Nov 3, 2008

Golden polypody and shoestring ferns

Cabbage palms, the state tree of Florida, often serve as hosts for epiphytic ferns. Probably the most common species is the golden polypody, Plebodium aureum, whose large pinnate leaves are seen here growing amid the leaf bases in the crown of a cabbage palm. The creeping stem of the golden polypody is covered with reddish to golden scales and gives rise to the alternative common name, goldfoot fern. Below the golden polypody is Vittaria lineata, another fern species that grows almost exclusively on cabbage palm trunks. The drooping linear leaves are reminiscent of short green shoelaces.


Deborah Godin said...

What an interestinglittle community - all on one tree! Great informative post!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

An interesting post Robert. Our climate is much like yours as I live on the Tropic of Cancer so we have a lot of these palm here but I have not noticed anything like this on ours before. I am going to have to be more observant and look again when I go on my walks.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Thanks for your comments. All "Native Plant Photos" are authored by US Geological Survey plant ecologist Jim Snyder.

(1) Your right deborah, ecosystems are fractals that way. The more you focus in the more you see.

(2) Thanks Joan, we have an interesting blend of "subtropical" and "mediterranean" climates here in south Florida: it switches back and forth between the two from summer to winter.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hi Robert, This is most interesting. I like ferns and grow several. I have a staghorn fern that my sister brought from FL for me. It has survived 3 years now. I just had to transplant it out of the basket it was growing in. I put it on a piece of a sycamore tree.

I have seen ferns growing on palms while in Fl. I always wonder how they got there. I didn't know the stringy looking plant was a fern. It sort of reminds me of the new shrub I just planted, Whipchord Arborvetea.

Marvin said...

I never realized there was so much life in a palm.