Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Summer of Ferns

Great excuse for a hike!

There are a lot of great things about summer, but the abundance of new vibrant ferns is certainly one of them for us. Exploring for ferns is always a good excuse for a hike, no matter the weather!

We have several different events on our calendar for July, but will decide soon on a date for our next free public one. The Learn Your Ferns at Fitzgerald Lake has been postponed from tomorrow (Saturday) to Saturday July 15th because of the prediction of thunderstorms. That is free, but they would like you to just register with them first. A much shorter list of ferns than our usual hikes, so if you want to learn or brush up on the common native ferns at a new place, consider joining us there. Other events sponsored by Native Plant Trust and MA Association of Conservation Commissions do require registration and a fee.

The photo this week is of the Netted Chain Fern (Woodwardia areolata). At first you might see a resemblance to Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis), but the fertile frond (old one on the right in this photo) is very different, looking more like a skinny form of the sterile fronds.They also have really beautiful net-like veins on the back, and the pinnae have wavy edges and are finely toothed. The fronds also look glossier than Sensitive ferns. They grow in mucky wetlands (sometimes with Sensitive ferns), as well as acidic bogs. Keep your eyes open for these. Although they are listed in almost every county in MA, we seldom see them.