form) ferns—includes most ferns
OrderPolypodialesPolypod ferns
FamilyDryopteridaceaeWood ferns (about 70% of the ferns)
GenusPolystichumFrom the Greek polys, “many,” and stichos, “row,” referring to the rows of sori on the type species
SpeciesacrostichoidesLike genus Acostichum

About plant names...

Christmas ferns are common and rugged, found in woodlands and shady, rocky slopes, in both moist and dry settings. They are so named because they remain green through the winter. They are native to eastern North America.

Identification: Like many ferns, fronds arise from a central root system, expanding outward in a funnel shape. Each stem (rachis) is very scaly, dark brown at the base, fading to green further up. Fronds are dark green and shiny. These ferns are mostly evergreen, looking flattened and bedraggled but otherwise intact in the winter. Fronds are 12-31" (30-80 cm) × 1¾-4½" (5-12 cm), lanceolate, usually tapering rapidly above the middle. Only the upper portion of fertile fronds bear spores—this portion is significantly smaller. Each frond contains 20-40 pinnae (leaflets). The pinnae, each about 1½" (4 cm) long, are also lanceolate, but with a distinctive bump on one side of the base, and fine teeth or spines along the leaf edges. The fiddleheads, called crosiers, are silvery and scaled.

Online References:

Polystichum acrostichoides on www.psu.edu

Polystichum acrostichoides on Wikipedia

Polystichum acrostichoides on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Polystichum acrostichoides at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Polystichum acrostichoides on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site

References:

Cobb, Boughton, Farnsworth, Elizabeth & Lowe, Cheryl, Peterson Field Guides: A Field Guide to Ferns and Their Related Families of Northwestern and Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005, p. 198

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

Sterile pinnae. · 9/15/2012 · Mt. Wachusett, Princeton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

4/29/2010 · Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Chelmsford, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

7/19/2012 · Red Pine Trail, Beaver Brook Association Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

8/24/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 2½ × 3½" (6.6 × 9.8 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

Crested form. · 6/21/2017 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

Sterile pinnae. · 9/15/2012 · Mt. Wachusett, Princeton, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

8/23/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 20 Jun 2017.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

8/23/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

Incised form. · 9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 3 × 4½" (7.9 × 11 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

8/24/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

8/23/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

The smaller pinnae near the end of the frond are the fertile ones. · 9/15/2012 · Mt. Wachusett, Princeton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

Incised form. · 9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 34 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

8/23/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

8/23/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

8/23/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Range: Zones 3-9:

About this map...