Greek polys-many, pous-foot, referring to the branching, spreading rhizomes.
Terrestrial, slow-growing ferns sometimes growing on rocks or other plants, cultivated mostly in hanging baskets or in shady areas with room to spread. Rhizomes generally long-creeping, thick, branches few, scaly at least at first. Sterile and fertile fronds similar. Fronds mostly divided once, often less than half way to the midrib, evergreen, hairless or rarely downy. Segments strap-shaped, rounded or tapering. Stalk base jointed to the rhizome. Sori in centre of fronds, mostly in 1 row on each side of the midrib, round or elliptic and often becoming bright orange. Indusium absent.
c. 75 species, mostly Northern Temperate.
A complex genus taxonomically, once consisting of all the species with naked, round sori. Now the tropical species are often divided into separate genera including: Aglaomorpha, Drymoglossum, Goniophlebium, Microsorum, Phlebodium, Phymatodes, Pleopeltis and Schellolepis. Botanical authorities may accept various combinations of these genera. Goniophlebium is sometimes separated from Polypodium by the jointed branching and netted veins but it is included with Polypodium here as is the tropical American, mostly bluish fronded, Phlebodium; also Pleopeltis which has stalked, cushion-like hairs in the 2-3 mm wide sori.
Shivas (1961), Lloyd & Lange (1964), Hoshizaki (1982).
Source: (1995). Polypodiaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.