Nephrolepis biserrata

Common Name(s): giant sword fern

Native to Florida

Giant sword fern is a perennial fern.

Its current distribution includes Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (Kartesz, 1999). Within Florida, it is occasionally found in swamps and wet hammocks; sometimes epiphytic; from the central and southern peninsula (Wunderlin, 2003).


The fronds of Nephrolepis biserrata reach 2.5 m tall. The petioles are sparse to moderate with reddish to light brown hair-like scales. The rachis has moderately spaced scales of one color. The pinnae reach 23 cm long, 2 cm wide, attached to 3.5 cm apart. The margins are finely double-toothed and densely pubescent below. The apices are long and pointed; the central vein has dense erect hairs, short matted hairs, or is rarely glabrous on the upper surface. The indusia are circular to horseshoe-shaped. Lastly, tubers are never present in this species (Langeland, 2001).