Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Unusual Fern Found!

Cut-leaved polypody found in Shutesbury!

Shutesbury makes a splash in the world of ferns with this unusual discovery! I was out hiking in the wilds of Shutesbury with two friends a few weeks ago, and happened to notice a patch of this frilly fern growing on a rock ledge. I showed it to Randy, who was intrigued as well. It took some time to find someone who knew what it was, since we could not find it in any fern book. As we thought it might be, it is an unusual form of the common (rock) polypody (Polypodium virginianum). The photo shows the cut-leaved polypody on the left and the common polypody that was growing nearby on the right. Both are small. We could not find any fertile fronds on the unusual fern. It is really a pretty little fern, and there was a nice patch of them.

The fern expert (R. Moran) told us what it was, and that he had only seen them twice before, many years ago, in VA and WV. It is not a hybrid or variant, just an uncommon form. He called it a "rare and unusual" find. We are thrilled.

Keep your eyes open and let us know if you find any ferns that look different! You never know what you might find!