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Products > Plants - Browse By Plant Category > Fern > Phlebodium aureum
Phlebodium aureum - Rabbit's Foot Fern

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Fern
Family: Polypodiaceae (Common Ferns)
Origin: Central America (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: NA
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [Polypodium aureum]
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Phlebodium aureum (Rabbit's Foot Fern) - This shade-loving medium sized fern has large pale gray-green arching fronds that are deeply lobed with large spores in two rows on the undersides of the leaves. The fronds rise up 2 to 3 feet from the thick creeping rhizomes that are so covered with brown scales that it looks like fur. This fern needs a fairly well-drained soil and tolerates situations where it gets only occasional irrigation but grows more robust in wetter conditions. It also tolerates some direct morning or late afternoon sun but seems to grow best in bright shade. It has proven hardy in our garden to short periods as low as 25 F and we have reports from a gardener in Jacksonville, Florida that it has tolerated 18 F there. It is an interesting and attractive groundcover in the near frost free garden and nice when used as a potted specimen. In Barbara Joe Hoshizaki and Robin Moran's Fern Growers Manual (Timber Press 2001) it is also listed as a good fern for growing indoors. This fern has a wide natural distribution from southern Florida and West Indies south through Mexico, Central America to northern South America. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word phlebodes (from 'phlebos' meaning "vein") that translates to "full of veins" in reference to the highly branched veins. Other common names include Golden Polypody, Gold Foot Fern, and Cabbage Palm Fern. Our thanks to Paul Gripp, founder of the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate for sharing this fern from his garden with us in 1988. We no longer have sufficient stock on this plant to divide from and so discontinued production in 2014.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Phlebodium aureum.