Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fern Fiddleheads

During these early weeks of spring, I keep watching for ferns emerging in their characteristic fiddleheads.  Did you know that ferns are the only group of plants that emerge in a 'fiddlehead' shape? It's a logarithmic spiral, and slowly uncurls until the frond is full size.

These are the tiny early fiddleheads of a Maidenhair Fern, as are those below.

Both the curl on the end of a violin and that on a Bishop's crozier are modelled after the shape of fern fiddleheads.

And this is a Sensitive Fern unfolding in the woods, just a few days ago,

while this is a Sensitive Fern that's a little faster, and already unfolded.

I think these two are both Lady Ferns.

And this one is definitely a Christmas Fern, with its protective covering of outer scales.

As is this, a little more unfolded.

While these are the Ostrich Ferns down by the pond in the woods.   When people talk about eating fiddleheads, it is the early growth of this species that is the only edible fiddlehead in North America.  All the others range from not very tasty to poisonous!  So don't just go out in the woods and think you can pick any fiddleheads to eat.

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18 comments:

  1. So pretty! I am very leery of eating anything I pick myself :-)

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  2. How interesting, Stew.... I'm not sure I've noticed ferns while in their formation and growth stage... I need to pay more attention when we are hiking in the woods... I see ferns A LOT --but usually they are already formed.... That is so interesting! Thanks!
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  3. We have lots of ferns in our area, but I'm usually not right there when they first start to emerge. - Margy

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  4. Amazing photos. I do enjoy ferns in all stages except brown.

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  5. I am also fascinated by ferns fiddling around. You've captured them much better than I ever have! :-)

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  6. I really like the way you've captured the beauty of these fiddleheads.

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  7. Nice macro shots! I saw a lot of these fiddleheads on last week's hike in the Gorge.

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  8. Beautiful!
    Inspires me to photograph the ferns here (as soon as the rain stops!)

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  9. When I lived in Connecticut, the locals considered fiddle heads to be a find delicacy.

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  10. Interesting plant growth for sure, and I love the final product as well.

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  11. Amazing pictures !

    http://gattina-keyholepictures.blogspot.com/

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  12. Your knowledge is amazing! I've never eaten fiddleheads.

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  13. I've never seen red fiddle heads before… beautiful series!

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  14. Beautiful shots. The ferns really do get big over time.

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  15. Ferns are interesting plants. I love the fiddleheads.

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  16. Very interesting post! My mother was from Newfoundland (about 30 miles outside of St. John's) and fiddleheads were one of her favourite foods. She kept looking for them around our home (countryside near Montreal) but they were a rare find. Love that musical connection too.

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  17. the ferns are great macro photo subjects.

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