Pyrrosia linearifolia

Epithet means "linear foliage."

Evergreen, 3 to 8 in. (7.5 to 20 cm).Zones 8 (with protection) to 10.

description: The rhizome is creeping. Short pseudo-stipes merge gradually into the blades with the whole being shaped like a narrow paddle. The fronds are lax to procumbent and with their pubescent hairs look rather dull, but not uninteresting. Scattered hydathodes are visible on the upper frond surface. Sori without indusia are in rows of dots on either side of the midrib veering on an angle toward the fronds tips.

range and habitat: This small species perches on rocks and occasionally on trees in China, Korea, and Japan.

culture and comments: I have enjoyed my plant as a Zone 8 pot specimen for many years. The pot, with a modest circle of foliage, is displayed close to the basement door where, in an emergency, it can be snatched away from an impending exceptional cold spell. The plant is growing in lean, coarse soil and has spread very slowly. Small-scaled basket culture is an

Bold foliage of Pyrrosia lingua meanders in the Fernery at the Morris Arboretum providing a handsome counterpoint for the more delicate ferns in the display.

attractive option but needs to be supplemented with other species in order to give a fully dressed display.

Pyrrosia lingua Tongue fern, felt fern

Epithet means "tongue."

Evergreen, 8 to 12 in. (20 to 30 cm).Zones 7b (in warm summer areas) and 8 (with protection) to 10.

description: The branching rhizome is long-creeping, often reaching and dangling well beyond the confines of a container and its attendant soil. it is rather brittle and forms a tangled web resembling an aboveground ferny cable network. The stipes are upright and distanced from one another giving the plant a spreading, open structure. However, when confined by pot or basket culture, the stipes circle and return to overlap and support a vigorous display of clustered leathery foliage. The stipes are up to one-half of the frond length, dark brown, and hairy when young. This dark characteristic continues into the midrib of the blades, but extended linear veins revert to bright green. The blades are simple and upright with a tapered, noncordate base. Indusia-free sori are crowded between the linear veins.

The upright fertile fronds of Pyrrosia lingua in a garden setting.

range and habitat: This species prefers a site among dryish rocks, as well as on tree trunks in China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.

culture and comments: I have maintained a sprawling plant, somewhat confined to a pot, but definitely accepting of benign neglect, for half a dozen years in Zone 8. it is casually nurtured in an unheated greenhouse during the winter, and the offspring, easily produced from rhizome cuttings, have survived, unprotected, the vagaries of winters with brief minimum temperatures of 18°F (-8°C). In severe situations, it can always be given a blanket for the evening lows.

Pyrrosia lingua has been generous in supplying horticulture with variations on its structural theme, producing unusual shapes that do not conform to the outlines of the species. subtle to outlandish derivations of frond architecture include, among others, forked tips, fringed margins, and assorted combinations of both. Many of these selections come from Japan and are offered in the connoisseurs' trade under Japanese cultivar names. I might add that due to difficulties in propagation, pyrrosias in general are expensive and their novelties currently command a tidy price in the market place.

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