Polystichum (pol-list-ik-um), or Christmas fern, is native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to Minnesota and south to Florida and eastern Texas. The fern is found in both dry and moist wooded slopes, moist banks and ravines. Fountain-like clump to 2' tall and features leathery, lance-shaped, evergreen fronds. Crosiers (young fiddleheads) in spring are silvery and scaled. Sori appear on the undersides of the pinnae only at the ends (last 1/3) of the fronds. Evergreen fronds provide good winter interest for the landscape.
Genus name comes from the Greek words polys meaning many and stichos meaning in a row in reference to its spore cases being in rows.
Best grown in organically rich, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Consider planting rhizome at an angle to help combat potential crown rot problems which can occur in poorly drained soils. Although rhizomatous, this fern will not spread or naturalize, however clumps will increase in size over time.
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 9
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil