Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ferns in sunshine

Even the ferns are turning color in the woods right now. I came across many of these colonizing a steep bank on my Sunday walk. These are the Lady fern, one of the most common in northern temperate climes like mine.

This fern was much prized by the Victorians during the Victorian fern craze. This species is probably the most common fern species I see around Roundtop. I’ve read that I could divide a plant in the spring and replant it up at the cabin, but I have an aversion to taking anything I find in the forest. That doesn’t keep me from being tempted, at least occasionally, though.

Of all the plant families, I think ferns are my favorite, though fungi are close. Often, identifying ferns isn’t a particularly easy exercise. There are many species and many of those are similar to each other. Reading about how one species is separated from another very similar species usually gets very technical very quickly, and sometimes I just zone out or give up. Sometimes, even when the descriptions use words I understand, they use those words in unusual ways, and I end up even more confused.

I love knowing what species of all plants are found around Roundtop, but I’m not about to make myself crazy over it when I can’t. Not knowing doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of their beauty. Nothing could do that.

8 comments:

Lynne said...

I've been able to differentiate four different ferns at Hasty Brook. Identifying them is not so easy for me. Armed with two fern field guides for my area, I only came up with one firm id- the Sesitive Fern.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne: I just ordered another fern ID book. I swear I have more identification guides than anyone I know. They do help, but the sheer volume of them is starting to take over the cabin's living space!

Carolyn H.

Lynne said...

Which guide did you order?
I have a Peterson guide which tends to overwhelm me and I have a little pocket guide called

"Fern Finder"
A guide to native ferns of central and northeastern US and eastern Canada
by Anne C. Hallowell
and Barbara G. Hallowell

Fern Finder is the little book I go to.

kat said...

I've got beautiful ferns in my redwood forest and I have no idea what the are. I think I'll need to get myself a book and get started. I'm certain there are all kinds of treats waiting for me that I've yet to discover in my own backyard.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne: I just ordered Ferns and Their Allies of Pennsylvania by Thomas Lloyd. I've been trying recently to go with field guides that are more specific to my area, as one of the things that usually trips me up with plants or fungi or ferns is that there are too many choices in the guides that try to cover all of North America. For one thing, there are thousands of species, and the national field guides have to make choices about what to include. I keep hoping that regional guides are more inclusive about the less common species that might be common where I am. Sometimes it works.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

kat: I'm sure you'll find more treats than you can even imagine! I know I do!

Carolyn h.

Aleta said...

We have a lot of these ferns on our property here in TN and now I know what they are! I love ferns too!
Love your blog site! Love your pictures! Love the woods!!!

Carolyn H said...

Aleta: thanks for visting!

Carolyn H.