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Mr. Smarty Plants - Starting transplants of native Pleopeltis polypodioides

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Thursday - January 15, 2009

From: Chappell Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Starting transplants of native Pleopeltis polypodioides
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to know how to start Pleopeltis polypodioides (resurrection fern) growing in my oak trees. I have a source for the plants but do not know how to start the transplants on the limbs of the trees.

ANSWER:

Pleopeltis polypodioides ssp. polypodioides (resurrection fern) is a native plant and an epiphyte. In Central Texas we are all familiar with the epiphyte  Tillandsia baileyi (reflexed airplant), also known as ball moss, that is similarly fond of oak trees. Epiphytes do no harm to host plants, as they take their nutrients from rain and dust in the air. We learned from this Floridata website Pleopeltis polypodioides that it can be easily transplanted by wedging the rhizomes (something like "roots") into the furrows in the oak bark. When the fern dries out, it pulls its leaves in to protect the moisture it already has, and almost disappears. A light spray with a hose will bring it back to life, thus the name. As it spreads by spores, once you have established it, the plant will probably take care of spreading on the host tree and others near it. 


Pleopeltis polypodioides ssp. polypodioides

 

 


 

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