Maidens among us

June 19, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

 

I will walk a mile to spot a rarity... in fact, to see a rare fern, I'll walk at least a mile and a half. That's certainly the case with Maidenhair Fern—I'd walk two miles to see a Maiden—which is certainly rare in our area and is, as far as I'm concerned, one of the most beautiful plants in existence. Lacy, dark-stemmed, horseshoe-shaped, and delicate, Adiantum pedatum is a stunner, and because it only grows in the wild in soil that is much richer in calcium than is typical around here, there just isn't much of it in our forests. But I discovered one place fairly close, and as I trekked up the Blue-blazed Trail near Wyassup Lake, I knew just where to go and what to look for: the general shape and growth habit, along with its characteristic of rolling the edges of its leaves to hide its spore cases. I was distressed to see the several dozen Maidens being harassed by a variety of native, but aggressive, species trying to overrun its home, but for now, A. pedatum held its sweet-soil ground. Next trek, I think I'll bring clippers to ensure its presence.


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