Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable
Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase
. No more details are given, but they are probably harvested as they unfurl and eaten cooked.
There are no material uses listed for Polystichum acrostichoides.
Christmas fern was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who used it to treat a variety of complaints
. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.
A tea made from the root is blood purifier, emetic and febrifuge
. It is used in the treatment of chills, fevers, pneumonia, stomach or bowel complaints and rheumatism
. A poultice of the root is used in the treatment of rheumatism
. A decoction of the root has been massaged into rheumatic joints
. The powdered root has been inhaled and then coughed up in order to restore the voice
Spores - best sown as soon as they are ripe, though they can also be sown in the spring. Sow them on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and keep humid until they are well established. Do not plant outside until the ferns are at least 2 years old and then only in a very well sheltered position.
Division. This is best done in the spring
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Polystichum acrostichoides. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Prefers a sandy humus-rich soil in a shady position that is moist even in winter
. Tolerates part sun for up to 6 hours a day if the soil remains moist
. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.5
A very ornamental plant, it is hardy in all parts of Britain but is best grown in a greenhouse.
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Remove old fronds from the plant in the spring because they may harbour fungal diseases
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Polystichum acrostichoides. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Polystichum acrostichoides.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? 1.01.11.21.31.4 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
? 3.03.1 McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana. Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-28925-4 (1977-00-00)
? 4.04.14.24.22.214.171.124.7 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
? 5.05.15.25.3 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
? 7.07.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)
? [Flora of N. America] ()
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