Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Fall Fern Season!

Goldie's & Narrow Glade Ferns

We recently visited a special place on Mt Toby where we find these large and uncommon ferns together. Goldie's Wood Fern (Dryopteris goldiana) is the largest wood fern in our region, and the Narrow Glade Fern or formerly called Narrow-leaved Spleenwort (Homalosorus pycnocarpos) can grow just as tall, about chest high in places! They like moist rich woods & more neutral soils. They both have relatively late fiddlehead development, but are very distinctive when they come out.

In this photo, the Goldie's is in front. It is a very robust fern, broad as well as tall. The fertile and sterile fronds look the same.

The Narrow Glade Fern is in the back and are a little harder to see. Their fertile and sterile fronds are slightly different. The sterile fronds are a little wider and are arching in the midzone of the photo. The fertile fronds are taller and the pinnae much narrower, with a beautiful herringbone pattern of sori on the back. At one time they were in the same family as Lady Ferns because of the similarity of sori arrangement. Both fertile and sterile fronds are in this photo, easier to see in person!

The weather is getting colder and I am not looking forward to my dead ferns in winter studies. But most of the ferns are holding up well so far this year, so get out and enjoy them while you can!