Wednesday, May 6, 2009

First ferns

Greetings! A week ago I went on my first field trip of the season, to a natural area called Abraham's Woods in south-central Wisconsin. The forest floor was covered with spring ephemerals, like the Dicentra cucullaria visible in the image above. In addition to the flowering plants, we found fiddleheads of various fern species that were just emerging. Very exciting to find the first ferns of the season!

This is lady fern, Athyrium filix-femina.

There is a part of Abraham's Woods that is very close to the edge of the glaciation zone in southern Wisconsin, and on the leeward side of a hill/moraine is some very thick, dark, mesic soil. This is a perfect spot for Dryopteris goldiana, which makes the giant fiddleheads pictured above, with my fingers for scale. 

And some ferns were even unfurling, like this Cystopteris fragilis.