Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Resurrection fern

Resurrection fern (Polypodium polypodioides) is a fascinating plant that grows on the branches of trees as an epiphyte.  It gets all of its nutrients from the air, rainfall, and decaying debris that collects on the branch where it is growing.  It is so named because of the way the seemingly dead fern springs back to life after a rain.  The fronds will appear brown and withered for long periods of time, but within minutes of receiving moisture it is lush and green again.  It is found in large portions of the Southeastern U.S. and throughout tropical America, as well as Southern Africa (USDA Zones 6-11).
Before and after photos of the same clump of fern growing on the horizontal branch of an old camphor tree.


Meems said...

Oh, how I adore my Resurrection Fern. It is so southern along with the big oaks it loves to grow on. (I just discovered your blog over at Florida Girl~~ so happy to have another Central Florida Gardener to visit).
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

Floridagirl said...

Love, love, love Resurrection Fern! I noticed huge, lush drapes on oak limbs this morning. Guess it was all that rain yesterday. :)

The Rainforest Gardener said...

I didn't know they were found in southern Africa too! This is one of my favorite natives, and I have even planted it in one of my orchid baskets so I know when it needs watering. More people should try it as a potted plant with orchids and bromeliads, as they look great and help you water correctly.

Bernie said...

That's amazing ... your photos show the resurrection brilliantly!

NellJean said...

One of my favorites!

Appreciate Rainforest Gardener's tip about using it as an indicator for watering. I put bits on the ground under live oaks, where it grows happily on pieces of rotting limbs.


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