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Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum)

Walking FernWalking Fern Sori One of the most interesting ferns present at the Arboretum is the Walking Fern, typically found on moss covered, calcareous rocks in shady microhabitats. It occurs at scattered sites around the Arboretum and adjacent research areas, but is not obvious along our trails. This unique fern characteristically forms circular patches with its lance-shaped, undivided, evergreen leaves tapering to slender points arching over the mossy substrate. Where the tips touch the moist substrate, they may develop roots and new plants - thus "walking" across the substrate. The brown linear sori (spore-bearing structures) are borne on the undersurface of the leaves, more or less paralleling the network of veins. Research suggests that Walking Fern may require an exposed rock surface to become established. This member of the Spleenwort family (Asplenaceae) is found throughout eastern North America, from southern Ontario and Quebec, south to Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, and west to Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota. It is known to occur throughout eastern and middle Tennessee.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
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