The western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) thrives in the northwestern United States. The western sword fern grows up to 6 feet tall, although most specimens grow 3 feet tall and 8 feet wide as they spread out close to the ground. The most distinctive features of the western sword fern are fronds that uncurl themselves as the plant grows.
For gardeners, the evergreen ferns make good ground cover for landscaping. This fern lives in acidic soil and shady spots at the base of giant redwood trees of Northern California. The native range of this fern extends from Alaska to Baja, California, and as far east as Montana.