Family: Dryopteridaceae Genus: Polystichum Botanical name: Polystichum falcatum Cultivar: Rochfordianum Common name: Japanese Holly Fern
For years this fern was a member of the Cyrtomium genus; but for good botanical reasons Cyrtomium has recently been merged into the very large Polystichum genus. However, whether known botanically as Cyrtomium or Polystichum, this particular species has always been most widely known as the Japanese Holly Fern. It has dark green, polished glossy fronds which usually have just ten pinnae (leaflets). When mature, it is a magnificent eye-catching plant that needs plenty of space for its 70cm fronds, which arch out at a low angle. 'Rochfordianum' is a cultivated variety in which the pinnae are fringed or indented around the edge rather like a holly or Mahonia leaf. It is well-worth the effort to seek out, or create a specially sheltered place for this magnificent fern for it is not as hardy in British gardens as the rather similar Sickle-leaved Holly Fern Polystichum devexiscapulae. And if you have the space in a cool green house or conservatory, you should see it as a 'must' have.