Habit: evergreen fern sprouting in a tight clump from large woody underground rhizomes. Upright, dark green compund leaves are divided once pinnately with serrated edges and bristly tips. Two rows of reproductive sori (cluster structures producing and containing spores) are found on the underside of fertile fronds and produce light yellow spores.
Ecology: found on wooded shady slopes in moist coniferous forests at low to mid elevations up to 5250 ft (1600 m).
Growing Conditions: partial to full shade, in moist, humus rich soil.
Western sword fern is cultivated as an ornamental plant and is well suited to a variety of garden situations. Plants are healthier if only the dead fronds are trimmed off.