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Archive for December 22, 2011

Christmas fern

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Christmas fern (Polystichum achrostichoides), a native, perennial fern, is very common throughout the woods of the Northeast. The association with Christmas is an old one, for the evergreen fronds were once harvested by the ton, baled into bundles and sold to florists for wreath making.  One easy way to confirm the identification of this fern is to examine an individual pinna (leaflet). If you use your imagination, each pinna looks like a Christmas stocking!  This year’s fronds will die next spring as the new fiddleheads unfurl, revealing the coming year’s fronds.