Ontario Ferns website

Christmas Fern
Polystichum acrostichoides

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) Other scientific names: Aspidium acrostichoides, Dryopteris acrostichoides, Nephrodium acrostichoides

French names: Polystic faux-acrostic

Family: Wood Fern Family (Dryopteridaceae)

Similar species:
  •   Northern Holly Fern (Polystichum lonchitis) - very similar.

  •   Polypody (Polypodium virginianum) - smaller.

  •   Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) - smaller.
  •   Braun's Holly Fern (Polystichum braunii)

Fronds: Evergreen, Once divided

Habitat: Forests

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Very common.

Photographs: 139 photographs available, of which 14 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Christmas Fern in the woods.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

The fronds are fairly upright, but gradually droop late in the season.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

New growth arising from the middle of last year's fronds.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Showing the upright aspect of the new fronds.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Christmas Fern and Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) in the spring (mid May).

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Christmas Fern fiddleheads are extremely photogenic!

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Christmas Fern does not have a separate fertile stalk. Instead, the fertile pinnae (leaflets) are carried at the top of the regular fronds. The fertile pinnae are much smaller than the regular pinnae.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Closeup showing the two types of pinnae (leaflets).

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Underside of a fertile pinna, showing the sori.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Herbarium specimen showing whole plant.

(Royal Botanical Gardens Herbarium,Burlington,Ontario).

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Herbarium specimen showing fronds and leaflets.

(Royal Botanical Gardens Herbarium,Burlington,Ontario).

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Herbarium specimen showing roots.

(Royal Botanical Gardens Herbarium,Burlington,Ontario).

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Another herbarium specimen showing roots.

(Royal Botanical Gardens Herbarium,Burlington,Ontario).


Range map for Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)