Ferns have a way of holding onto bits of their color during even the coldest months. Not that the plants are actively growing then, but a lot of their aerial parts don’t totally die back in the winter.
In the Northeastern United States we experience four seasons and right now it’s still officially Winter. Yeah, it looks kind of bleak out there in nature, at least when you’re looking at the big picture.
A lot of the grass, and weeds!, in lawns and near roadways appeared light green to tan or brown before the big snow arrived. The green parts will reappear when the weather gets sunnier and warmer and that’s actually not too far away now that it’s March, which came in like a lamb here in Central PA.
Greens polka-dot the landscape where the pine trees and hemlocks and other evergreen trees grow, but zoom in a little bit and you can find more splotches of color.
Taking a walk in the woods you can find ferns holding on to their leaves from the past growing season.
At least three kinds of ferns share our piece of land with us. At this point I can only call them as I see them:
- Large fern found singly. Long arching leaves with rounded leaflets.
- Small upright fern. Few leaves in vertical arrangement. Leaflets twist up the stems.
- Medium size light green fern often found in mass groupings. Erect leaves with etched leaflets.
So, how do we tell what fern it is?