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Flora of Scotts Creek Watershed

Full Full2 Hillside Frond Frond Closeup New Fronds

Polystichum munitum - Western Sword Fern

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Family Name: Dryopteridaceae

Common Names: Western Sword Fern, Swordfern, Christmas Fern

Origin: Native to California

Habitat: Shaded woods and slopes, rarely cliffs and outcrops. Below 1600 m.

Life Form and Duration: Perennial Fern, 0.5-1.8 m

Comments on overall growth: Many leaved perennial fern. Can have up to 100 large, coarse, rigid fronds clumped together. Root stalk is stout, woody, with reddish-brown scales, suberect to erect with cluster of fronds arising from apex.

Foliage Type: Evergreen

Foliage Description: Stipe and rachis (portions of stem below and within blade of frond) 5-60 cm long, stout, and covered with scales that are dry, thin, 1-3 mm wide (wider at base of stipe), bright glossy green or brown, and dark centered. Laminae (blade portion of frond) generally 2-5 times longer than stipe, 25-100 cm long and 6-22 cm wide, overall lance shape, once pinnate. Pinnae (blade segments) narrowly lance shaped, leathery, dark green upper surface and paler below, margins with short bristle tipped incurved teeth, lower margin tapered to where attached, upper margin extending into small projecting wedge shaped lobe near attachment, offset on either side of central rachis, pinnae in one plane so blade is flat.

Indusia and Sori Description: Numerous sori located on lower surfaces mostly on the middle and upper pinnae of the frond, generally in a single row on either side of the midvein. Indusia peltate (centrally attached), margin fringed with hairs, tardily deciduous.

Spore Production: May-November