IFAS_Distinguish_Native_Nonnative_Boston Ferns.pdf - SSAGR22 Natural Area Weeds Distinguishing Native and NonNative “Boston Ferns” and “Sword

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SSAGR22 Natural Area Weeds: Distinguishing Native and Non- Native “Boston Ferns” and “Sword Ferns” (Nephrolepis spp.) 1 K. A. Langeland 2 1. This document is SSAGR22, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date July 2001. Revised March 2005. Reviewed December 2014. Visit the EDIS website at . 2. K. A. Langeland, professor, Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office. U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension. Introduction Florida’s native sword fern, also known as wild Boston fern ( Nephrolepis exaltata ) (Figure 1) and giant sword fern ( Nephrolepis biserrata ) (Figure 2) were highly admired by early botanists, naturalists, and horticulturists (Small 1918a, b, Simpson 1920, Foster 1984). Charles Torrey Simpson (1920) wrote: “the real glory of the hammock is the two species of Nephrolepis , one being the well-known ‘Boston’ fern.” According to Foster (1984) “[ N . exaltata ] could be seen in homes and public buildings almost everywhere. They were the most desired plants of growers and yearly sales soared in the hundred thousands.” In 1894, a cultivar of N . exaltata was discovered in a shipment from a Philadelphia grower to a Boston distributor and named N. exaltata cv. ‘Bostoniensis’, hence the name Boston fern (Fos- ter 1984). Other derivatives of N. exaltata cv. ‘Bostoniensis’, ranging from 1-5-pinnate, and with such descriptive names as N. exaltata cv. ‘Florida [Fluffy] Ruffles’ were developed and are still known from Florida (FNA Editorial Staff 1993). The native sword fern and giant sword fern are still highly recommended for use as indoor and landscape plants (Broschat and Meerow 1991, Haehle and Brookwell 1999), but non-native, similar-appearing species of Neprholepis now are also sold and confused with our native species.
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2 Natural Area Weeds: Distinguishing Native and Non-Native “Boston Ferns” and “Sword Ferns” ... Non-Native Species Tuberous sword fern ( Nephrolepis cordifolia ) (Figure 3), not native to Florida, was found growing on a roadside in Sumter County, Florida in 1933 (Ward 2000) and in cultivation in Floral City, Florida in 1938 (Ward 2000).
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