Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Random plant event: Polypodium formosanum 'Cristatum'

This isn't really so much a random plant event as just a random plant, but whatever. In the post about the shoplifter, I mentioned that there was a weird plant in the latest shipment that was going to get its own post soon: this is that plant.

It's a little unusual from the top:

But the foliage isn't even the part we're interested in. It came in with a batch of "footed" ferns -- rabbit's-foot (Davallia) and bear's-paw (Polypodium?) and that sort of thing. So check out what we saw when we looked at the "feet:"

The picture doesn't quite do it justice, but it was the best I could do. The "feet" are smooth, and sort of a light green -- more than one co-worker spontaneously compared them to Manduca sexta, the tobacco hornworm, though hornworms are thicker. And more mobile.

The supplier helpfully provided tags with the scientific name and the suggested common name of "E.T. fern;" I don't know if I expect that to catch on, but it certainly got my attention. In any case, it looks like a footed fern mutant that doesn't grow "fur" on the "feet." I'd buy one, but we're kind of at the low end of the annual cycle with my rabbit's-foot, where it's just starting to come out of dormancy after spending all winter looking increasingly like crap. Taking on another fern seems like asking for trouble. But maybe eventually.

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