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Sword Fern
Polystichum munitum
  
About Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) 30 Nurseries Carry This Plant Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern) is an evergreen fern native to western North America, where it is one of the most abundant ferns occurring along the Pacific coast from southeast Alaska south to southern California, and also inland east to southeastern British Columbia, northern Idaho and western Montana, with isolated populations in interior northern British Columbia, the Black Hills in South Dakota, and on Guadalupe Island off Baja California. The dark green fronds of this fern grow to 50-180 centimeter (i.e. nearly 6 feet) tall, in a tight clump spreading out radially from a round base. They are single-pinnate, with the pinnae alternating on the stalk. Each pinna is 1-15 centimeter long, with a small upward-pointing lobe at the base, and the edges are serrated with bristly tips. Individual fronds live for 1.5-2.5 years and remain attached to the rhizome after withering. The round sori occupy two rows on either side of the midrib of each pinna and are covered by a centrally-attached, umbrella-like indusium with fringed edges. They produce light yellow spores.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Fern

Size
Size
1.6 - 5.9 ft tall
2 - 3 ft wide

Form
Form
Upright, Fountain

Growth Rate
Growth Rate
Moderate

Dormancy
Dormancy
Summer Semi-Deciduous, Evergreen

Fragrance
Fragrance
None

Wildlife Supported
 


 
Butterflies & moths hosted ( 3 likely * ) SHOW ALL
*
Thallophaga taylorata Image
Thallophaga taylorataThallophaga taylorata
*
Diarsia esurialis Image
Diarsia esurialisDiarsia esurialis

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Full Shade

Moisture
Moisture
Low

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Max 1x / month once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Ease of Care
Ease of Care
moderately easy

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Medium, Slow

Soil Description
Soil Description
Tolerant of a variety of soils as long as adequate moisture is available. Soil PH: 4.0 - 7.0

Common uses
Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant

Companion Plants
Companion Plants
Good as understory to large trees along with Meadow Rue, Maidenhair Fern, Deer Fern, Western Polypody Fern, and Wild Ginger

Maintenance
Maintenance
Dead fronds may be removed to improve appearance

Sunset Zones
Sunset Zones?
4*, 5*, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Wooded hillsides, slopes, rarely cliffs, outcrops

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 11.8" - 146.1", Summer Precipitation: 0.15" - 5.58", Coldest Month: 26.7" - 54.1", Hottest Month: 48.9" - 81.0", Humidity: 0.01" - 28.77", Elevation: -22" - 10562"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Western Sword Fern, Western Swordfern


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora


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