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Christmas Fern
Photo by Jim Jung. All rights reserved.

Christmas Ferns

Polystichum acrostichoides

These common woodland ferns are one of the few relatively large evergreen plants in our area. As such they were often used for Christmas decorations by pioneer families (hence the name) and in some areas are still used that way. Should you gather this species for your holiday decor just be sure to gather only a few fronds from each plant. Moderate harvesting of fern fronds at this time of year won't hurt the plant since a new crop of fronds is already forming deep within the fern's crown that will emerge this coming spring.

Christmas fern fronds (or at least their tough, central ribs) are used in basket-making... or so Ruby tells me.

Christmas Ferns are also reassuring to those pessimists among us (like myself) who (usually around the end of January) worry that spring will never come again... we can always look to the optimistic Christmas ferns for hope.

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The information on this page is tailored to Southern Illinois, Southwest Indiana, Western Kentucky, and Southeast Missouri

Copyright © 2005 Jim Jung. All rights reserved.