Sword fern

Nephrolepis exaltata
Sword fern:Nephrolepis exaltata Sword fern:Nephrolepis exaltata

Common name:

Sword fern

Scientific name:

Nephrolepis exaltata (Nephrolepidaceae)

Alternative common names:

Boston fern; maidenhair; maidenhair fern (English), swaardvaring (Afrikaans)

A tufted evergreen fern growing up to 1m high which forms extensive colonies by means of stolons. The bright green leaves are approximately 1m long by 60mm wide. It has arching to erect, linear fronds with shallowly toothed, sickle-shaped pinnae.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    North and Central America.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Existing legislation: CARA 2002 Category 1 NEMBA Category 1b in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern and Western Cape. NEMBA Category 3 in Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, North-West and Northern Cape.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga

    How does it spread?

    Spreads by spores and stolons.

    Why is it a problem?

    It may competes with and replaces indigenous species when forming thick infestations.

    What does it look like?

    General description: A tufted evergreen fern up to 1m high which forms extensive colonies. Leaves: Bright green leaves up to 1m by 60mm Flowers: None Fruit/seeds: Fruiting-bodies are brown and about 1,5mm wide.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    A popular ornamental fern.

    Plant me instead alternatives

    Nephrolepis biserrata

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