Licorice Fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza)

Polypodium glycyrrhiza on tree.jpg
Polypodium glycyrrhiza ripe spore.jpg
Polypodium glycyrrhiza green spore green.jpg
Polypodium glycyrrhiza on tree.jpg
Polypodium glycyrrhiza ripe spore.jpg
Polypodium glycyrrhiza green spore green.jpg
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Licorice Fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza)

8.00

Stock note: this fern comes with moss!

The nearly pinnate fronds vary considerably in outline in wild populations as to their outline, from long slender lobes to short stout ones, with the margins toothed or smooth. The fronds develop in late summer and persist until spring when they drop naturally. Newly ripened sori (spore casings) are buttery yellow and age to a rich golden-brown. This temperate epiphyte is a familiar sight in the Pacific Northwest forest on big-leaf maples, logged-off stumps, and suitable moss encrusted rocks and roadside banks.  Since it is epiphytic, it can be grown on vertical surfaces such as rock faces or maple trees provided there is sufficient moss coverage to protect the rhizome.  Cultivation is also possible on the ground, but again the fern prefers areas where moss tends to naturally grow as it helps to protect its root system.  Ferns in this genus produce a significant amount of glucose in their rhizome, giving the root a sweet, licorice-like taste that is sometimes used in native folk medicine, though it is mostly regarded as a novelty by modern standards and does not contain substantial nutritive value.  The high sugar levels also protect this fern from damage by winter cold, enabling it to stay green through the coldest part of the winter in its native clime.  It is a joy for the winter garden as it holds firm, cheering us on to believe that spring will come again!

Frond Condition:  Wintergreen; colonizing
Mature Height:  1-2'
Origin:  Pacific Northwestern U.S.
Cultural Requirements:  Partly Shaded, Full Shade, Slightly Moist, DRYISH
USDA Zones:  6, 7, 8, 9
Notes: stock from divisions, summer deciduous (Wintergreen)

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