Soft Shield Fern (Polystichum setiferum)

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Soft Shield Fern (Polystichum setiferum)

8.00

The whole fern has a soft texture with attractively drooping fronds that makes a wonderful lace-like accent in the garden. The twice divided pinnae have distinctly stalked linear-lanceolate pinnules with soft bristly tips on the margins. Since this is a variable species in the wild our sporlings exhibit this same degree of variation in the size and shape of the pinnules as well as their spacing to one another. The species itself is not proliferous on the center rachis. I have noticed some nurseries offering a soft shield variety dubbed "angulare", however, this is redundant as that is an earlier specific epithet for setiferum and there has never been a variety of that name. Most likely the variety being sold as "angulare" is some sort of a divisilobe. The common name so often mis-applied to this fern by ignorant growers is "Alaska fern". There is a hybrid of P. braunii and P. munitum that occurs in Alaska called setigerum which this might be confused with, only by name, not appearance, by those who do poor research or perhaps some lazy grower just felt that making up a name when in doubt would work for the unsuspecting customer. I have even seen forms of the soft shield fern referred to as "Icelandic fern."  Is that for the grower who can't remember "Alaska fern"?

Frond Condition: Evergreen

Mature Size: 3-4'

Origin: Europe

Cultivation requirements: Some Shade, Full Shade, Partly Shaded, Evenly Moist, Slightly Moist

USDA Zones: 6, 7, 8

 

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