Fern?? Need help, plant experts!

Submitted by Lori S. on

A single leathery leaf popped up out in front yard (full sun, dry) this spring at the base of a verbascum.  It looks fern-like to me... could this be Polypodium hesperium or am I way off base???  I have no explanation why such a thing would suddenly appear but I can't think what else it could be.  Thanks in advance for any information.




Submitted by Mark McD on Sun, 08/18/2013 - 13:54

It has the alternating leaves like that Polypodium, but the toothed leaf edges don't seem right for Polypodium.  My first impression was Incarvillea, but I'm not really sure.

My first thought without reading Mark's reply was also Incarvillea. It is certainly not any Polypodium (not any I know anyway). But like Mark, I am not sure.

Hey, you guys will be glad to know you were right! :-)


I think it's Incarvillea delavayi, from the leaves, pale pink flowers and the lack of white marks in the flower throat... which would seem to distinguish it from the other Incarvillea I have that could have provided seed (I. zhongdianensis, I. mairei v. grandiflora).  Please let me know if anyone thinks it's some other species.   For the life of me, I have no idea how it got out there!  

If it is I. delavayi, that is especially puzzling, as I haven't had one in a great many years.