Cyrtomium hookerianum Hookers holly fern

Epithet is after either Sir W. J. Hooker (1785-1865) or Sir Joseph D. Hooker (1817-1911), both of whom served as directors of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Evergreen, 2 ft. (60 cm). Zones 6 (with protection) to 10.

description: The rhizome is erect. Pea-green stipes with a smattering of brownish scales are half the length of the frond. Broadly lanceolate, once-pinnate blades have up to 15 pairs of

Broad foliage on Cyrtomium hookerianum.

pointed oblong pinnae without auricles. polished dark green, the pinnae are 5 to 6 in. (13 to 15 cm) long by 2 in. (5 cm) wide, and swirl upwards at their tips. Veins are netted but not prominent. Peltate-protected sori are abundantly distributed on the fronds' undersides, and clearly visible as pimples on the fronds' upper surfaces. (In 1997 Christopher Fraser-Jenkins reassigned this species to Phanerophlebiopsis caduca, a genus intermediate between Cyrtomium and Polystichum.)

range and habitat: This Japanese native comes from the deep and moist woods of Kyushu.

culture and comments: German specialists have this in cultivation in protected Zone 6 gardens. My lone plant survived its first winter (as a youngster) in Zone 8. With its mid green radiance, it is a handsome complement to the pastel greens, hosta blues, and pale yellows in the garden design. Give it nutrient-rich compost, plenty of shade, and a site nestled among shrubby plants for protection from the extremes of heat and cold.

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