Alien Invasive Plant Awareness Campaign: Sword Fern

Municipal Plant of the Month – Sword Fern: Nephrolepis exaltata / cordifolia. The sword fern typically grows in woodland areas. Fronds tend to be dull green in shaded areas and lighter green or yellowish-green when growing in a sunny position. Both fertile and sterile fronds are pinnate. Rhizomes are orange-brown to pale brown with linear scales having hair-like tips.  

It spreads through the thousands of spores it produces. These spores are dispersed by wind and water.

Invasive status:  Listed as Nemba Category 1b invasive weed, it is a habitat transformer and must be removed. It threatens indigenous species by aggressively invading swamps, forests, coastal bush, and roadsides. It forms dense stands, quickly displacing indigenous vegetation thus threatening biodiversity.

Control: When uprooting by hand ensure all parts of the plant have been removed. Poisons are available. Regular follow-up is essential.

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