Korean Tassel Fern, Japanese Lace Fern, Holly Fern, Bristle Fern

Polystichum polyblepharum

Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Polystichum (pol-IS-tick-um) (Info)
Species: polyblepharum (pol-ee-BLEF-ar-um) (Info)
Synonym:Polystichum setosum
Synonym:Aspidium aculeatum var. japonicum
Synonym:Aspidium polyblepharum
Synonym:Polystichum aculeatum var. japonicum



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round

Suitable for growing in containers


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From spores

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Juneau, Alaska

El Cerrito, California

Hayward, California

Pleasant Hill, California

Tarzana, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Pompano Beach, Florida

Athens, Georgia

Harlem, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Plainfield, Illinois

Greenville, Indiana

Ewing, Kentucky

Crofton, Maryland

Easton, Maryland

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Mount Olive, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)

Chesterland, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Warren, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Mc Kinney, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Blacksburg, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Charleston, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 19, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is my favorite fern. Easy, adaptable, evergreen, clump-forming. The fronds are exceptionally glossy and look almost varnished. Very neat and clean. The fronds of the previous year are best cut back in early spring before the new fronds emerge.

Best in shade with consistent moisture and good drainage.


On Nov 15, 2012, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Semi common fern..sometimes a few years can go by without seeing one for sale. Mine is years and years old...and is recovering from too much drought aka "I forgot too water it for too long". Attractive,looks exotic but is very hardy. I'm surprised nobody posted a pic of one with the new fronds "tasseling". I wish I had more...and will water more too!


On Mar 10, 2011, chuck7701 from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Love the gracefulness of this fern. It is a tough fern, and full shade and good moisture is probably the best condition. In Zone 8 it might be a little too warm in the summer, seems to struggle, probably does best in cooler climates.

Evergreen, but does not like severe cold and ice, comes back after a die off in the winter.

Definitely agree with keeping it moist all the time. Past few droughts, hot summer and not enough water has mine fading away.


On Apr 2, 2009, GreeneLady from Oak Island, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I live in zone 8a This fern does like to be watered on a regular basis, and I think part the reason it does so well for me is because it gets regular drip irrigation at the roots.

I really like the gracefullness of these ferns. They look pretty next to my blue eye grass. Will post a picture if it ever stops raining here!

Definately Evergreen.


On Mar 28, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Polystichum polyblepharum has thrived here in zone 9b, and once established it can grow quite large in size. (I think that this fern is a lot more attractive once it is larger).

Requires space to grow, some shade, acidic soil, and to be kept moist. Commonly available in nurseries locally. Native to Japan, Taiwan, and China.


On Mar 5, 2007, greenkat from Crofton, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Tassel Fern takes the Mid-Atlantic region's frosty winters and hot, humid summers without any problems. I planted this fern two years ago near a north facing wall and it gets no sun at all in the coldest winter months. It has survived a heavy, wet snow that broke all of it's fronds and was, most recently, solidly frozen in an ice storm. I have not had any problems with pests. Slow growing and non-spreading. Great fern!


On Oct 16, 2004, Shadyfolks from Chesterland, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have to agree it is a great fern to own and easy to grow. It is hardy in Z5. The fronds are a beautiful shade of green and are glossy which also give a different texture to the shade garden.


On Oct 11, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

This fern is Evergreen here in both our warmest most protected areas, which push into Zone 7 and our normal Zone 6 areas.

I don't cut the fronds back as I think the older foliage gives it a more natural 'wild' look.
They also help to keep the plant more moist as the dying older fronds act as natural mulch.
Bought 4 as 3" pots they are now well over 15" across.
We don't baby them and have never lost one in three years.

If you've ever wished you could grow Tree Ferns in your zone deprived area...... this is about as close as it gets.


On Oct 9, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a really beautiful fern, and though I have success growing it -doesn't take much effort here- except in trying to keep it looking good in hot weather. Many of the leaves will shrivel in the intense heat and make the fern look ratty and sad if you can't keep it moist on those hot, dry days (gets to 110F here). Lots of overhead protection (dense shade) helps but that may not be enough. Best to grow this fern a little closer to the coast or in a more temperate climate than one finds in inland southern California.


On Oct 8, 2004, tjsangel003 from Warren, OH wrote:

This beautiful fern grows to 2 feet wide, excellent for shady flower bed. Keep moist at all times. Tough fern, not as delicate as others. It grows well in my zone 5 garden. Excellent for beginners.