Skip to main content

gray polypody

gray polypody (Pleopeltis polypodioides)
Photo © Christopher David Benda

Features and Behaviors

The gray polypody, or resurrection fern, is a small evergreen fern. Each oblong, leathery leaf is about eight inches long. Small leaves may lay along the ground while larger leaves are generally erect. The leaf is green on the upper surface, and gray-green and scaly on the lower surface. Each leaf is divided into six to 12 pairs of leaflets. The leaflet has a rounded tip and wavy edge. The rachis is smooth and green above, gray-green and scaly below. The stipe is about one-third the length of the leaf. It is covered with scales.

The gray polypody may be found in the southern one-fourth of Illinois. It grows on sandstone rocks, tree trunks and branches. Spores are produced from June through October. This plant is sometimes called the resurrection plant for its ability to revive quickly from a dead appearance during dry conditions to lush green after a rainfall.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Filicopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Polypodiaceae

Illinois Status: common, native