Latin: saxum, a rock + frango, to break. Because it grows among the rocks, the thought might have been that it actually split the rocks when it grew.
Rhizome: erect, branching, giving rise to few fronds.
Frond: 40 cm high by 15 cm wide, evergreen, at least in warmer climates, persistent stipe bases, monomorphic, blade/stipe ratio: 2:1.
Stipe: grooved, straw-colored, brown and thickened at the base, scales black-brown, vascular bundles: 3-7 in a c-shaped pattern.
Blade: 2-pinnate pinnatifid at the base, quickly less above, ovate-triangular, dull, mixed scales on rachis, some hairlike, smaller ones bullate; costa scales smaller, very bullate.
Pinnae: 12 to 14 pair, subopposite; costae grooved above, continuous from rachis to costae; margins sinuate, slightly turned under; veins embossed on the upper surface.
Sori: round, in 2 rows on the pinna, usually one per pinnule on the outer half, indusium: reniform, 1 mm, at a sinus, sporangia: brownish.
Habitat: among rocks, moist cliffs in high mountains.
Distribution: Japan, Manchuria, Korea, northeastern China.
Hardy to -25°C, USDA Zone 5.
Polystichum varium (L.) C. Presl., misapplied
Dryopteris varia (L.) Kuntze var. saxifraga (H. Itô) H. Ohba
Illustration from The Cultivated Species of the Fern Genus Dryopteris in the United States, Barbara Joe Hoshizaki and Kenneth A. Wilson, American Fern Journal, 89, 1, (1999), with permission.