Arachniodes cavalerii

Epithet is after Julien Cavalerie, a collector who was murdered near Kunming, China.

Evergreen, 2 to 3 ft. (60 to 90 cm), usually lower in cultivation. Zones 6 to 8.

description: The rhizome is erect or very short-creeping. The dark plum-colored stipes are sparsely scaly at the base and one-half of the frond length. Thin-textured but luminous bi-pinnate to tripinnate blades are broadly triangular with tapered tips and five or more pairs of spine-tipped pinnae. The sori with kidney-shaped indusia are scattered along veins.

range and habitat: This species grows in dry woods in China, Taiwan, Japan, and Thailand.

culture and comments: Although perhaps a creeper in its native conditions, in cultivation this species is more likely to be a fern of very few fronds. Handsomely shiny, however, it does well without pampering and adds gloss to shady plantings with contrasting matte foliage. The new growth is late, just after the plant has been forgotten or dismissed. Rather than lose sight of it, I do not cut back the old growth (of three or four fronds) until the new are up and about.

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