Two ferns to help us get into the Christmas spirit

Thanks to plant systematics student Shelby Meckstroth for this post!

The Cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) might be strange to talk about at this time of year, as their green fronds appear in warmer months. However, their fertile fronds emerge from the center of plant, which look like sticks covered in cinnamon powder and remind us all of wonderful cinnamon treats we eat during Christmas time. It is also special because it is considered a living fossil for being found in fossils 70 million years old – long before our current Christmas traditions started!

The second fern may get us into the Christmas spirit even if it is only for its name! The Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) probably got its name because it is one of the few ferns that are still green during the month of December.  Since it is an evergreen and frost tolerant, like the Christmas trees in your living room, maybe next year you can plant one of these in the garden and make it a miniature outdoor Christmas tree!xmas-ferns 


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