I may not be able to identify Goldenrod species, but I can identify the fern species we have around here. I decided long ago when I was getting seriously interested in natural history, and then had to spend some time lying still in hospital, to memorize the Latin names of the 40+ fern species in Ontario.
Very few people seem to be experts on ferns (they don't have pretty flowers, and don't fly in to your bird feeder), so I thought it was a group of plants I could relatively easily become an 'expert' on! I've been teaching people to identify ferns ever since, though I don't flaunt my knowledge of the Latin names anymore (the only ones I know), because I often forget them anyway now!
We were walking the Crevice Springs Side Trail on the Bruce Trail, and immediately headed down a crevice to hunt for ferns. This was a 'Slowpoke Walk' where we went slowly and stopped to look at things, not a 'hike'.
There were lots of ferns to see. This is one of the most common in the habitat below the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, the Marginal Wood Fern, Dryopteris marginalis
. If you look closely you can see the sporangia (spore dots) right along the margins of the sub-leaflests.
Northern Holly Fern, Polystichum Lonchitis
, is another that likes the limestone rock along the Escarpment, growing in a classic cluster of fronds reading out in all directions.
But this was my fern find of the day, the Interrupted Fern, Osmunda Claytoniana
. I hadn't seen one of this species in years, and never here in the Beaver Valley. In the picture above the green frond, about 3 feet tall, is 'interrupted' by two missing leaflets, which instead are shrivelled small clusters of sporangia, in this species forming separate leaflets instead of dots on the back of the frond.
A closer look shows you the two missing green leaflets replaced by the fertile leaflets consisting of spore cases. This arrangement is unique to this species.
I just liked this little cedar tree growing out of the top of a small stump. Will its roots reach the ground in time to hold it up before the stump rots out beneath it?
And the remnant of one spring flower, the bright red seeds of the Jack-in-the-Pulpit.
This is the dedicated crew who opted to follow me on this walk, all of them really interested in learning about ferns.
And one of them taught me something - pointing out this crevice cave, reputedly the hiding place for smugglers bringing in liquor during the prohibition era!
Wow!!!! I loved this walk.ReplyDelete
Is that a Indian Turnip?
I can say this is a fern but not what it's name is. I love ferns! I have a bed of hardy ferns that came from Michigan. Here by Mom and Dad's house they sometimes have a good year and some bad years. The last three weeks have been difficult for them. I enjoy plants that are beautiful without flowering. I have some natural ferns in rock pockets around my water garden. They do like it there.
Is that a cave or just a rock shelter?
Now you have me wanting to walk in your steps. I envy your knowledge of ferns.
Yes, Indian Turnip is another name for Jack-in-the-Pulpit. And I think it's a real cave. I didn't go down in to explore it.Delete
The Jack In The Pulpit is a plant that I remember seeing from hikes on the escarpment. I can't recall the last time I've come across one. I haven't been in that part of the escarpment, though the terrain does remind me of other parts further south.ReplyDelete
The ferns are so lovely. I don't think I've ever seen a jack in the pulpit bloom.ReplyDelete
Even ferns are pretty. We have quite a few of them up at Happy Trails. Not sure what kind.ReplyDelete
Neat! I like ferns.ReplyDelete
Hiking boots, a back pack or two, and lots of cameras, lovely ferns, and so different. Great post. Cheers,Jean.ReplyDelete
A beautiful and slow walk. Perfect.ReplyDelete
Oh I love the smuggler's cave the most though!!! ,-)
I find ferns to be beautiful. Sadly, I can barely remember the names of the most common flowers. I'm choosing to believe that is because my head is full of "weird words" discovered (but not remembered) ABC Wednesday. I'm also choosing to take your comment in a positive way, so I'll add that few have come up with a more memorable name for their blog than you :) I would have loved to have gone on that slow walk. Even though names evade me, the your narrative pointed out many of the distinguishing features that I will seek out the next time we are in the forest.ReplyDelete
Of course I meant the comment positively. I'm fascinated with the unusual words you come up with each week!Delete
Congratulations on your detailed knowledge of ferns. I know little of their nomenclature but they comprise a wonderful group of plants. Is there a good textbook dedicated to ferns?ReplyDelete
I use the Peterson's series "A field Guide to Ferns..." which is the classic. There is also "A Field Guide to Ferns of Grey and Bruce Counties" which covers our region, and is really helpful in knowing what's here.Delete
Wonderful! And here we have lots of the interrupted fern, but I would be delighted to find the other two. Well, we do have some of the marginal wood fern, but apparently not much in the places I haunt.ReplyDelete