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Polypodium virginianum

Polypodium virginianum L.

Polypodium vulgare auct. non L. p.p.

Polypodium vulgare L. var. virginianum (L.) Eaton

Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap 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
FamilyPolypodiaceaePolypod ferns, many of which are epiphytes—they grow on other plants without harming them
GenusPolypodiumFrom Greek polus, “many,” and podos, “foot”
Speciesvirginianum“Of Virginia”

About plant names...

Rock polypody is native to eastern North America, and possibly also to Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and eastern Siberia. It forms a springy, verdant carpet over rocks, even in winter. It is also partial to cliffs. It prefers dampness and shade.

Identification: Smaller than most ferns, rock polypody has narrow fronds 3-16" (8-40 cm) long and 1-2" (3-6 cm) wide, on smooth stems (petioles) 1-6" (3-15 cm) long. Fronds are erect and often arched, oblong, lanceolate-oblong, or elliptic-oblong in general shape, containing 8-20 pairs of leaflets, and usually widest toward the middle. While many ferns emerge from a central rhizome, these are haphazardly oriented. Leaflets are oblong and acuminate. The angle formed between successive leaflets is very acute, while similar appearing resurrection ferns’ are concave. In summer and fall, round sori, arranged in neat rows and columns of fuzzy-looking pale brown dots, appear on the leaf undersides. The sori lack a protective membrane (indusia).

Online References:

Polypodium virginianum on the Hardy Fern Library

Polypodium virginianum on Earl J.S. Rook's Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky ... The Natural History of the Northwoods

Polypodium virginianum at Illinois Wildflowers

Polypodium virginianum on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site

Polypodium virginianum on Wikipedia

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. 194

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

4/24/2016 · Blue Trail, Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, NH

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

10/16/2016 · Monument Mountain, Great Barrington, MA
≈ 3½ × 5" (8.7 × 13 cm)

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

6/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 20 × 16" (51 × 41 cm)

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

7/31/2013 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH
≈ 31 × 21" (79 × 53 cm)

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

8/8/2015 · Mt. Wachusett
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 12 cm)

Polypodium virginianum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 21 Jun 2017.

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Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

6/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

8/15/2015 · Moose Cave, Grafton Notch State Park, Newry, ME

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

4/24/2016 · Blue Trail, Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, NH

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

9/14/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

10/16/2016 · Monument Mountain, Great Barrington, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (12 × 18 cm)

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

7/31/2013 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH
≈ 4 × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

4/29/2016 · Andres Art Institute, Big Bear Mountain, Hollis, NH
≈ 5½ × 3½' (1.8 × 1.1 m)

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

6/14/2017 · Pine Meadow Conservation Area, Ayer, MA

Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody, Rock Polypody, Rock Cap Fern)

4/3/2010 · Mt. Battie (Elev. 780'), Camden, ME
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

About this map...