Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Western Sword Fern, Sword Fern, Western Swordfern
Polystichum munitum

Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Polystichum (pol-IS-tick-um) (Info)
Species: munitum (MUN-ee-tum) (Info)

Synonym:Aspidium munitum
Synonym:Polystichum munitum var. incisoserratum
Synonym:Aspidium munitum var. incisoserratum
Synonym:Polystichum solitarium

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12 members have or want this plant for trade.

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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive anelson77 On May 3, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

A mainstay of dry shady parts of the garden in the Pacific Northwest. Looks great year round.

Positive jonaflatooni On Dec 23, 2007, jonaflatooni from Port Orchard, WA wrote:

Good solid native plant. A staple to our local forests. attractive foliage and hardy nature.

Have found the best aesthetic value achieved when you remove all mature fronds every year to every two years right before the surge of new fronds in the spring. The plant has no problem with the lose of fronds and it keeps the stand looking fresh and healthy.

Neutral Cretaceous On Mar 25, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This fern is native to British Columbia, Canada, the USA (Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Washington), and Guadalupe Island, Mexico. Commonly available in nurseries locally.

Positive cramgeorge On Jul 13, 2006, cramgeorge from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

A beautiful native fern ubiquitous (and I mean ubiquitous!) to western washington, western oregon and british columbia forests, this fern is much hardier than mentioned here (i have seen it recorded as a zone 3 and up fern) Nonetheless it certainly has no problem here in drizzly zone 8b. It looks attractive in floral arrangements


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Calistoga, California
El Cerrito, California
Merced, California
Murrieta, California
San Diego, California
Ukiah, California
Clifton, Colorado
Hollywood, Florida
Seffner, Florida
Tampa, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Des Plaines, Illinois
Brookeville, Maryland
Ashland, Oregon
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Gold Hill, Oregon
Grants Pass, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Conway, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Houston, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Weatherford, Texas
Bremerton, Washington
Des Moines, Washington
East Port Orchard, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Kirkland, Washington
Seattle, Washington

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