You may have noticed I’m fond of ferns

I don’t remember them being common in the woods when I was growing up in the Midwest, but I’ve become fond of them since. I even devoted years to developing a fern bed beside our “smoking garden” patio at our home in Dover. At least now we’re surrounded by fabulous ones in the wild here.

Oh, yes, I’ve finally tasted fiddleheads in the springtime and like their taste almost as much as asparagus.

Here some additional facts.

  1. They predate the dinosaurs. One variety, the cinnamon fern, looks the same today as it does in 70-million-year-old rock fossils.
  2. They don’t have flowers or seeds and don’t have leaves. Those lovely green fronds are actually branches fused in one plane.
  3. They reproduce via spores rather than seeds. Spoors usually look like small dots on the undersides of the fronds. A single plant can drop millions of spoors on the ground, but few find favorable conditions.
  4. Some species are parasites, growing not from the ground but on decaying tree trunks on the ground or in pockets overhead.
  5. Their roots descend from rhizomes, a below-the-soil, horizontal stem that can range from very thin and creeping to thick and stocky.
  6. Some plants survive up to 100 years.
  7. Bracken ferns can live without any sunlight.
  8. Most ferns are resistant to cold but many also thrive in tropical zones.
  9. They make lovely houseplants that require little care. They do, however, need higher humidity than is commonly available, especially when the furnace is running.
  10. They can remediate contaminated soil and remove some chemical pollutants from the air.


2 thoughts on “You may have noticed I’m fond of ferns

  1. Great blog post! I found it interesting to learn about the history and characteristics of ferns, and it was especially fascinating to learn that cinnamon ferns have remained the same in appearance for 70 million years! I’m curious, have you had any personal experience with using ferns for soil remediation or removing pollutants from the air?

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