Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Summer Ferns 2024

Red Lady Fern with Fiddlehead

It is almost officially summer, but the very warm weather we have had already has pushed me into summer mode. We see some ferns developing a little earlier than usual this year. But I am also happy to see fiddleheads continue to develop on many species. The photo here is the native red form of Lady Fern (Athyrium angustum), which has a beautiful deep red stem and fiddlehead. We saw it last week in VT. There is a cultivated red variety of Lady Fern which is sold commercially.

Although we may not be thinking much about fiddleheads any more, there are many ferns that are still developing them. I have recently seen fiddleheads on New York, Marsh, Royal, Narrow Beech, Sensitive, Rusty Woodsia, Ebony Spleenwort, Spinulose Wood Fern, Silvery Glade Fern, and of course the "late bloomers" Virginia and Netted Chain Ferns. They start to grow under or next to the mature fronds, and then pop through like this fiddlehead (this is the way we found it, no adjustment). It is impressive!

We have now posted our next Fern Walk, which will be 1-3 PM on Saturday June 22nd at a new site, the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary in Wales, MA. A beautiful place and really worth the drive! It is on my short list of favorite fern places to visit. See more description on our calendar page.