Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Huron Mts II - Dryopteris cristata

One of the best things that happened during our trip to the Hurons, in my opinion, was finding a great population of Dryopteris cristata, the crested wood/shield fern. This is another member of the group I study, and I had previously only seen it in one place: a small population on private property in North Carolina. We were given directions to a large, thriving population of it near Rush Lake in the Hurons. There were dozens of plants scattered around a swampy area with a stream running through it:

D. cristata is a beautiful fern, and rather distinct looking. Its fronds are very erect, held almost vertical, and the pinnae resemble venetian blinds - rotated almost 180 degrees relative to the plane of the costa/rachis. This pinna-rotation is a unique character of this fern. One of the polyploid species it has parented, D. clintoniana, shares this character, but the pinnae aren't quite as horizontal as in D. cristata.

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