An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide – maryholland505@gmail.com

Walking Fern

Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum) is a very distinctive looking fern, having leathery arching leaf blades which end in a long, tapering tip. This evergreen fern is often found growing in large colonies on moss-covered limestone rocks.  The derivation of its common name is what makes this plant so unusual — the leaf blades are capable of rooting at their tips and forming new plants at some distance from the parent plant, making it look as if the fern is “walking” over the rocks it grows on. While extinct in Maine and critically imperiled in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, it is locally abundant in much of the rest of New England. 

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5 responses

  1. Alice

    Interesting! Not aware of that fern, but now I know. There is also an Egyptian Walking Onion that does the same. The bulb at the top of the plant bends down & re-roots.

    December 4, 2020 at 9:08 am

  2. Libby

    What fun…a walking fern! Don we know why it is extinct in ME and endangered in NH?

    December 4, 2020 at 9:15 am

  3. Wow, a new one for me, too. Will have to look for it up in the limestone hills of the Berkshires.

    December 4, 2020 at 9:49 am

  4. Stein

    The colors that you have captured in your photo are as lovely as the fern!
    Thanks Mary.

    December 4, 2020 at 1:34 pm

  5. Beautiful Mary! I don’t think I remember every having seen this fern.

    December 5, 2020 at 9:13 pm

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