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Christmas Fern
Polystichum acrostichoides

This fern is pretty wide-spread and abundant in eastern deciduous forests. In the spring and summer, the new fronds are very upright. However in the late fall they become horizontal. This movement helps the plant be less exposed to cold, drying winds, and to be closer to warmer soil/ground temperatures.

The warmer winter leaf temperatures promote photosynthetic activity – which is helpful because the Christmas fern remains metabolically active on warm winter days.

Size: 12-24" tall
Family: Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)
Habitat: Moist to dry forests and woodlands.
Identifiers: Evergreen fern with pinnate fronds from an upright stem. In late fall, the fronds become horizontal, where they remain green until new fronds appear in early spring.
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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