Any of a number of ferns that have circular shield-like scales protecting the spore cases:
- A European fern of damp woodland (genus Polystichum, family Dryopteridaceae). (In North America) an evergreen fern (genus Thelypteris, family Thelypteridaceae). (In Australasia) a fern of forested country (family Aspidiaceae)..
- Christmas fern and soft shield fern (P. setiferum) remain green; the fiddleheads of many ferns emerge early from the winter ground.
- Cinnamon, royal, and southern shield ferns will grow in full sun if constant moisture is available.
- The distinctive shaggy, moss texture and neat habit of growth sets this variety of soft shield fern apart.
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