Polypodium polypodioides /Resurrection fern

Polypodium polypodioides  / Polypodium polypodioides
This fern normally grows on the cool, moist, north side of tree limbs
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This fern normally grows on the cool, moist, north side of tree limbs

Close-up of the fronds of resurrection fern

Fern growing on the moist, corky bark of a live oak

Healthy green fronds indicating the presence of a lot of moisture in the atmosphere and the host tree bark

Resurrection fern growing on the north side of a live oak tree

Contrast of fern growing in a dry atmosphere and fronds turn brown, verses a cool moist atmosphtere after rain where fronds are lush green

Large area of fern growing along a tree's limb with it needing water to revive

A close view of dry fern showing the reverse side of the fronds showing

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Scientific Name: Polypodium polypodioides
Common Name: Resurrection fern
Plant Type: Evergreen
Leaf Type: Broadleaf
Hardiness Zone: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Determine Your Zone
Height: Under 1 foot
Spread: 1-2 feet
Light Exposure: Sun, Part Sun, Filtered Shade, Shade
Drainage: Well drained, Moist,
Rate of Growth: Moderate
Water Requirement: Medium
Maintenance Level: Medium
Susceptible to insects
and diseases:
Comments: The Resurrection fern grows attached to branches of forest trees. This fern's long thin rhizomes grow creeping along narrow cracks or in the furrows of the host tree's bark. When it rains, when the tree branches are moist, or when the humidity is very high this fern is green and unfurled. However, when it get hot and dry, the fronds roll up and look dormant or dead. At the first sign of moisture, the fronds are resurrected and come to life, thus the name. Live oak and pecan trees are two trees on which this fern thrives. The oak is hardly without leaf except for a short time as it drops it leaves in early spring. However, pecans have no leaves for 4+ months and ferns residing on it live in full sunlight in late fall and winter.