Botany Brief, Resurrection Fern


The Resurrection Fern, Pleopeltis polypodioides, is a common epiphytic fern with slender, creeping, exposed stem; often found on a live oak. Fronds are compound leaves with 30 to 50 leaflets. The exposed stem, called a “rachis,” is the main axis of a compound leaf. Leaflets are 1” to 2” long and about ¼” to 3/8” wide. The frond petiole is about 10” or so in length.

Polypodioides plays a game. Without water, the frond turns brown, curls up & appears dead. It can lose 97% of its water and still be alive, reviving as it absorbs water. Polypodioides is widely distributed in Florida and the most easily identified fern. Family is Polypodiaceae (Polypody Family).

I gathered several fronds and placed them under my microscope and noticed that all the fronds were covered with soris. So what’s this? Polypodioides is a vascular plant, but there are no seeds. More next week.