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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonPolystichum californicum
Family common name(s)wood fern; wood-fern; woodfern
Genus common name(s)polystichum; polystich; polystic; sword-fern; sword fern; swordfern; Christmas fern
Species common name(s)California sword-fern; California sword fern; California swordfern; California shield-fern; California shield fern; California holly-fern; California holly fern
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxaCalifornian shield-fern, Californian shield fern, hybrid sword fern, hybrid swordfern are applied to multiple Polystichum taxa; holly fern, holly-fern, hollyfern, shield-fern, shield fern are applied to multiple Dryopteridaceae taxa
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcAspidium californicum D.C. Eaton; Polystichum aculeatum (L.) Roth var. californicum (D.C. Eaton) Jeps.
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