Cyrtomium caryotideum – The nursery trade seems to have settled on Fishtail Holly Fern as the most used common name, on the premise that the three-pronged leaf-ends look like the tails of fishes. Cyrtomium caryotideum is characterized by three to six pairs of large pinnae. Erect, leathery grey green fronds with very large pinnate leaflets bearing 3 to 6 pinnae or edges which gives an attractive lobed look.


Highly adaptable for zones 6 through 9, fishtail holly fern does well in part sun or part shade, tolerating more sunlight & doughtiness than most ferns (though preferring perpetually moist soil with good drainage in partial shade), making it a good choice for containers, rock gardens, or rocky ground, where not many ferns would do as well.

Its outstanding garden features make it an ideal candidate, for indoor use as a house holly.

Readily cultivated and welcomed as a visual contrast to more feathery garden material, Use it freely, with its trademark matte green fronds, as a design element to break the potential monotony of a continuous spread of forest-green foliage in the garden’s woodlands. The lighter green of this fern help make dark shady areas seem a little brighter in contrast with silver, bronze and burgundy colored greens. Try combinations with other shade lovers, such as Pulmonaria, Epimedium or Brunnera.

A cultivar of cyrtomium caryotideum showed better formaldehyde removal than areca palm tree.

The bold evergreen leaves are great for creating a textural contrast in the garden. they give a fresh look throughout the spring and summer. Its leathery foliage catches the eye especially when combined with fine
textured ferns. Holly ferns are easy to grow and thrive in all types of shade. They tolerate morning sun, but too much sun or short periods of hot afternoon sun can yellow and burn the foliage.

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Richard Hayward

The plant hunter

Richard Hayward, a famous British fern collector, has enjoyed ferns ever since he encountered them as a boy scout in South Wales and took them to London as souvenirs. After his retirement he owned a small fern farm in North Wales. He still exchanges spores and plants of rare species with other fern enthusiasts.

"I love ferns because of their diversity in shape, foliage, colour and beauty and their enormous urge to survive."



Polystichum yunnanense – This fern grows wonderfully without significant attention, even under dry conditions for a while. This rare fern asks to be discovered by more


Athyrium otophorum ‘Okanum’ – This lovely deer-resistant evergreen fern is so unique that it is actually recognizable from a distance. Anyone that observes Wine and Lime


Dryopteris sieboldii – This is a most unusual fern with magnificent and oddly shaped fronds that mark it out as quite distinct from any other Dryopteris.


Dryopteris sichotensis – A large Asian forest fern with dark scales and strong, flat growing fronds. Occurs in the undergrowth of forests, in the highlands on


Lastreopsis microsora – This fern has been used for years as bedding plant in southern California, the creeping rhizome is moderately slow-growing and easy to control.


Dryopteris koidzumiana – This unique fern loves warmth, so patience is required for it to start growing. But once it does, new fronds emerge with their