“Not Everything Is Green”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana
Today was another glorious, sunny, warm day in which to work out in the garden. I finished spreading all the compost and mulch, and as I was doing so I noticed the resurrection fern on the oak tree. With all the new spring greenery showing up, I was surprised to see a curled up, brown dead looking plant on the oak tree. It has not been particularly dry lately, so you would think everything would be sporting spring green.
Resurrection fern or Polypodium polypodioides is an epiphyte that is found on trees, especially oak trees. They will blanket the limbs of old trees. I wanted my oak tree to have this fern, so one day, while walking in the neighborhood, I found a twelve inch oak limb with the fern growing on it in the street. I took it home and just laid the limb next to my tree and waited. It wasn’t too very long before I started seeing a little fern growing on my tree.
What makes this fern so special, besides its ability to give a tree an ancient look, is that when it is dry it just curls up, turns brown, and looks dead.
It can stay like this for weeks when it is hot and dry. However, when moisture is available, it will quickly spring back to life, unfurling bright green leaves, consequently the common name resurrection fern.
Resurrection fern does not harm the tree it is on. It gets all its nutrients from the dust and rain in the air. This is a neat plant to show little children who will be fascinated by the “dead fern” coming back to life after just a little water is thrown on it, but for me, I like the way it covers oak trees and makes them seem to be so old and look as if they have been in place for centuries.