Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Christmas fern
The brilliant colors of the spring wildflower have already disappeared, leaving the mountain covered with green plants and green leaves. A few flowers remain but I seem to be in the quiet place that comes after spring wildflowers and before the summer ones emerge.

For me, this is a good time to look for ferns, which are abundant in the wetter spots of the mountain. Right by my cabin is not a wet spot, so I have to walk half a mile or so to reach the first good fern patch.

Today’s fern is the most common one on the mountain. It’s a Christmas fern, so named because the fronds stay green in winter, making them popular for Christmas decorations, especially in the pre-electric light years. I was attracted to the color of the unfurling frond, which is also the color of the fern spores that will appear on the underside of the fronds later in the year. In fact, my first thought when I saw this fern is that was what it was, before I realized it was the wrong time of year and then looked more closely.

It will soon be time for another year of adventure camp for kids on the mountain, and I look forward to working with kids in the outdoors each year. I try to get them interested in things like ferns, though I think it’s a losing battle. Ferns must be an acquired taste, and small green plants aren’t exciting enough for them. For me, their delicacy and gently curving shapes are a delight I never tire of. Maybe this will be the year I win over a couple of the kids.


Cathy said...

Shhh! about doing summer programs with the kids. I got summer reading program coming up soon. Is it August yet ;-)

Actually, I haven't had too many inquires about the programs. I think the gas prices will keep some the kids away.

Maybe this year, you kids get a bear.

Nice shot the fern, I expecting a post about dying ferns.

Scott said...

Carolyn, in my experience, if it's not animate it's very tough to get kids excited (and it's a challenge even when the subject IS animate). Incidentally, I've also heard that the Christmas fern got its name because the pinnae are vaguely Christmas stocking-shaped.