Fern Sampler

On Saturday, I visited the Peter Desrochers Country Knolls Memorial Trails in the Town of Clifton Park to continue my wildflower inventory along those trails.  The day’s hot sun and humid air sapped my energy, but not my desire.  I simply slowly ambled along the shaded trails in search of more species.

In doing so, I came across several ferns.  Here is a sampler of the ones I observed –

Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)

Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)

NOTE:  People of several American Indian nations were known to have used this plant in a variety of medicinal applications for treatment of a wide variety of ailments.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

NOTE:  People of several American Indian nations were known to have used this plant in a variety of medicinal applications for treatment of a wide variety of ailments.

Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) – Its name is derived from the color of its fertile frond when it is sexually mature.

NOTE:  The Cherokee and the Iroquois were known to have used this plant in a decoction for treatment of rheumatism and joint pain.

Intermediate Wood Fern (Dryopteris intermedia)

Intermediate Wood Fern (Dryopteris intermedia)

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

NOTE:  People of several American Indian nations were known to have used this plant in a decoction or in an infusion for treatment of a wide variety of ailments of women.

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

NOTE:  The Iroquois were known to have used this plant for treatment of a wide variety of ailments.

Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytoniana)

Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytoniana) – It derives its name from the brown fertile leaflets that “interrupt” the green sterile leaflets along the larger fronds.

NOTE:  The Iroquois were known to have used this plant in a decoction for treatment of a few ailments.

Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum)

Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum)

NOTE:  The fiddlehead stage of this fern is one of my favorite wild edible plants.  When briefly cooked, the flavor resembles that of mild asparagus.  I urge you to cook them before eating them, however, because (according to page 232 of “A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants,” by Lee Peterson) the raw plant contains an enzyme that destroys vitamin B-1 (thiamine).

Happy trails!

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