Asplenium rhizophyllum Linnaeus
(=Camptosorus rhizophyllus)

walking fern

Family: Aspleniaceae

Asplenium rhizophyllum is a very distinctive species in our area. The simple leaves are often long-tapering to the tips and if a leaf tip falls on a moist surface, it can generate roots and a new plant, thereby allowing the ferns to "walk" over the surface of the moss-covered rocks. Notice the developing roots at the tips of several fronds in the photo at upper left. Sori are elongate and irregularly located on the blades.

Asplenium rhizophyllum is usually found in moist shady sites on limestone. The range in Wisconsin is mostly southern and near the Mississippi River from Pierce to Polk Counties, plus the Door peninsula. Asplenium rhizophyllum was long known as Camptosorus rhizophyllum and many fern books use that name.