Christmas fern stays green all winter; the fronds were formerly used for Christmas decorations. It is common and easy to identify from the shape of the fronds.
- Family: woodfern (Dryopteridaceae)
- Habitat: rich woods and open woods
- Height: fronds 2-3 feet long
- Location of spores: spores on undersides of leaflets
- Petiole (leaf stalk): stout, shallowly-grooved, with dense light-brown scales. leaflets dark green, shiny
- Growth pattern: asymmetric clump
- Persistence: evergreen
- Origin: native
Frond of Christmas fern. The smaller leaflets at the top are the fertile leaflets.
Underside of a frond tip. The brown sori (spore-bearing structures) are very close together; it can be difficult to see the individual dots. The ruler shows inches.
Fiddleheads for Christmas fern emerging in April. Note that last year's fronds are still green.