(Linnaeus) J. Smith, J. Bot. (Hooker). 4: 59. 1841.
Goldfoot fern, golden polypody
Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1087. 1753
Stems creeping, ca. 8--15(--30) mm diam., densely scaly; scales reddish to golden, long-attenuate, 10--20 mm. Leaves bright green or glaucous, arching to pendent, scattered, 3--13 dm. Petiole 1.5--5 dm, smooth, with a few scales near base. Blade pinnately and deeply lobed, 3--8 × 1--5 dm, glabrous, terminal segment conform. Segments lanceolate to elliptic, or linear-lanceolate to linear, 6--20 × 1--4 cm, margins entire or sometimes undulate. Sori in 1 line on each side of costae, occasionally 2d row present, sori terminal or at junction of free included veinlets. 2 n = 148.
Epiphytic on a variety of trees or on logs, dense piles of humus, but most commonly among old leaf bases of Sabal palmetto Loddiges, in various habitats from hammocks to swamps; 0 m; Fla., Ga.; Mexico; West Indies; Central America; South America.
Phlebodium aureum occurs north to Dixie and Nassau counties in Florida, and it is disjunct in Franklin County. It is also found in Georgia (W. H. Duncan 1954; L. H. Snyder Jr. and J. G. Bruce 1986). Two varieties (or subspecies) have been recognized, Phlebodium aureum var. aureum and P . aureum var. areolatum (Humboldt & Bonpland ex Willdenow) Farwell. The latter is now often elevated to species rank and given the name P . pseudoaureum (Cavanilles) Lellinger. Phlebodium pseudoaureum is widespread in Central America and South America (D. B. Lellinger 1987) and has been reported as rare in Florida by G. R. Proctor (1985). I have not seen specimens that could be convincingly referred to P . pseudoaureum .
Phlebodium aureum , a tetraploid species, is believed to have arisen through allopolyploidy following hybridization between P . pseudoaureum and P . decumanum (Willdenow) J. Smith, a widespread species in tropical America.