An Inordinate Fondness for…Ferns

Bracken, Hayscented fern, Christmas fern, Sword fern, New York Fern, Maidenhair fern, Wood ferns, Oak fern, Interrupted fern, Royal fern, Ostrich fern, Cinnamon fern, Sensitive fern, Virginia Chain fern, Lady fern, Polypody, Rattlesnake fern, Moonwort…I love them all, and there are more yet to learn. I tend to combine brushing up on ferns each season with brushing up against ferns. especially the aromatic ones. I watch croziers emerge, and while I recognize and admire many species at that stage, it’s not until they’ve all unfurled, forest and streamside crowded with elegant green silhouettes, that I think, “Oh yes, I’d like to know more about you.” I use a prized library discard, a pocket-sized Peterson Field Guide from 1963. It’s written by Boughton Cobb, and includes excellent botanical illustrations by Laura Louise Foster. Find yourself a copy. The fern drawings and photo included here are mine.