Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Polystichum munitum
* Western Sword Fern – Polystichum munitum (pol-ISS-tih-kum
MEW-nih-tum or mew-NEE-tum)
Family: Dryopteridaceae (Woodfern Family)
Native to: Western N. America from AK to Baja, mostly coastal - locally in San Gabriel Mtns; most
commonly as understory species in damp conifer woods below 2500 ft.
clumping perennial fern
mature height: 3-6 ft. mature width: 3-6 ft.
Stately large fern. Leaves (fronds) dark green, single-pinnate, clustered around the base. Plants
achieve largest size in shady, moist conditions. Individual leaves live 1-2 years and plants are longlived even in gardens. Leaves unfurl like a fiddle-neck – showy. Very tough fern.
Non-blooming. Spores in two rows of sori that flank the midrib of each pinna.
Uses in the garden: Widely used as a garden fern.
Plant has a woodsy look, so great in a natural
garden under pines and other trees that require regular water.
Good choice as an evergreen
background in shady areas – for example, to hide a shady wall or fence.
As a groundcover on
shaded slopes or an accent in large containers. Leaves used extensively in floral arrangements.
Young fronds cooked & eaten (in moderation) and poultices & teas used medicinally.
Sensible substitute for: Non-native Sword Ferns.
Attracts: Excellent cover for birds, insects.
Part-shade to full shade
Well-drained, acidic (pH 4.0-6.0) soils.
Moist soils – Zone 3
OK; use ½ strength every month or so.
Use leaf-litter mulch
Easy to grow and tough if given adequate shade & water. Cut off dead fronds.
Propagation: from spores:
by divisions: easy in winter/spring.
Plant/seed sources (see list for source numbers): 1, 7, 8, 13, 14, 20
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