Fiddling about

April 27, 2018  •  Leave a Comment


Several days ago, when I was combing the local boulders for Virginia Rockbreaker blossoms, I noticed the first "fiddlehead," as the unfurling leaves of ferns are called. Named for the similarity to the tuning pegs of fiddles, guitars, banjos, and other stringed instruments, a fern emerges from the ground in a tight spiral and then, little by little, essentially unrolls. From a modest beginning, the fiddleheadization of the ground has quickly kicked into high gear and there are now future ferns uncoiling everywhere you look. The image is of Cinnamon-Ferns-to-be, and this common species will soon lose the protective "fur" and grow cinnamon-colored spikes filled with spores. Poets celebrating spring and the emergence of the growing season don't normally sing the praises of sporangia... but maybe they should start.


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