new fronds with croziers, May 2015
The day after my last post, I went to Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (in the Little Seneca Creek watershed, near Boyds), hoping to find some evergreen ferns. There was a nice stand of Christmas fern along a bank:
Looking closer I saw a second species: ebony spleenwort. It’s the smaller, lighter-colored fronds on the left in this picture:
At twelve to twenty inches tall, ebony spleenwort is one of the larger members of its genus. It’s wide-ranging, from Quebec south and west as far as Arizona, and can be found in a variety of habitats. Look for it on embankments, rock outcroppings that have a little soil, even old stone fences. It’s listed as special concern in Maine and exploitably vulnerable in New York.
a specimen near C&O Canal lock 8, August 2015
underside of a pinna on a fertile frond, showing indusia and sporangia
Several other evergreen ferns can be found in the Maryland Piedmont; I’ll be posting about them in the coming weeks.