Plant of the Week: Korean Tassel Fern

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 500 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today. This week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Every spring, gardeners and volunteers cutback the High Line to remove and compost last year's debris to make room for a new season of growth. During Spring Cutback, our spring ephemerals are busy blooming while our perennials are just starting to wake from their winter sleep.

One of my favorite plants to watch at this time is Polystichum polyblepharum, the Korean tassel fern. When this fern wakes, its croisers begin to unfurl stretching toward the sky, covered in a dense layer of bronze hairs that glow in the early morning sun. The crosiers soon flatten out into shiny evergreen fronds, which adds a unique texture and shape to our garden.

Look for the Korean tassel fern's American cousin Polystichum acrostichoides, commonly known as Christmas fern, in an upcoming Plant of the Week blog.


The best location for this fern is a woodland garden which offers moist rich soil. Korean tassel fern is easy to care for in dappled to full shade. The fronds will burn easily in direct summer sun.


You can see the Korean tassel fern below the Philip A. & Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover, on the High Line between West 25th and 27th Street.

Photos by Ayinde Listhrop.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects.

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