Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Resurrection Fern - Pleopeltis michauxiana   (Weatherby) Hickey & Sprunt
Members of Polypodiaceae:
Only member of Pleopeltis in NC.
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Section 2 » Family Polypodiaceae
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Author(Weatherby) Hickey & Sprunt
DistributionPresent nearly statewide, but perhaps absent from some of the northern Mountain counties and a few far eastern counties.

This is a Southeastern species, ranging from DE, IL, and southern KS south to the Gulf Coast of FL and central TX. Also Mex. and Central America.
AbundanceCommon in the Piedmont and most of the Coastal Plain; fairly common to common in most of the Mountains but scarce in the higher elevations. Also uncommon in the northeastern Coastal Plain.
HabitatGrows on trunks and large limbs of hardwoods in many forested settings. Also grows on rocks -- such as on shaded boulders and ledges, as well.
PhenologyFruits from June to October.
IdentificationThis is a familiar fern, especially noted for its curled form in dry to droughty weather. The fronds emerge singly from the rhizomes on the trunks, limbs, and rocks. The stipe is about 3 inches long, and the rather small blade is only about 4-5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. The blade is pinnately cut, with alternate pinnae. There are about 8-20 pairs of pinnae, each oblong and finger-like, rounded at the tip and about 3/4-inch long. The blade is green above but buffy to grayish below and covered there with rounded, blackish scales -- looking "pimpled". There are a few rounded sori on the pinnae undersides, as well. In dry weather, the blade curls nearly into a ball. The other two "polypody ferns" -- Polypodium appalachianum and P. virginianum -- have no such dark scales on the blade undersides and have a darker green blade above.
Taxonomic CommentsFormerly named as Polypodium polypodioides. Some references name it now as Pleopeltis polypodioides ssp. michauxiana.

Other Common Name(s)Gray's Polypody, Scaly Polypody
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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US Status
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Photo Gallery
B.A. Sorriesame data. HarnettPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieRaven Rock SP, on large tree near former visitor's center, 2006. HarnettPhoto_natural
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