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Plants of the UNF Campus

Cyrtomim falcatum - Japanese holly fern
Family Dryopteridaceae (Polypodiaceae by some)


Various references report about twelve to fifty species of Cyrtomium that are native to Africa, Asia, and Pacific islands. Reportedly, Cyrtomium is very closely related to the genus Polystichum. These issues suggest that the accepted taxonomy of Cyrtomium may undergo change in the future. Japanese holly fern makes a dense clump of evergreen foliage. Leaves are shiny and somewhat leathery. It makes an attractive groundcover for shady locations when planted in groups. It is sometimes grown as a house plant in cooler climates.


See this plant in the raised bed east of building 10 under the magnolia tree.


Herbaceous perennial to about eighteen to twenty-four inches tall.

Care Instructions:

Light: part shade to shade

Water: not very drought tolerant, but tough for a fern

Soil: best in an acidic, moist, well-drained soil

This plant is well known to gardeners in northeast Florida. It grows best in shade with ample moisture. Irrigation will be necessary in dry sites but do not plant it in a soggy spot.