Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Second Fern Walk of the Season

Chard Pond Sunday May 12th 1-3 PM

Celebrate Mother's Day with us at this beautiful location, observing some 20 wonderful ferns, including Rattlesnake, Fragile, Bulblet, Silvery Spleenwort, and Maidenhair Spleenwort. We will be focusing on the ferns, but the Columbine are in brilliant display right now too, and you can enjoy the flowers more after our hike!

The photo for today is one of the Rattlesnake Ferns at this site (Botrypus virginianus). They are in the Adder's Tongue Family (Ophioglossaceae), along with the Grape Ferns and Moonworts, These ferns don't form fiddleheads but rather the young shoot emerges bent over from the soil and slowly unfurls. When very young they look like palm trees during a hurricane. They are found in rich woods and are distinctive since they are tall, and the nearly horizontal triangular dissected blade or leaf arises from a single smooth stem. There are two suggestions for the common name. Cobb/Farnsworth/Lowe (2005) suggests that it is because the sporophore looks like the tip of a rattlesnake tail when first emerging. The sporophore is in the center of this photo. It looks similar to the sporophore of Grape ferns, but larger. A newer explanation of the name (Chadde, 2023) is that it comes from the reported use of the mashed roots by Indigenous people to treat bites of poisonous snakes.

There is a poster with info on the calendar page of our website.

Directions: Chard Pond is located on Falls Road in Sunderland, at the intersection with Gunn Cross Rd, one mile north of the intersection with Rt 47, north of Sunderland Center.

There is uneven and muddy ground in some areas. Be prepared for ticks and poison ivy. Moderate level hike.