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Western Polypody Fern

Polypodium interjectum

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Plant Profile

Polypodiaceae (Polypod Fern)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Cliffs, gardens, hedgerows, rocky places, sand dunes, seaside, walls, woodland.
The spores are the reproductive organs. They ripen from September to February. An evergreen perennial.
A low, spreading fern. Blunt leaflets with the lowest ones projecting forwards.
Other Names:
Intermediate Polypody, Rock Polypody, Western Polypody.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Polypodium interjectum, also known as the rock polypody or intermediate polypody, is a species of fern that is native to North America, specifically in the southeastern United States and Mexico. It is a small, delicate fern that typically grows to be about 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) tall and wide. The fronds are finely divided and lacy, and are typically a bright green color. The plant has a large network of underground rhizomes that allow it to spread over time to form large colonies.

This species is found in many different types of habitats, including rocky woods, cliffs, ledges and slopes, it is drought-tolerant and can grow in full sun or partial shade. It is commonly found growing in or on rocks, or on rocky soil, and it can be found growing in association with mosses and lichens.

This species is not commonly used as an ornamental plant, but it can be appreciated by botanists and fern enthusiasts. It's a great choice for rock gardens, natural rock outcrops, or walls, as well as for growing in containers for alpine gardens.

It is a hardy fern and does not require a lot of care. It can be propagated by spores or by division of the rhizomes. It is drought-tolerant and can grow in full sun, but it prefers light shade or filtered sunlight. It is not picky about soil type, but it does prefer well-draining soil that is consistently moist, and they are acid-loving plants.


Polypodium interjectum, commonly known as Western Polypody Fern, is a fern species native to Europe and western Asia. It is a member of the Polypodiaceae family, which includes other fern species like the bird's nest fern and the resurrection fern.

Appearance and Habitat

Western Polypody Fern is a small to medium-sized fern, growing up to 30 centimeters in height. It has a short, creeping rhizome, from which several fronds arise. The fronds are long, lance-shaped, and have a leathery texture. The fronds have a bright green color, and the leaflets are arranged in a fan shape, giving it a distinctive appearance.

Western Polypody Fern is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of habitats. It is commonly found in rocky areas, crevices, and cliffs, where it can get enough moisture to survive. It is also found in deciduous and coniferous forests, where it grows on rocks, tree trunks, and on the forest floor. Western Polypody Fern is a perennial fern, which means that it lives for several years.

Propagation and Care

Western Polypody Fern can be propagated by spores or by division. Spores are the reproductive cells of the fern that can be collected and sown on a suitable growing medium. The spores take several weeks to germinate, and it may take a few years for the fern to grow to maturity.

Division is the process of separating the ferns into smaller pieces and replanting them. This is usually done in spring or autumn, when the ferns are dormant.

Western Polypody Fern is a relatively easy plant to care for. It prefers partial shade and moist, well-draining soil. It is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, but it is best to keep it out of direct sunlight and avoid overwatering. Fertilizer can be applied once a year in the spring to encourage growth.


Western Polypody Fern has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, coughs, and fevers. It contains several compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Western Polypody Fern is also used as an ornamental plant in gardens, where it can be used as a ground cover or planted in a rock garden.

Polypodium interjectum, or Western Polypody Fern, is a hardy and attractive fern species that can be grown in a variety of habitats. It is relatively easy to care for and has a long history of medicinal and ornamental use. With its distinctive appearance and ease of cultivation, it is a great addition to any garden or collection of ferns.

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Western Polypody Fern has several interesting characteristics that make it a unique and attractive plant. One of the most interesting features of this fern is its ability to survive in harsh and challenging environments. It can thrive in rocky, arid habitats, and its leathery fronds are well-adapted to withstand drought and extreme temperatures.

Western Polypody Fern also has a long history of medicinal use in traditional folk medicine. The fern contains several compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it useful for treating a variety of ailments, including wounds, coughs, and fevers. However, it is important to note that Western Polypody Fern should not be used without consulting a qualified healthcare provider.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Western Polypody Fern is also a popular ornamental plant. Its bright green fronds and fan-shaped leaflets make it a beautiful addition to gardens and rockeries. It is often used as a ground cover or planted in crevices and rock walls, where its hardiness and adaptability make it a great choice.

Western Polypody Fern is a versatile and attractive plant that has a lot to offer. Its hardiness, adaptability, and medicinal properties make it a valuable addition to any garden or collection of ferns, and its unique appearance is sure to draw the eye and add interest to any landscape.

Western Polypody Fern is also an important component of many ecosystems, where it plays a role in soil stabilization and erosion control. The fern's rhizome helps to anchor the plant to rocky or unstable substrates, preventing soil erosion and landslides. Its ability to grow in harsh and challenging environments also makes it an important pioneer species, helping to establish vegetation in areas that are otherwise barren or inhospitable.

In addition to its ecological and ornamental value, Western Polypody Fern is also a fascinating subject of study for scientists and researchers. Its complex reproductive cycle and unique morphology make it an important model organism for studying plant evolution, genetics, and development. Researchers have used Western Polypody Fern to investigate topics such as hybridization, polyploidy, and the molecular basis of fern development.

Western Polypody Fern is just one example of the incredible diversity of plant life on our planet. From its medicinal properties and ornamental value to its ecological significance and scientific interest, this fern has much to offer and is a testament to the beauty and complexity of the natural world. Whether you are a gardener, a botanist, or simply a lover of nature, Western Polypody Fern is a plant that is sure to capture your attention and spark your curiosity.

In addition to its unique characteristics and uses, Western Polypody Fern has also played a role in human culture and mythology. In ancient Greece, ferns were associated with the goddess Athena, who was said to have used the plant to heal the wounds of her warriors. In Ireland, ferns were believed to have magical properties, and were often used as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. In some Native American cultures, ferns were used in spiritual rituals and were believed to have protective and healing powers.

Today, Western Polypody Fern is still a popular subject of folklore and mythology. In some cultures, it is associated with magic and witchcraft, and is said to have the power to protect against evil spirits and curses. In other traditions, it is seen as a symbol of renewal and rebirth, representing the cycle of life and the renewal of nature each spring.

Overall, Western Polypody Fern is a fascinating and versatile plant that has played an important role in human culture and history. From its medicinal properties and ecological significance to its ornamental value and cultural significance, this fern is a plant that is sure to capture the imagination and spark the curiosity of anyone who encounters it. Whether you are a gardener, a nature lover, or simply a student of history and culture, Western Polypody Fern is a plant that is well worth exploring and learning more about.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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