Western Licorice Fern

Western Licorice Fern is widely scattered, yet infrequent, at low to mid elevations in wet and semi-wet climates. It is up to 20 cm tall, often growing sideways from crevasses and rock faces. Its leaves are evergreen, smooth stalked, and divided into leaflets with relatively smooth edges. This plant reproduces through spores produced on the underside of the leaflets.

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Description
Latin Name Polypodium hesperium P. vulgare var. columbianum
Type Fern
Description Western Licorice Fern is widely scattered, yet infrequent, at low to mid elevations in wet and semi-wet climates. It is up to 20 cm tall, often growing sideways from crevasses and rock faces. Its leaves are evergreen, smooth stalked, and divided into leaflets with relatively smooth edges. This plant reproduces through spores produced on the underside of the leaflets.
Height and Spread Up to 20 cm tall. Up to 10 cm spread per stalk.
Bloom Colour Does not bloom, produces through spores.
Bloom Months N/A.
Foliage Colour Dark to light green.
Seed Months Reproduction through spores on an ongoing basis.
Light and Water Generally grows in shaded areas. Likes wet climates.
Ethnobotany Information Western Licorice Fern has not generally been used as a food source, only during famine times by indigenous peoples. It is high in sugars though and was sometimes used to flavour foods or to chew as an appetizer.
Wildlife Uses The leaves of this fern are generally quite tough and aren’t widely sought as a food source by wildlife.
Garden Uses Western Licorice Fern requires a shaded and wet environment to grow in. In a landscaped wet native plant area it can be well used in conjunction with other ferns.
Facts Western Licorice Fern’s latin name polypodium means ‘many feet’, referring to the hairy rhizome roots that resemble animal feet.
Propagation Techniques Western Licorice Fern is propagated by spores that can be collected by picking the leaves and letting them dry for 24 hours on a piece of paper until the spores disperse.