Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Walking fern
Asplenium rhizophyllum

Family: Aspleniaceae
Genus: Asplenium (ass-PLEE-nee-um) (Info)
Species: rhizophyllum (ry-zo-FIL-um) (Info)

Synonym:Camptosorus rhizophyllus

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


under 6 in. (15 cm)
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
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)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
Plant is viviparous
From spores

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

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Toxicodendron
Thumbnail #1 of Asplenium rhizophyllum by Toxicodendron

By nick89
Thumbnail #2 of Asplenium rhizophyllum by nick89

By ViolaValley
Thumbnail #3 of Asplenium rhizophyllum by ViolaValley


2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive bonsaiguydw On May 9, 2013, bonsaiguydw from Mendenhall, PA wrote:

I grew this for several years in a part shade stone wall in which I had deeply inserted a little limestone/marble. It grew and "walked" quite well. Really fun to grow and watch it root! I did paper clip the tips of the leaves to its neighboring dirt slot to assist its rooting. Love this plant. Hope to find it again.

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

Native Ontario, Canada, the central, eastern, and southern part of the United States, inclusing Kansas and Oklahoma (excluding Florida and Louisiana), as well as Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico.

This plant is considered an endangered/threatened species in the states of Michigan, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. It is also listed as exploitably vulnerable in the State of New York.

Neutral nick89 On Mar 28, 2005, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

A very strange and unusual fern. I was at first puzzled by it when I found a wild clump near a limestone spring.
It propagates itself by plantlets at the tips of the fronds. These eventually come in contact with the soil and root, so in a way they "walk" (if you can call it that).

Positive Toxicodendron On Oct 3, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

This fern grows in low mats on limestone ledges and boulders, often over a layer of moss. It requires constant humidity and therefore it only survives in natural settings that are in close proximity to rivers and streams or other water sources that constantly humidify the air. Sadly, it has been overcollected in many instances by ignorant persons who think they can grow it at home. It will survive in a terrarium, with extremely careful watering. It spreads by new baby plantlets that arise at the leaf tips, rooting where they touch down. It is always a delight to see large boulders completely covered with this fern, but one needs to appreciate it in it's own specialized habitat.


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

New Market, Alabama
Marshall, Arkansas
Bartow, Florida
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Mendenhall, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Viola, Tennessee

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