Hardy, North American perennial
Description: Dark, leathery, evergreen fronds up to 5 inches across form a handsome groundcover with arching foliage
Habit: Fronds reach 1-2 feet high; clumps grow up to 2 feet wide
Culture: Prefers moist, rich, acidic soil and part shade
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 3
Origin: North America
This evergreen, Eastern North American species gets its name because it is still showy at Christmas-time and throughout the winter. In early spring new growth begins with light green fronds, resembling fiddle heads, unfurling at the center of the clump. Christmas fern was introduced into Europe in 1820. Although it is common in the woods at Monticello, it was not mentioned specifically in Thomas Jefferson's writing. During the 18th century, fern fronds were often used to pack around plants for shipping. This easy to grow perennial is more drought-resistant than other fern species.