These ferns were rooted in the moss on the north side of a large boulder in Shakerag Hollow.
The fronds arch through the air and, when they are fully grown, their skinny ends touch down into the moss…
…and root, producing a new fern, a clone of the parent. This baby will ultimately grow into an independent individual, arch its own fronds outward, and continue the “walk” across the boulder.
Walking ferns need a moist carpet to take root and they are seldom found away from thick mossy mats. Unfortunately their diminutive charm makes them attractive to plant-thieving gardeners. Transplants seldom survive, so it is best to leave them unmolested in the woods.