Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Winter Ferns

Grape Fern in snow

The grape ferns look so delicate, but their sterile fronds are leathery and can overwinter. This dissected (or cut-leaf) grape fern (Sceptridium, dissectum) was photographed by Rob Cairl on January 4th at Mt. Toby. They often develop a bronze color in fall and winter. See our July news item to see an example from this summer.

We are planning on also highlighting some Fern Allies this winter, starting with the clubmoss family, Lycopodiaceae. They are common evergreen groundcovers, and more noticeable in winter in contrast with the snow. They have water-repellent properties and were formerly used for dusting powders. The spores were also used in fireworks as they ignite when placed in fire (S. Chadde, Northeast Ferns). So a fun group of plants to learn to identify this winter!

Enjoy the winter!

Janice and Randy