Polystichum acutidens

Synonym Polystichum deltodon var. acutidens Epithet means "distinctly sharply pointed." Evergreen, 1 ft. (30 cm). Zones 6 to 8.

description: The small rhizome is erect and the equally small four to five annually produced fronds lounge in a relaxed fashion. The grooved pea-green stipe has a deciduous allotment of a very few pale tan scales which leave a darker stub when shed. The lanceolate, matte green blade is once-

Forked frond apex of Polystichum aculeatum 'Cristatum' in the extensive and comprehensive Kohout collection.

Miniature swords of Polystichum acutidens fronds stand upright in the foreground of the garden.

pinnate with a prominent spiny thumb adjacent to the rachis. Fifteen to twenty pairs of pinnae are serrate with pinnules traced by the sori with peltate indusia. In short it looks like a miniature edition of Polystichum munitum.

range and habitat: Polystichum acutidens grows in the Himalayas, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. References do not indicate natural habitat preferences.

culture and comments: This dwarf is easily grown in average woodland soil. It has been successfully introduced with rave reviews from devoted gardeners in Zone 6 in New Jersey to fellow zealots from temperate northern California to British Columbia. It is extremely close to Polystichum deltodon in botanical definitions with the minute distinction being that the P. acutidens pinnae are widely spaced and falcate whereas those of P. deltodon are squared and close to overlapping. In the garden, both are undemanding and welcome as year-round greenery and hardy elfin foreground companions for the fleeting, flowering bright lights of springtime perennial beds.

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