Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Winter Ferns

#6 WalkingFern

The snow is back, so I am continuing with the Winter Ferns series, which is just ferns that are still green and can be found in our area during the winter, This week we are highlighting the Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum). It is in the same genus as the more common Maidenhair and Ebony Spleenworts in our area. It is usually found on shady moist rocks, ledges, & cliff faces with a northerly exposure and usually a higher ph. It gets its name from the way the plant "walks" by extending long narrow-tipped leaves outward and which sometimes sprout new little plants where they land in the moss. They grow in colonies or patches, but this photo is just a closeup of one of them. You can see the pattern of the sori on the back of the long leaf. The leaves are evergreen and somewhat leathery. This photo was taken last week. It is a beautiful delicate looking fern.

Interesting fact: Linnaeus named this fern in 1753 from samples from Virginia and Canada (Chadde, Northeast Ferns). It is found throughout the Northeast, including all four western counties in MA.