Fiddleheads

It’s a good time of year to be watching for emerging fiddleheads, also called croziers. Here’s a random assortment of some I’ve found, including several that I haven’t identified; that will probably have to wait for fertile fronds to emerge later in the year.

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I just love this one; it looks like a dragon or alien monster or something.  This fern is all over the place at Sugarloaf Mountain and Rachel Carson Conservation Park; I expect it’s one of the Dryopteras. It is not one of the evergreen ferns.

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Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), below, is easily identified because it’s so hairy.

 

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Another unknown (right and below); I’ve been seeing it in wet areas in parts of Montgomery County other than the Potomac Gorge.

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Right, one of my favorites: ebony spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron). Below, a forefinger held up to the same plant.20160405-_DSC0163

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And this one (right) was a good find. It’s the fertile frond of a rattlesnake fern (Botrypus virginianus), which I’ve only seen once before. You can see the spherical sori contained within. This plant was in Rachel Carson Conservation Park, where I went to see the pinxter azaleas in bloom. (More on that in a few days.) Below is a picture from last year, showing the fully developed fertile frond.

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