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Polypodium polypodioides

Pronunciation: Pol-ee-pod-ee-um pol-ee-pod-ee-oy-deez
Family: Polypodiaceae (the polypody fern family)
Common Name: Resurrection fern, pleopeltis polypodioides (syn. )
Plant Type:
  • epiphyte, terrestrial
Height to: 4"
Width to: 1'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: Along the length of the rhizome the fronds are arranged in a linear fashion. They are about 6 in (15 cm) long and 1. 5 in (4 cm) wide. The fronds are deeply incised, cut all the way to the rachis (the leaf stem). When dry the resurrection fern is gray, scaly and curled up in wad, but when moisture returns the fronds resurrect becoming soft and green and unfurling to regain its original shape.
Propagation: The rhizomes can be cut and divided into new plants.
Native to: Hardwood forests from delaware to southern illinois, south to texas and florida and throughout tropical america. It also occurs naturally in southern africa
Notes for Identification: You can maintain resurrection fern on the bark of an oak log, allowing it to dry out periodically, then spraying it with water to see it unfold in just minutes. But this weird little fern is at its best on living trees, especially large oaks. If resurrection fern isn't already growing naturally on trees in your garden, you can gather a starter plant from a fallen branch in the woods and inoculate your own trees. Get several inches of the thin rhizome and squeeze it into furrows in the bark of its new host.
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