Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I have returned from the beautiful, balmy mountains of Costa Rica to the frozen hellscape of Madison, WI, where during my absence there was a week when the temperature didn't go above 8 degrees Fahrenheit. Glad I missed that, although today's -1 isn't proving too pleasant either. Given the bone-numbing weather I find myself pining for Costa Rica's beautiful ferns, so I will focus on them for a few posts.

This beauty is a species of Nephrolepis, a genus in Polypodiales that is characterized by, among other things: an apex that remains curled in a fiddlehead, and articulate pinnae that fall off the rachis. The popular house plant Boston Fern is a species of Nephrolepis, but it tends to leave a mess behind when it decides to shed its pinnae. This one was growing as an epiphyte in a rainforest preserve, called Braulio Carrillo, which we visited on the return trip from La Selva to San Jose.


Leana Condes said...

How can you keep your ferns alive when you are assigned to plant ferns on a bright area?

Emily said...

Well, the first step would be choosing the right species. If you plant a shade- and water-loving species in bright sunlight, no amount of watering is going to keep it alive. Without knowing where you're located and what type of effect you're going for, it's hard to give specific species recommendations, but try Googling 'hardy ferns' and you'll get some websites with good suggestions.