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Polystichum munitum (Western swordfern)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Polystichum munitum

Polystichum munitum (Kaulf.) C. Presl

Western swordfern, Pineland sword fern, Western sword fern

Dryopteridaceae (Wood Indies-Almond Family)

Synonym(s): Polystichum munitum var. incisoserratum


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

This is a refined fern with a massive clump of 3-5 ft., dark-green fronds that resemble a palm tree top cut off. The fronds are evergreen and occur in clumps of 75-100.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf: Dark Green
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Brown


USA: AK , CA , ID , MT , OR , SD , WA
Canada: BC , MB
Native Distribution: CA coast, n. to AK & to n.w. MT
Native Habitat: Damp conifer woods below 2500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Various moist soils but tolerates dry conditions.
Conditions Comments: This fern is deer proof. It transplants well and lends a look of lushness to the woodland garden. Looks best planted in groups or drifts.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Spores. It will spread well on its own but plants can be divided in fall.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Polystichum munitum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Polystichum munitum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Polystichum munitum


Record Last Modified: 2009-03-25
Research By: TWC Staff

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