Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Fiddlehead Quiz

Can you identify this fern by its fiddleheads?

Hello all,

The unusual snow this morning allowed me to take some unusual photos of fiddleheads with snow. Do you know which fern these fiddleheads belong to? Their key characteristics still show through. This is a Lady Fern, a red-stemmed variety (native). Whether it has a green stem or the red, they have dark scattered scales on the stipe (lower stem) which you can see if you zoom in on the photo. The beautiful curling rachis (upper stem) looks like a string of beads at this point. Those "beads" are the little curled up new leaflets. Lady Ferns have other good characteristics for identification when they are mature, but these fiddleheads are reallly distinct. The scales remain from smallest fiddlehead to full sized fern.

Happy Mother's Day to you all, and hope you are all well. Maybe we will be allowed to hold a fern walk before the end of the season? In the meantime I plan to send out a couple emails a week, each highlighting a different fiddlehead in its current configuration. Most ferns I have seen still have some fiddleheads, although some are nearly entirely leafed out.