Rock Polypody Fern
These Rock Polypody fern (Polypodium virginanum) were transplanted from our woods and are doing quite well under cultivation in a one of our rock gardens at Distant Hill. Also known as Rock Cap Fern or Common Polypody, it grows directly on rock surfaces in moist, shady woods across eastern and midwestern North America. Its fronds are evergreen, four to twelve inches in length, and have ten to twenty, alternate leaflets.
Rock Polypody was widely used by Native Americans as a medicinal herb to treat ailments including stomach pains, colds, coughs and sore throat, among others.
Here is a close-up of the underside of a leaflet showing the sori (the spore casings).