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Giant sword fern
Nephrolepis biserrata

Copyright by: George D. Gann
In habitat, Miami-Dade County, Florida

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also a large accent groundcover in moist to wet areas.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.

Description: Large herbaceous fern.

Dimensions: Typically 6-8 feet in height. Spreading from horizontal stems (stolons) and forming large masses.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: 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.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Moist hammocks and swamps.

Soils: 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: N/A.

Flower Characteristics: There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Inconspicuous spores.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from divisions or spores.

Comments: It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.

Copyright by: George D. Gann
In habitat, Miami-Dade County, Florida

Copyright by: Mike Rosenthal
In habitat in Broward County, Florida

Copyright by: George D. Gann
In habitat, Miami-Dade County

Other data on Nephrolepis biserrata available from:

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