Polypodium virginianum (Common Polypody)
|Also known as:||Rock Polypody|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; cliffs, rocky slopes, rich wooded slopes|
|Plant height:||4 to 10 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stems:
Leaves are 4 to 10 inches long and 1 to 4 inches wide, evergreen and leathery, deeply lobed, divided almost to the stem but not compound, narrowly oblong and widest near the middle. There are 10 to 20 pairs of lobes that are mostly alternate, oblong with a blunt or pointed tip, and have a prominent central vein. Lateral veins are free, typically forked and do not reach the edge of the lobe. The edges are smooth or with small blunt teeth. The stem is smooth and light green with some occasional brown scales on the lower part of the stem, and are mostly arching. The leaves may be found individually or in clumps, spreading from long rhizomes.
Spores first appear in early summer. The sori (group of spores) are on the underside of the leaf but not all leaves have spores. The sori are circular, orangish brown and not covered by tissue (indusium). They are in rows on each side of the mid-vein of a lobe, halfway between the mid-vein and lobe edge.
Common Polypody is easy to identify in the field as it doesn't look similar to anything else in Minnesota. In favorable conditions it can form large colonies.
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Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at Falls Creek SNA, Washington County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?