Apologies for my lack of posting in the past few months... but it's spring now! And I just took a lovely trip to California to visit the fern collections at the University of California-Berkeley herbarium and do some exploring, so I've got material to stock a few posts between now and the start of my summer fieldwork, when things should really get hopping around here.
And so, without further ado, may I introduce you to Woodwardia fimbriata, the Giant Chain Fern. It lives up to the 'giant' part of its common name, I can tell you. Apparently its fronds have been known to reach 8 feet in length (!). This species is native to the west coast and up into Canada, and like other Woodwardia species it has linear, sort of squat sori in a unique pattern that instantly identifies it as a member of this genus. Members of the group are called the chain ferns because of this pattern of the sori.
These pictures of Woodwardia fimbriata were all taken in Muir Woods National Monument, north of San Francisco. It's a beautiful, serene place, full of redwoods, like the one I'm contemplating in the following picture. A redwood photo is obligatory for any discussion involving Muir Woods: