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Polypodium virginianum

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Plant types and subtypes: Ferns, Evergreens, Ground Covers

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, gravel/rock

Height: 6"-12"

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Additional Tags: colonizing, evergreen, fall interest, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, rock garden plant, shade garden plant, woodland plant

Polypodium virginianum (rock polypody)
  • Polypodium virginianum (rock polypody)
  • Polypodium virginianum (rock polypody)
  • Polypodium virginianum (rock polypody)
  • Polypodium virginianum (rock polypody)

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Description

Polypodium virginianum

Also known as:

rock polypody

,

American wall fern

,

rockcap fern

Scientific Synonyms:

Polypodium vulgare

Description

Polypodium virginianum is a small evergreen fern, with leaf blades that are typically 6" long, but can grow up to 10". These fronds are gently arching, and may emerge singularly or in clumps along along the length of each plant's spreading rhizomes. The leaves are deeply lobed, with each lobe connecting with the next near the stem. These lobes are oblong, well-rounded at the end, and with a well defined central vein. The leaf stalks are hairless but scaly towards the base. Spores appear in early summer, and form conspicuous sori (spore clusters) under leaf, shaped like perfect half-domes that are orange at first, turning brown as they mature.

Cultivation

Rock polypody is deal for woodland gardens, or shaded rock gardens, rock polypody prefers moist but very well drained environments. It is often found growing on rocky outcrops, or on steep slopes, where its ability to withstand dry spells and thin soil, gives it a competitive edge over other ferns and woodland herbaceous perennials. It is well adapted to rocky, acidic soils in medium to light shade. It spreads vegetatively by long, shallow rhizomes. Under ideal conditions it will form large colonies and provide a low-growing ornamental ground cover for shade. Low maintenance, easy to grow, and extremely cold hardy. Zones 2-7

Propagation

Best propagated by root division or root cuttings.

Additional Notes

Native Americans considered this species to have medicinal values and used it to treat a wide range of ailments.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Exploitably Vulnerable: NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision
Division Pteridophyta Ferns
Class Filicopsida
Subclass
Order Polypodiales
Family Polypodiaceae Polypody family
Genus Polypodium polypody
Species Polypodium virginianum rock polypody