Sword Fern

Common Names: Sword Fern, Western Sword Fern

Botanical names: Polystichum munitum

Availability: Year round

Vase life: 7 to 21 days

Storage temperatures: 36 - 41 degrees Fahrenheit

Ethylene Sensitive: Yes

Description: Large, arching fronds, 20 inches to 60 inches in length. Each frond consists of numerous leaflets, or pinnae, which are arranged alternately along the stem. The leaflets have toothed margins, giving the fronds a serrated appearance.

Color: Dark green

Botanical facts: Sword fern is native to western North America from Alaska to Mexico.

Design notes: Tall sword fern fronds can be used as vertical accents in taller arrangements, providing height and structure. Many designers use sword fern to frame funeral sprays. smaller sections of sword fern fronds to use as filler foliage

Purchasing hints: Select undamaged stems with complete fronds.

Conditioning: Dip the entire fern in a solution of water and Pixie Sparkle ™. This will put a wax coating on the leaves and will help keep the moisture in and prevent browning. Cut two inches off of the stem ends with a sharp knife. Hydrate in water only for two hours before storage or usage. Store in water only.

Additional notes: Often, consumers will complain of "bugs" on the underside of leatherfern in a floral arrangement. They are referring to naturally occurring spores on the fern. The floral designer may have to educate the consumer on "fern reproduction". Sexual reproduction involves the production of spores on the undersides of fronds. These spores develop into gametophytes, which in turn produce male and female gametes, leading to fertilization and the formation of new sporophytes. Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest historically used Polystichum munitum for various purposes, including as food, medicine, and in ceremonial practices.