Monday, June 6, 2011

Walking Fern

Walking ferns intrigue me.  I enjoy a walk among the ferns, but these tiny ferns like to grow on rocky places where I have to scramble around on rock ledges instead of walk. Of course, that adds to the intrigue, but the most interesting things about the walking fern is its unusually shaped leaves and it habit of "walking".

Walking Fern  (Camptosorus rhizophyllus)

 Walking ferns love to grow on this shady moss covered limestone outcrop.
   The ferns "walk" by growing new plants from the tips of their long, slender, tapering leaves.

 Notice the long fern leaf hanging down over the limestone and a young fern growing from its tip there among the fallen leaves.
 In this photo my son is holding the long fern frond that still connects the parent fern to the young one.  This fern is actually "walking" up hill.

 I discovered these ferns many years ago while ridge-walking (exploring for caves).  The caves I found didn't impress me, but the walking ferns did.  I've had to revisit them, and I would love to try my hand at growing some on a limestone boulder in the flowerbed, just to have something really, really unusual, close home.


  1. Something new for me to look for in the woods Dana. I wonder if we have them in Nova Scotia. Kinda reminds me of spider plants which send out stems with a baby plant at the end.

  2. Sybil,
    I'm not sure if the walking fern grows in Nova Scotia. Here is a website with a map of the fern's range.