Japanese Net Vein Holly Fern
Cyrtomium falcatum - (Linnaeus) K. Presley
Holly Fern is a species known by several common names that takes in/on crevices, coastal cliffs, streambanks, rocky slopes, and other moist, stable areas. It is a perennial plant with a large light brown rhizome. While generally considered a greenhouse plant, it will thrive in a wilderness environment and has escaped from cultivation to become established as an introduced species. It can now be found in much of Europe, North America, the Atlantic Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.
The leaves are known to reach heights of 1.5 feet and is made up of 6 to 10 pairs of shiny bright green leathery leaflets, presented in a dense, vase-shaped clump with arching fronds. The leaves are sickle-shaped as the species name suggests. Each leaflet has a flat to wavy, slightly toothed margin and a netlike pattern of veining. The underside of each leaflet bears spores beneath a coating of brown to blackish protective coating (indusia). The fronds resemble holly branches and leaves, thus the name. It's an evergreen fern, but deciduous in areas where frost is an anual event.
The spores (fruit) are easily carried by wind.
The plant is also a popular ornamental plant in temperate climates, and as a house plant. It is hardier than most ferns as it thrives in light to deep shade with moist soils. It is easily and quickly propagated by spores, not by division.