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Broad halbard fern
Tectaria heracleifolia

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Identified by Fair Child Tropical Botanic Garden as a native that does especially well in shade in this brochure.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts.

Description: Herbaceous fern growing directly on limestone rock. Fronds 6- 24 inches in length or more.

Dimensions: Fronds pendent. Spreads and forms small colonies.

Growth Rate: Slow.

Range: Miami-Dade County north to Martin County; disjunct in Hernando and Citrus counties; Texas; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America. Very rare north of the Miami River. In Broward County known only from Fern Forest Nature Center.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Rockland hammocks.

Soils: Constantly moist limestone rock.

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 to moderate shade.

Flower Color: N/A.

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

Flowering Season: Spring-summer.

Fruit: Inconspicuous spores.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown with difficulty from spores.

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

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Mike Rosenthal

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Tectaria heracleifolia available from:

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