Braun’s Holly Fern

Braun’s holly fern

Polystichum braunii


Braun’s holly fern is part of the wood fern family. The Braun’s holly fern gains its name from the similarity of its sub-leaflets (pinnules) to the leaves of holly. The frond can be evergreen in milder climates and is generally a dark green. The fronds have a narrowed tip and base, with scales on the underside. The fronds are typically large, growing up to 70cm high and 22 cm wide. The sub-leaflets of Braun’s holly fern have serrated margins with bristle-edged teeth. When ferns have these secondary serrations, they are called “twice cut.” The stem is short, stout, erect, and is covered in brown scales.


Braun’s holly fern prefers cool, moist, and shaded areas within a forest, but is also capable of growing on rocky slopes and moist cliffs.

Wildlife Uses:

A woodland fern, Braun’s holly provides cover for ground nesting birds such as ovenbirds, juncos, and black and white warblers.

Areas of Usage:

An excellent fern for woodland restoration as it prefers cool, shady forests. It is showy enough to enhance hiking trails and grows well along forested riparian zones. It also can thrive in shady areas of an urban yard, especially with a good mulching. Keep it out of direct sun and wind. Braun’s holly fern does not readily reproduce through underground rhizomes, it relies primarily on spores for its propagation.

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