Asplenium rhizophyllum L.

walking fern, walking spleenwort

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

Walking spleenwort is usually found on shaded, high-pH rocks and cliffs. It gets its common name from its ability to develop new roots and shoots from the tips of its slender, arching fronds when they touch the ground. As this process is repeated, the plant may appear to "walk" a short distance.

Habitat

Cliffs, balds, or ledges, ridges or ledges, talus and rocky slopes

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf divisions
the leaf blade is entire (without lobes or dissections)
Plant growth form
the leaves grow from a rhizome growing at or below the ground
Spore-bearing leaflets
the spore-bearing fronds are similar in size and shape to the sterile fronds
Sorus shape
  • the sori are long and narrow, and curved
  • the sori are long and narrow, and straight
Leaf stalk scales
the leaf stalk has scales
Leaf stalk hairs
the leaf stalk has hairs
Leaf blade length
1–30 cm
Leaf vein tips
the veins end in small round expanded areas, and do not reach the edge of the leaf blade
Show All Characteristics
  • Growth form
    Life form
    the plant is herbaceous and terrestrial
    Life stage
    the plant is visible as a typical leaf-bearing fern (sporophyte)
    Spore-bearing leaflets
    the spore-bearing fronds are similar in size and shape to the sterile fronds
  • Leaves
    Features of leaves
    some leaves have roots growing from the tipAsplenium rhizophyllum)
    Leaf blade length
    1–30 cm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blades are long and very narrow (linear)
    • the leaf blades are roughly triangular
    • the leaf blades are widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip (lanceolate)
    Leaf blade tip shape
    • the tip of the leaf blade is a very long, tapering point like a tail (attenuate)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is rounded
    Leaf blade width
    At least 0.5 cm
    Leaf divisions
    the leaf blade is entire (without lobes or dissections)
    Leaf lifespan
    the leaves remain green all year round, or are green in winter
    Leaf stalk color
    green
    Leaf stalk hairs
    the leaf stalk has hairs
    Leaf stalk length
    5–120 mm
    Leaf stalk relative length
    • the leaf stalk is more than a quarter, but less than three quarters as long as the blade
    • the leaf stalk is more than three quarters as long as the blade
    • the leaf stalk is up to a quarter as long as the blade
    Leaf stalk scale location
    the scales are present only on the lower half of the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk scales
    the leaf stalk has scales
    Leaf stalk vessels
    2 bundles
    Leaf vein branching
    the secondary veins of the leaf blade split and rejoin to form a netlike pattern
    Leaf vein tips
    the veins end in small round expanded areas, and do not reach the edge of the leaf blade
    Leaflet relative size
    NA
    Leaflet stalks
    NA
    Lobe or leaflet length
    0 mm
    Lobe or leaflet pairs
    0
    Lobe or leaflet shape
    NA
    Lobe or leaflet width
    0 mm
    Plant growth form
    the leaves grow from a rhizome growing at or below the ground
    final leaf segment margin
    the topmost lobe or leaflet of the leaf blade has a smooth or lobed edge
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • cliffs, balds, or ledges
    • ridges or ledges
    • talus or rocky slopes
  • Spores or spore cones
    Sorus features
    there are no special features on the sorus
    Sorus shape
    • the sori are long and narrow, and curved
    • the sori are long and narrow, and straight
    Sporangia location
    the spores are clustered on sori on the lower surface of the leaf blade
    Sporangium type
    the sporangia are opaque without an annulus and usually without a stalk (leptosporangiate)
    Spore forms
    there is only one type of spore present

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
extirpated (S-rank: SX), potentially extirpated (code: PE)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
New Hampshire
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Rhode Island
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), state endangered (code: SE)
Vermont
fairly widespread (S-rank: S4)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Camptosorus rhizophyllus (L.) Link

Family

Aspleniaceae

Genus

Asplenium

Need Help?

Get Help