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Polystichum imbricans

Polystichum imbricans (D.C. Eaton) D.H. Wagner

Narrowleaf Swordfern, Narrow-leaf Sword Fern, Dwarf Western Sword Fern

Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)



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

A smaller, more compact version of P. munitum, but otherwise very similar. The large clumps of dark evergreen fronds are 1-2+ ft. tall. The fronds are once-divided, with toothed pinnae.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Fronds up to about 32 inches long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.


Native Distribution: Cascade/Sierran axis from c. WA to s. CA, Klamath region & Olympic Mts.
Native Habitat: Dry, rocky, thin conifer woods or open places

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Deer proof. Transplants well and lends a look of lushness to the woodland garden. Looks best planted in groups or drifts.


Description: Spores.
Commercially Avail: yes

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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