Plant DetailShow Menu

Fish Tail Cyrtomium falcatum

Phonetic Spelling
sir-TOH-mee-um fal-KAY-tum
Description

Holly fern is a fern that is native to southern Asia and gets it common name from the leaflet's resemblance to the leaves of a holly shrub. Typically an evergreen, it can also be deciduous in colder locations.  It has escaped cultivation and naturalized in some areas of the southeastern USA.

This easy-to-grow, stout, scaly fern grows best in moist, humus-rich soil in a shady location.  Its native habitats include hardwood forests with moist, cool, well-drained soil. It is also grown as a houseplant.

It is seldom damaged by deer or rabbits and has some tolerance to salt.

The spores are light green when young and darken as they mature.  They are located on the underside of the fronds in a scattered fashion.  

This low-maintenance plant requires no pruning, however, fronds damaged by frost can be removed for a neater appearance.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Fronds pinnately compound
  • Pinnate oblong-ovate, falcate
  • Sori & indusium round
  • Lacks the lacy-like fronds of many other ferns
  • Rhizomes ascending to erect, short, densely scaly basally.
  • Sori uniformly distributed, round, numerous; indusium peltate, orbicular.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Scale, fungal spots and root rot can be issues for this plant.  Mealybugs and mites will attack when the plant has been weakened by drought.

VIDEO Created by NC State Extension's Homegrown series featuring Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum.

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Coastal Foundation Garden Garden Treasures
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#heat tolerant#houseplant#perennials#salt tolerant#shade garden#fern#rabbit resistant#cpp#herbaceous#dappled sunlight#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#colonies#fantz#understory planting#humidity tolerant#partial shade tolerant#HS302#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#colonizing#drought intolerant#heavy shade tolerant#container plant#perennial fern#broadleaf#perennial#colony
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#heat tolerant#houseplant#perennials#salt tolerant#shade garden#fern#rabbit resistant#cpp#herbaceous#dappled sunlight#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#colonies#fantz#understory planting#humidity tolerant#partial shade tolerant#HS302#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#colonizing#drought intolerant#heavy shade tolerant#container plant#perennial fern#broadleaf#perennial#colony
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cyrtomium
    Species:
    falcatum
    Family:
    Polypodiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China to Temp. Eastern Asia and Vietnam
    Play Value:
    Easy to Grow
    Shade
    Textural
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heavy shade, Deer and salt
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 5 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Ground Cover
    Houseplant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plants reproduces via spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The dark green fronds that grow to 2' long are coarse and leathery. A stiff, arching form with 3-11 pairs of 3-4" long, randomly spaced, scythe-shaped pinnate fronds. It has open vase shape with lustrous, pinnately compound fronds with short-petiolulate, oblong to ovate, falcate, margin dentate above, entire basally.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The slender stem form an arching mound.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heat
    Heavy Shade
    Humidity
    Rabbits
    Salt
    Problems:
    Weedy