Polypody, common

Polypodium vulgare
A small evergreen fern found in shady areas on rocks, stumps and rotting logs. The up to 12” leaves are cut almost to the midline. The leaflets may be smooth edged or toothed and the stalk and axis of the leaf are smooth. The round spore cases are unusually large and are usually in 2 rows, often reaching almost to the margins of the leaflet.

The only once-cut fern with a smooth, green stalk, blunt leaflets cut almost, but not to, the midline and without an “ear” at the base of the leaflet. The last feature differentiates it from the Christmas fern.