B10. Sword Fern

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This evergreen groundcover fern grows to a height of 4’ with an eventual spread of 7’.  Each frond is pinnately compound, and lance-shaped.  The fronds are comprised of many simple, alternate leaflets or pinna (plural pinnae).  These leaflets are finely serrated and have clusters of brown spore cases, called sori, on their undersides.  

A mature plant can spread out to include as many as 100 dark-green leaves, all-originating from the initial mother plant. In early spring, the young fronds, or fiddleheads, appear and begin to slowly unroll.  Each frond may reach four to six feet long and will live for several years.