Pioneer Valley Fern Society

A Wonderful Season for Fern Lovers!

The Moonworts are Emerging!

Recent weeks have been exciting with our variable weather and watching the ferns emerge and develop. Every day there are new developments! We were thrilled to see a bumper crop of Moonworts just popping up out of the leaves on the ground on our hike today. The rain and warmer weather seem to have coaxed them out. Most are still tiny at our special spot, generally less than 2.5 inches tall so far.

Randy took this photo of a Daisyleaf Moonwort (Botrychium matricariifolium) today. According to various sources, the common name refers to the simularity of the sterile leaf to the leaves of chamomile in the Daisy family. The fertile sporophore portion of the frond is developing into a lovely cluster of grape-like sporangia. The Moonworts are in the same genus (Botrychium) as Rattlesnake Ferns, and the same Adder's Tongue Family as Grape Ferns and Adder's Tongue. A lot of unusual looking ferns in this family!

The Daisyleaf Moonwort is considered present in all the New England states and native down to the Carolinas and west to Minnesota and the Dakotas. Yet it is a real treat when we get to see it. Be on the lookout for them in rich forests, fields and meadows. And let us know if you find any. That is always a special treat!