Rhizome: creeping, branching, dull, not whitish waxy, moderately stout, to 10 mm diameter, acrid to sweet (but not licorice) flavored, scales lanceolate, brown or slightly darker near point of attachment.
Frond: 70 cm high by 20 cm wide, summer deciduous, monomorphic, blade/stipe ratio: .
Stipe: jointed at base, straw-colored, glabrous or scattered with thin light-brown scales, vascular bundles: 3.
Blade: pinnatifid, triangular to lanceolate-ovate, pinnatifid, usually widest near base, leathery to herbaceous, rachis downy above, a diagnostic feature, a few scattered scales on the rachis below.
Pinnae: 8 to 15 pair, linear-lanceolate to oblong, tip usually obtuse; margins serrate; veins free (more than 50%) and netted (less than 50%).
Sori: oval when immature, round later, discrete, less than 3 mm diam, midway between margin and midrib to slightly nearer the midrib; on all but the lowest pinnae of fertile fronds, indusium: absent, sporangia: yellow to brown at maturity; paraphyses absent, maturity: early winter to spring.
Habitat: on rocky slopes, usually coastal.
Distribution: California and Baja California.
Hardy to USDA Zone 8.
Polypodium californicum var. kaulfussii D. C. Eaton
P. vulgare Linnaeus subsp. californicum (Kaulfuss) HultÚn
P. vulgare var. kaulfussii (D. C. Eaton) Fernald
with other species in the Western North America Group