Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Ferns on Mt Toby Hike

Unusual Christmas Ferns

Tomorrow, Friday November 24th, is our post-Thanksgiving day fern hike at Mt Toby. We will be following the Robert Frost, Sugar Farms and Caves Trails, looking at winter ferns and trees. When we went out Tuesday we saw 16 ferns, about half were those that remain green through the winter. The winter ferns include the Evergreen and Marginal wood ferns, Christmas, Common Polypody, Ebony & Maidenhair Spleenworts and the Dissected Grape Ferns.

This photo is of one of the unusual Christmas ferns (Polystichum acrostichoides) we find along this hike. It has sharply cut and toothed leaflets that Cobb (A Field Guide to the Ferns, 1963) describes as Forma incisum. We also see some attractive Christmas Ferns with wavy leaflets similar to what he describes as Forma crispum. It is always fun to find something a little different. The more recent field guides do not seem to include any information on interesting variations in the leaflets. If you want to see a photo of some normal Christmas Ferns, check out the PVFS news article from 12/24/21.

We did a quick hike today along some trails in the area we are going tomorrow, and they were fine. The trails are good, but there are a few steep sections.

Hope to see some of you there! Friday November 24th 1-3PM. Meet at parking lot off Reservation Road, Sunderland. See poster attached to calendar listing for more details. If you can't make it, we wish you a good winter!