Polypodium virginianum, commonly known as rock polypody, rock cap fern, or common polypody, is a small evergreen species of fern native to the Eastern United States and Canada. It generally grows on rocks and occasionally on tree roots in nature.
Polypodium virginianum is a small rhizomatous fern with narrow leaves 8–40 cm (3.1–15.7 in) long and 3–6 cm (1.2–2.4 in) wide borne on smooth, scaleless petioles 3–15 cm (1.2–5.9 in). Leaves are evergreen, oblong and pinnatifid with acuminate tips.
Polypodium virginianum has several synonyms including: P. vinlandicum A. Love & D. Love, P. vulgare L. var. americanum Hooker, P. vulgare L. var. virginianum (L.) D. C. Eaton. It is generally treated as distinct, though some have recommended it is equally well treated as a North American variety of the circumboreal Polypodium vulgare.
Distribution and habitat
Polypodium virginianum typically grows on boulders, cliffs, and rocky slopes and does not need well-developed soil. It is common throughout eastern North America; its native distribution ranges from Newfoundland to Yukon south to Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas.
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- Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur (1991). Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Bronx, NY: The New York Botanical Garden Press. ISBN 0-89327-365-1.
- eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet http://www.efloras.org (accessed 22 November 2009) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. efloras: Polypodium virginianum