Polypodium virginianum L.

rock polypody

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Rock polypody grows on rock or thin soil over rock of cliffs, boulders and talus. It spreads by branching, creeping rhizomes. It was widely used by Native Americans as a medicinal herb to treat ailments including stomach pains, colds, coughs and sore throat, among others.

Habitat

Cliffs, balds, or ledges, ridges or ledges, talus and rocky slopes

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf divisions
  • the leaf blade is compound (divided into leaflets)
  • the leaf blade is lobed
Plant growth form
the leaves grow from a rhizome growing at or below the ground
Spore-bearing leaflets
the spore-bearing fronds are similar in size and shape to the sterile fronds
Sorus shape
the sori are circular or kidney-shaped
Leaf stalk scales
the leaf stalk has scales
Leaf stalk hairs
there are no hairs on the leaf stalk
Leaf blade length
5–25 cm
Leaf vein tips
the veins end in small round expanded areas, and do not reach the edge of the leaf blade
Show All Characteristics
  • Growth form
    Life form
    the plant is herbaceous and terrestrial
    Life stage
    the plant is visible as a typical leaf-bearing fern (sporophyte)
    Spore-bearing leaflets
    the spore-bearing fronds are similar in size and shape to the sterile fronds
  • Leaves
    Features of leaves
    there are nectaries near the base of the leaf blade
    Leaf blade length
    5–25 cm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blades are longer than wide, with roughly parallel sides (oblong)
    • the leaf blades are widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip (lanceolate)
    Leaf blade tip shape
    • the tip of the leaf blade is a sharp point (acute)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is rounded
    Leaf blade width
    At least 2 cm
    Leaf divisions
    • the leaf blade is compound (divided into leaflets)
    • the leaf blade is lobed
    Leaf lifespan
    the leaves remain green all year round, or are green in winter
    Leaf stalk color
    yellow to brown
    Leaf stalk hairs
    there are no hairs on the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk length
    30–150 mm
    Leaf stalk relative length
    the leaf stalk is more than a quarter, but less than three quarters as long as the blade
    Leaf stalk scale location
    the scales are present only on the lower half of the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk scales
    the leaf stalk has scales
    Leaf stalk vessels
    3 to 9 bundles
    Leaf vein branching
    the secondary veins of the leaf blade branch dichotomously (two equal branches at each branch point)
    Leaf vein tips
    the veins end in small round expanded areas, and do not reach the edge of the leaf blade
    Leaflet relative size
    the bottom leaflets are about half as long as, to slightly longer than, the leaflets from the middle of the frond
    Leaflet stalks
    the leaflets do not have stalks
    Lobe or leaflet length
    9–64 mm
    Lobe or leaflet pairs
    10–20
    Lobe or leaflet shape
    the lobe or leaflet is rectangular but with rounded ends (oblong)
    Lobe or leaflet width
    3–7 mm
    Plant growth form
    the leaves grow from a rhizome growing at or below the ground
    final leaf segment margin
    • the topmost lobe or leaflet of the leaf blade has a smooth or lobed edge
    • the topmost lobe or leaflet of the leaf blade has an edge with teeth
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • cliffs, balds, or ledges
    • ridges or ledges
    • talus or rocky slopes
  • Spores or spore cones
    Sorus features
    the sorus is partly covered by tissue derived from modified sporangium (sporangiasters)
    Sorus shape
    the sori are circular or kidney-shaped
    Sporangia location
    the spores are clustered on sori on the lower surface of the leaf blade
    Sporangium type
    the sporangia are opaque without an annulus and usually without a stalk (leptosporangiate)
    Spore forms
    there is only one type of spore present

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Polypodium appalachianum:
leaflets usually pointed at apex and leaf blade relatively triangular (vs. P. virginianum, with leaflets usually rounded at apex and leaf blade relatively oblong).

Synonyms

  • Polypodium vulgare L. var. virginianum (L.) D.C. Eat.

Family

Polypodiaceae

Genus

Polypodium

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Polypodium virginianum L. N

rock polypody. Polypodium vulgare L. var. virginianum (L.) D.C. Eat. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. 
On rock or thin soil over rock of cliffs, boulders, and talus.

1×2. Polypodium appalachianum × Polypodium virginianum Polypodium ×‌incognitum Cusik is a rare polypody hybrid in New England known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. This nothospecies is an abortive-spored triploid (from the diploid P. appalachianum and the tetraploid P. virginianum). It is best identified 
by its intermediate morphology (or combination of characters) and spore examination.