Saturday, July 25, 2009

Huron Mts I

In early June my advisor and I visited the Huron Mountain area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula for a week of ferning. We were trying to relocate populations of Dryopteris in the area that were identified in the 1960s by legendary pteridologists Herb Wagner and Dale Hagenah, both from Michigan. They located populations of seven species of Dryopteris in the Hurons, and there are at least two other species that can be found elsewhere in the U.P., which makes it one of the richest areas on the continent for the genus. We weren't successful in all of our searches, but we did find beautiful populations of two rarer species, which will hopefully become field sites for my dissertation research. 

We were looking for these ferns on the lands of the privately-owned Huron Mountain Club, which is very supportive of scientific research, and funds the Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation. The HMWF graciously allowed us to use their facilities. I'll do several posts about the ferns we found in different areas of the Club's lands, including around several of the lakes.

The first day there we sought out a swampy area between Rush and Howe lakes, where we found ferns in abundance, including Dryopteris intermedia and a probable hybrid between it and Dryopteris carthusiana (which is actually itself a hybrid involving D. intermedia). Here is Rush Lake, and the swamp is pictured up at the top:

We found beautiful, lush plants of Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis), Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis), a horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum), and Dryopteris marginalis, pictured in order below.

And this is the Dryopteris hybrid:

We also found an exceptional fern that I've never seen before, Polystichum braunii, Braun's Holly Fern: 

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