Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Polystichum acrostichoides (Michx.) Schott
- Family: Fern (Polypodiaceae)
- Spores: June-October
- Field Marks: The fertile leaf segments are much reduced from the sterile segments and are
borne at the upper ends of the leaves. Every leaf segment has a lobe (auricle) on the upper inner margin.
- Habitat: Woods.
- Habit: Perennial fern from thick, scaly rhizomes.
- Stems: Present only as rhizomes.
- Leaves: Fronds upright, once-pinnate, up to 1 1/2 feet long, with up to 30 or more pairs of segments,
each segment lanceolate to oblong, rounded or pointed at the tip, minutely or coarsely toothed, the
teeth bristle-tipped, with a basal lobe (auricle) on the upper inner margin; leaf stalks densely scaly.
- Reproductive Structures: Sporangia borne on the back of reduced leaf segments at the upper ends of
the leaves, the sporangia completely covering the lower surface of the fertile leaf segments.
- Notes: The evergreen leaves, particularly in pioneer times, were gathered for winter decorations.
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