Polystichum polyblepharum

Tassel Fern, Bristle Fern

(14 customer reviews)


Prized for its glossy dark fronds and attractive scaly chestnut midribs, the Japanese Tassel Fern offers an extra gift in spring when it produces delicate furry silver knuckles of new growth.

Polystichum polyblepharum is a hardy evergreen fern bearing stiff, erect, lance-shaped fronds which resemble a shuttlecock. The overlapping fronds of dark green glossy foliage and striking scales make this a perfect elegant fern for a shaded spot in the garden.


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Origin: Japan, China and Korea
Genus: Polystichum
Species / Cultivar: polyblepharum
Common Name: Tassel Fern, Bristle Fern
Synonym: Polystichum luctuosum

Plant Biography

Native to China, South Korea and Japan, Polystichum polyblepharum is one of the choicest of garden ferns, having interest at most stages of the year. Newly emerging croziers are covered in scales, and as they develop the tips fold backwards to make the ‘tassels’ of the Tassel Fern.

The Latin specific epithet ‘polyblepharum’ means “many eyelashes”, which refers to the bristles on the stipe and rachis, which give it one of its other common names: ‘Bristle Fern’.

As the fronds age they turn a glossy deep green and are beautifully presented in a slightly recurved rosette, like a soft light-reflecting mirror in a shady spot.

Polystichum polyblepharum
Soil: Moisture Retaining
Soil that drains at a slower rate due to higher organic matter content.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: High
Likely to require supplementary watering in warmer months, even once established.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Part Shade
Enjoys several hours of direct sunlight but may enjoy dappling or shade at midday.
Eventual Height: 0.6m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 0.6m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Semi Evergreen
May only remain evergreen in milder winters, or only loose leaves for a short period.

Expert Tip

The tassel fern is a great choice for delivering interest year-round in shady and well-drained mixed borders. It's often noted that its fine foliage looks particularly charming when covered in frost in winter.
Polystichum polyblepharum Garden Design and Pairing

Polystichum polyblepharum Garden Design and Pairing

A classic use of ferns in garden design is to mix them with plants with contrasting leaf textures and colours.

Asplenium scolopendrium makes for a brilliant companion as its glossy, lance shaped fronds provide rich textural contrast.

To emphasise this contrast, try planting with purple leaved shade loving plants like Actaea, or boldly compliment them with hellebores to add a splash of colour.

Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Polystichum polyblepharum requires little maintenance yet can grow quite enormous as ferns go, so long as its given deep, rich and moist soil. New growth appears early in the year, so make sure to protect them from any late frosts.

Consider planting the rhizome at an angle to help combat any crown rot problems, which usually only occur in poorly drained soils.

Lush and shiny, these are some really good-looking ferns.


Lush and shiny, these are some really good-looking ferns.

14 customer reviews for Polystichum polyblepharum

Was very keen to see the plant and was not disappointed. Arrived and left in a safe place and it was well packed. I have no doubt my client will be very happy! Thanks!

Steven Bradley

Absolutely stunning! Arrived super quickly and in perfect condition. Over the moon with how it looks in the garden.


Lush and shiny, these are some really good-looking ferns.


Friendly service, lovely healthy plant – lets hope I can keep it that way!

Mrs P