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Vascular Plants of California
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Polystichum munitum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: DryopteridaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, in soil or rock crevices; rhizome generally short-creeping, suberect, or erect, scales large, generally tan to brown, generally uniformly colored. Leaf: generally tufted, 5--200+ cm, generally +- alike; stipe generally firm, base generally darker, with many vascular strands; blade 1--4-pinnate, often with scales, hair-like scales, hairs (except clear, needle-like hairs generally 0), or short-stalked glands on axes, between veins or not, veins free to netted; rachis, costa generally grooved adaxially. Sporangia: sori round, along veins; indusia peltate or round-reniform; spores elliptic, winged, ridged, or spiny, scar linear.
Genera In Family: +- 40--45 genera, > 1600 species: worldwide, especially tropics, wooded areas. Note: Based on molecular sequence data, Athyrium, Cystopteris, Woodsia removed to Woodsiaceae to preserve a monophyletic Dryopteridaceae.
Unabridged Note: Current data (as reported by Schuettpelz & Pryer and in papers cited therein) suggest that Wooodsiaceae is paraphyletic (with respect to Aspeniaceae, Blechnaceae, and Thelypteridaceae), yet are insufficient to resolve the questions of circumscription (too few taxa, not enough genes sampled). Alternative classifications that would preserve monophyly include recognition of several additional, small families (e.g., Cystopteridaceae, Athyriaceae, and others not in California, each comprising just a few genera) or lumping at least 4 currently recognized families, many of long-standing use and acceptance; a conservative and expedient course is taken for now (Smith et al. 2006), pending further work.
eFlora Treatment Author: Alan R. Smith
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: PolystichumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: SWORD FERN
Habit: Rhizome generally suberect to erect, often stout. Leaf: stipe stout, firm, generally densely scaly, ×-section with many round vascular strands in an arc; blade 1--3-[> 3--]pinnate, proximal pinnae reduced or not, thin to leathery, scaly, veins generally free, rarely +- jointed; pinna bases often wider acroscopically; teeth, generally including bristle-like tips, < 4 mm [or teeth 0]. Sporangia: sori round; indusium peltate [0 or reniform], sinus 0.
Species In Genus: +- 175+ species: +- worldwide. Etymology: (Greek: many rows, from rows of sori on type sp.)
Polystichum munitum (Kaulf.) C. Presl
Leaf: generally 50--120(200) cm; stipe generally 1/5--1/2 blade, base scales +- 3(6) mm wide, ovate, those above proximal pinnae generally > 1 mm wide, persistent; blade lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, 1-pinnate; pinnae generally in 1 plane, 2--8(14) cm. Sporangia: indusium ciliate. Chromosomes: 2n=82.
Ecology: Common. Wooded hillsides, shaded slopes, rarely cliffs, outcrops; Elevation: < 1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, n SNF, n&s SNH, CW, n ChI, TR, MP (caves in Lava Beds National Monument); Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, Montana, South Dakota; also Guadalupe Island (Mexico). Note: Hybrids with Polystichum dudleyi are called Polystichum californicum.
Jepson eFlora Author: Alan R. Smith
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Botanical illustration including Polystichum munitum

botanical illustration including Polystichum munitum


Citation for this treatment: Alan R. Smith 2012, Polystichum munitum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 18, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 18, 2018.

Polystichum munitum
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Polystichum munitum
click for enlargement
© 2007 California Academy of Sciences
Polystichum munitum
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Polystichum munitum
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Polystichum munitum
click for enlargement
© 2009 California Academy of Sciences
Polystichum munitum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer

More photos of Polystichum munitum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Polystichum munitum:
NW, n SNF, n&s SNH, CW, n ChI, TR, MP (caves in Lava Beds National Monument);
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.