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Lygodium palmatum

Lygodium palmatum (Bernh.) Sw.

 

Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionPteridophytaFerns
ClassFilicopsida“Leptosporangiate” (has to do with how their spores form) ferns—includes most ferns
OrderPolypodialesPolypod ferns
FamilyLygodiaceaeClimbing fern family
GenusLygodiumFrom the Greek word for “willow-like”
SpeciespalmatumMeans “palm-like,” for the leaves

About plant names...

Hartford fern is a North American native. The name “Thoreau’s climbing fern” originates from an 1853 sighting by Henry David Thoreau, later verified, in an impressive show of scholarly thoroughness, by Ray Angelo. Hartford ferns, once gathered for Christmas decorations, have the interesting distinction of being the first endangered species—the first plants protected by law against picking in the United States.

Identification: This fern manages to combine the properties of a vine, a fern, and a palm in a single species. (And maybe willow as well, since the genus Lygodium derives from a Greek word meaning “willow-like.”) Unlike most ferns, it clambers over other plants with a long, thin woody stem (rachis), which may reach 15' (4.6 m) in length. Its deeply divided leaves are fernlike, but also palmate, with 3-7 spreading blunt-tipped fingerlike lobes.

References:

Cobb, Boughton, Farnsworth, Elizabeth & Lowe, Cheryl, Peterson Field Guides: A Field Guide to Ferns and Their Related Families of Northwestern and Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005, p. 155

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

Courtesy of Clipart ETC.

Online References:

Lygodium palmatum on Keir Morse's site, Keirosity.com

Lygodium palmatum at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Lygodium palmatum on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Lygodium palmatum on eFloras

Lygodium palmatum on the Hardy Fern Library

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Lygodium palmatum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 May 2016.

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Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Groton, MA

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

The fern is wrapped around an indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana). · 8/8/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm)

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

10/11/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 6" (19 × 14 cm)

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

10/5/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

10/11/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 7" (16 × 18 cm)

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

10/11/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 10" (16 × 24 cm)

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

10/11/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 3½" (9.1 × 8.6 cm)

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Groton, MA

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Lygodium palmatum (Hartford Fern, Climbing Fern, American Climbing Fern, Creeping Fern, Windsor Fern, Thoreau’s Climbing Fern)

10/11/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Range:

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