E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Polypodium glycyrrhiza D.C. Eaton
licorice fern
Polypodiaceae (Polypody family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #7495)

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Distribution of Polypodium glycyrrhiza
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Species Information

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Evergreen or summer deciduous perennial with a long-creeping, scaly rhizome.
Lanceolate, 10-60 cm long, 2-15 cm wide, pinnatifid with sharp deep incisions and elongated pointed segments with toothed margins; rachis with rusty hairs on upper surface in the top one third.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry and seasonally wet rocks, trees, and soil humus in the lowland and montane zones; common in coastal BC; N to SE AK and S to ID and CA, disjunct in AZ.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Polypodium glycyrrhiza

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 230 1359
Slope Gradient (%) 0 37 350
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 202 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(4), CWH(434), ICH(1), IDF(5), MH(3), MS(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Asian and Pacific North American fem. Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on very shallow, calcium­rich soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing continentality and elevation. Scattered to plentiful in open-canopy forests on water-shedding and water-receiving sites. In­habits exposed soils, coarse fragments (boulders), or cliffs affected by temporary surface flow of water and/or fine or­ganic materials. Common on the calcium-rich bark of broad-leaved trees, typically on Acer macrophyllum. Characteristic of mesothermal forests.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Polypodium occidentale
Polypodium vulgare subsp. occidentale (Hook.) HultTn
Polypodium vulgare var. commune Milde
Polypodium vulgare var. occidentale Hook.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References