Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week - Polypody

Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week - Polypody.

Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week - Polypody.

This week's Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week was Polypody - Polypodium Vulgare.

The rather nicely named Polypodies are found on all the inhabited islands and most uninhabited islands.

On the one hand this medium-size stout fern is quite easily recognised once you realise it is the main fern growing out of our granite walls that can form quite large patches as it spreads rather than forms rosettes. It is also quite partial to an old mossy tree. On the other hand there are two very similar plants on the islands, with at least one record of a hybrid species. 

Polypody is a pinnate fern, where the the leaves are like fingers, at overlapping alternate right angles to the main stem. In the autumn it's worth having a look underneath the leaves as the spore producing spots, known as sori, are lovely shades of yellow changing to orange.

The botanical name, Polypodium Vulgare, means many footed, as the rhizoms branch and creep, which is very common. It has become an introduced invasive in New Zealand.

The roots have a sweet taste and has been a spicy ingredient in nougat. Polypody has been used in traditional medicine as a purgative and a vermifuge, that is to kill worms.

There are 75-100 species of Polypody and cultivars are popular with gardeners that are fond of ferns. They grow well in dry shade. A problem area in many gardens.

You can listen to Liz's Wildflower Of The Week below and Liz will have a brand new wildflower for you next Wednesday at 10:30am.