Giant sword fern
Nephrolepis biserrata

Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also a large accent groundcover in moist to wet areas. Identified by Fair Child Tropical Botanic Garden as a native that does especially well in shade in this brochure.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.
Large herbaceous fern.
Typically 6-8 feet in height. Spreading from horizontal stems (stolons) and forming large masses.
Growth Rate:
Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland north to Martin, Highlands and Lee counties; Louisiana; West Indies, Mexico, Central America, South America and Old World.
Moist hammocks and swamps.
Moist to seasonally wet, well-drained to poorly-drained sandy, limestone, or organic soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.
Drought Tolerance:
Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.
Light Requirements:
Light shade.
Flower Color:
Flower Characteristics:
There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.
Flowering Season:
All year.
Inconspicuous spores.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from divisions or spores.
It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.

George D. Gann
In habitat, Miami-Dade County
George D. Gann
In habitat, Miami-Dade County, Florida
Mike Rosenthal