Ferns are an ancient family of plants. They were growing on Earth 360 million years ago. They are older than land animals and even dinosaurs. You can find ferns growing on the trails at MABA and in damp woods near where you live. Ferns do not have flowers like other plants. They reproduce in a unique way, by tiny spores that are blown by the wind and carried by water. Ferns are at their peak in early summer when the part of the plant that produces the spores is most easy to see. This is the first in a series on recognizing ferns in the woods.
Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)
Cinnamon ferns grow in a circular vase-like form. The leaves grow to three feet or taller. The fertile leaves that hold the spores are green at first, soon turning to cinnamon- brown. The brown fertile leaf resembles a stick of cinnamon, thus the name Cinnamon fern.
Our guest blogger, Julianne Mehegan, is a wonderful friend of MABA, a birder and a naturalist.