One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A widely distributed fern which has stout scaly creeping rhizomes and remains green during the winter, growing on trees, walls, and stones, especially in limestone areas.
Genus Polypodium, family Polypodiaceae: several species, in particular the common polypody (P. vulgare)
- ‘Aquarius Research Natural Area is particularly rich in ferns, including Western polypody, spreading woodfern, oak fern, male fern, bracken fern, and sword fern.’
- ‘There is also Onoclaea sensibilis, the sensitive fern, and our native common polypody, Polypodium vulgare.’
- ‘Others are ferns: golden polypody, long strap fern, and shoestring fern lodge themselves in the remnant bases of the old palm leaves.’
- ‘Others are maidenhair spleenwort, two kinds of polypody, and walking fern.’
- ‘Among the ferns are California polypody, maidenhair fern, and golden-back fern.’
Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek polupodion, denoting a kind of fern, from polu- ‘many’ + pous, pod- ‘foot’.
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