The deer fern (Blechnum spicant) is an evergreen fern similar to the sword fern (polystichum munitum). It lives in moist and wet forests, and other areas served with lots of water. Like the sword fern, they are basal leaves/once pinnate, but differ from the sword fern in that the pinnae are entirely attached to the leaf, whereas sword ferns have stems attaching to the axis. The deer fern is unique in that it has two different kinds of ferns. One kind has shorter, wider leaves that look similar to a weed trimmer, with alternating pinnae attaching to the axis. The other kind resembles the sword fern, with a lancolate shape that bulges in the middle. Both have continuous sori on the underside of the leaf near the margin.
- Two different kinds of fronds: one has shorter, wider leaves, and the other has longer, lancolate leaves; both types attach fully at the base
- Basal/once pinnate leaves reaching from the bottom and stand erect
- Continuous sori underneath leaf