Common Polypody, Rock Polypody

Polypodium vulgare

Family: Polypodiaceae
Genus: Polypodium (pol-ee-PODE-ee-um) (Info)
Species: vulgare (vul-GAIR-ee) (Info)
Synonym:Polypodium virginianum
Synonym:Polypodium vulgare var. virginianum




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From spores

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Cleveland, Ohio

Media, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 4, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

P. virginianum is hardy to Z2.

This is a beautiful small evergreen fern. I see it fairly often in the wild around here, growing on boulders and climbing exposed rock faces. I've only tried growing it in the garden once, and failed. It's said to be tricky to get started, and you need just the right soil and conditions---It's said that the soil needs to be high in organic matter but low in nutrients. Once established, it clearly can take care of itself.

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden:

"It is very similar in appearance to P. vulgare, and has been listed in the past by some experts as P. vulgare var. virginianum... Recent research indicates this plant is a naturally occurring fertile hybrid of P. appalachianum and P. sibiricum..."
... read more


On Feb 3, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Native to temperate climates of the Northern Hemisphere. I've only seen the few planted at the base of trees and rocks at Jenkins Arboretum near Berwyn, Pennsylvania, that are labeled. The soil at that site is moderately acid and a good quality clay or silty-clay loam. Most references say it can grow in acid or neutral or alkaline soils that are well-drained, being dry or moist. They grow on logs, ledges, cliffs, and other places. They look pretty, and they have the simple pinnate leaves that are not double or bipinnate like the "typical" fern.They have evergreen foliage, as I took photos of the still green fronds in March. The rhizome roots are supposed to be edible with lots of sugars inside and they can be used for medicinal purposes. I have not seen this plant offered in regular garden... read more


On Mar 31, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Native to the Canada, and the eastern United States (excluding Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida), and South Dakota.

Listed as exploitably vulnerable in the state of New York.