Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
January 15, 2000 - Issue 01

Take A Guess
by Paul Barry

An Unusual Plant

The common name tells a lot about this plant.

Many years ago, I was walking in the woods with an old man that I called Granpa. We spent a lot of time looking at plants. We would brush the leaves away to see the mushrooms that were coming up and we would even look at the mosses and lichens growing on the rocks, with a magnifying glass. I asked him what this plant with long arrow shaped leaves was called. He got very excited. It is an unusual plant. It likes to grow in cool, moist places, mostly in the north and east. It is listed as a threatened species in Michigan. (This picture was taken in Wisconsin.)


Can you name this unusual plant?
Extra points for the scientific name or a traditional name.

Walking Fern - Camptosorus rhizophyllus

This fern can usually be found growing in mossy areas on rotting logs, rocks, and other unusual places. The leaves, which do not resemble most ferns, are long, up to 8 inches, heart-shaped and tapered at the end. The terminal ends of the leaves of this fern droop to the surface the plant grows on (often rock) and then sprout new roots. In this manner, the plant "walks" across the rocks on which it grows.

Here is a picture showing the Walking Fern having walked all over this big rock.

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