Sword Fern

Scientific Name: Polystichum munitum

Fact Box:

  • Order: Polypodiales
  • Family: Dryopteridaceae
  • Genus: Polystichum
  • Species: P. munitum


Also known as the western sword fern, this common dark green plant can be spotted in the understory of the Oregon forests. Long fronds (the leaf-like parts of the fern) spread out from the base of the plant, and the name — sword fern — comes from the sword-like shape of these fronds. This fern is native to western North America and can be widely found along the west coast.


With fronds that grow in a tight clump, the sword fern resembles the top of a palm tree. This fern also adds texture to gardens, with neat serrated edges and a slightly leathery look. Another fun fact is that the Miwoks, a Native American tribe, utilized this hardy plant in building the roofs of their buildings.