While in Ithaca I spent a great and productive morning at the Thurber Nature Preserve in McLean, New York, with my friend Robert Wesley of the Cornell Plantations. Robert knew exactly where to go for the ferns I was specifically interested in finding (several species of Dryopteris reside in the woods and swamp), and during the search we also came across some other interesting species, including this Botrychium virginianum. This is the largest individual of this species I've ever seen! They often don't get much larger than my palm, and this one was practically a salad plate! The common name for this group is the Grape Ferns, and this particular one is also known as Rattlesnake Fern. I don't think it takes much imagination to see where those names derive from... the fertile spike emerging amid the triangular sterile frond definitely appears to bear either grapes on a vine or maracas from those rattlin' tails, depending on how you view it. In fact, those green orbs are the sporangia.