Pioneer Valley Fern Society


Figuring out the fiddleheads as they emerge...

Hello all,

Things are certainly different this year, with the cold April and the pandemic. Hope you are all doing well. We have seen a lot more people at our favorite sites, people with kids and dogs escaping to the outdoors. We started looking for fiddleheads earlier than usual this year as a reason to be outside, and were pleasantly surprised at finding our first fiddleheads the end of March! Fragile fern was the first we saw at the early sites, then Christmas, Lady, Bulblet, Rattlesnake, Royal, Cinnamon... And the wildflowers are blooming and lovely at Chard Pond (Bloodroot, Dutchman's Breeches, Hepatica, Early Saxifrage, Trillium, Columbine soon). Probably starting at other warm sites as well. It is fun searching for and finding the fiddleheads and flowers.

I decided to start documenting the chronology of fiddleheads in our area this year. So far the dates for a particular fern differ depending on the site (how warm, sunny etc.), but the general order of arrival seems to be about the same. I have posted my list so far of first fiddleheads at various sites, and will continue to update it each week. You will find it on the PVFS webpage under Files & Presentations/fern lists or this link: /files/Chronological_List_of_Fiddleheads2020__032820_to_041920.pdf.

For those of you more interested in just seeing what the different fiddleheads look like, I have also posted pages of fiddlehead photos from different dates and places this year, 11 different ferns so far. They are on the PVFS website under Files & Presentations/fern photos or this link: /f/8/Fern-Photos-Selection . I attach a photo of one of my favorite fiddleheads, Royal Fern. I plan to update these photos weekly as well. We just saw lots of wonderful Blunt-lobed & Rusty Woodsias this week, so they will be in the next installment. We will also post some other flowering plants encountered on our fern walks, for those who might enjoy more than ferns.

We are sorry to have to cancel the Fiddleheads & Wildflowers Walk scheduled for this weekend. We hope we will still be able to do a few walks this season, but who knows.

We hope you are well and can get out and enjoy the wonderful spring season. If you see new fiddleheads or ferns, we would love to see a good photo or two of them. Or if you see some and you don't know what they are, you can email us a photo or two and we will try to figure it out. The better (clearer) the photo (showing whole plant) the more chance we can figure it out!

Best Wishes,

Janice & Randy