Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Fiddlehead Focus

Fiddleheads are developing quickly now!

With all the rain we have been having, the fiddleheads are bountiful and some are already emerging into fronds. Randy & I have been going out pretty much every day for the past two weeks, checking on these changes. What new fiddleheads have come up? Which ones have become fronds already? The Ostrich ferns went from very small fiddleheads to early fronds in a couple of days this year. We love to take photos of them in their various stages. It is an exciting time of year!

On Wednesday this week we visited North Mountain Rd, where there are many different fern species, lots of fiddleheads, and lovely spring wildflowers. Attached is a photo Randy took of one of the cool things we saw that day, and have seen elsewhere as well. As the fiddleheads of the Evergreen Wood Fern (Dryopteris intermedia) unfurl they form a lyre shape near the top of the fiddlehead. The Marginal and other wood ferns do not have this particular feature, which makes it a nice additional way to tell the Evergreen Wood Fern apart. The little white dots you see in the photo are the sori or fruit dots developing on the underside of the emerging pinnae or leaflets. Imagine all the energy it must take to create & grow such perfect tiny little fiddleheads, with all they need to develop into full fronds, including the sori.

We hope you can get out and enjoy the joys of Spring. Thanks for all who came to the Fern Walk at Mt Toby last Sunday. Our next Fern Walk is on May 14th (Mother's Day) at Chard Pond in Sunderland from 1-3 PM. We hope you can join us. Lots of great ferns, fiddleheads and wildflowers! See the calendar listing for details. Free. Rain cancels.