Japanese Tassel Fern
Polystichum polyblepharum – Looking like a mini Cycad the beautiful Japanese Tassel Fern is a virtual evergreen. It is considered by some fanciers to be the or among the most beautiful of ferns. It is unquestionably choice and mesmerizing. Fronds are dark, glossy green on rich brown woolly stems. It is architecturally striking. And its curious resemblance to a mini Cycad gives this fantastic fern a primitive but simultaneously an elegant stance... well, after all, the ferns are an ancient non-flowering group - just envision the fantastical portraits conjured by artist renditions depicting the Mesozoic period. Do not plant Polystichum polyblepharum deeply – the top part of the clump where frond stems (rachi) meet crown must be planted above the soil line. As the fern ages and it loses older fronds the old rachi scars remain gradually growing the crown higher out of the ground forming a beaked dome or shuttlecock form. And speaking of soil, Japanese Tassel Fern likes even moisture, a good soil that drains but avoid wet feet. If it can be kept drier in winter this may be of benefit. Early morning or very late day sun, dappled light or bright, open shade will suffice. Please scroll down to the Genus Overview for more information about ferns. Pot grown Division.
Zone:5 to 9
What is my hardiness zone?
Characteristics and Attributes for Polystichum polyblepharum
Season of Interest (Foliage)
- Spring / Summer / Autumn
- Deer Resistant
- Dappled Shade
- Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
- Natural Garden
- Rock Garden
- Cutting Garden
Growth Rate in the Garden
Genus Overview: Ferns
Ferns. The easy, elegant and exceptional beauty of ferns cannot be understated. All ferns, beautiful as specimens unto themselves, are extraordinary in their simple ability to provide rich contrast to other companions wherever their requirements befit.
Habituated to so many environments many of the ferny pteridophytes – vascular plants that reproduce by spores, not seeds - are woodland denizens thriving on the cool, damp forest floor like the Christmas Fern, Polystichum acrostochoides with some preferring the wetter disposition of bogs, swamps, and stream banks such as Osmunda cinnamomea. Others will colonize gritty soils in shade or sun like the running Hay-scented fern, Dennstaedtia punctilobula and many among the Cheilanthes. Some are tough enough to grasp a foothold in the crack of a rock, these are lithophytic, as with Asplenium trichomanes. And some – most of these tropical in origin are truly epiphytic, clinging to tree bark as they unfurl their fronds from embryonic croziers to reach into the forest light such as the primitive looking Staghorn Fern, Platycerium bifurcatum or Rabbit-foot Fern, Davallia fejeensis .
And many have historic medicinal uses such as Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum pedtaum – this from medicinalherbinfor.org, “Expectorant, anti-rheumatic, demulcent, pectoral, refrigerant, tonic”... Native Americans throughout North America used maidenhair as a hair wash to make their hair shiny.” And in a more Bacchanalian use: as a flavoring in liquers.
There was probably something fern-like, an ancient ferny forebear(s) if you will, living during the Devonian some 60 to 70 million years ago. Ferns, some we still recognize today are descendents from an ancient order whose reign during the Carboniferous Age is legend, where giant horsetails and monstrous club mosses still populate the misty recesses of our dreams... and whose contemporary plundering by Homo sapiens in the vast burning of fossil fuels is altering our climate at such an alarming rate that more among the many are beginning to query as to the potential for another mass extinction – the closing chapter of another age, a blip in the larger context of perceived time. But I digress....
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