11 Fern Species at the JBNR: June 2021

The Jim Baillie Nature Reserve is located about an hour’s drive north east of Toronto. Most of the property is a shaded red maple swamp – perfect for ferns.

I used two resources for this post: some photos from the Quebec Fern Guide by Fleurbec and some drawings from the Field Guide to the Ferns from the Peterson Field Guide series.

The easiest to identify is the Sensitive Fern which is a Once-cut fern.

Sensitive Fern
Sensitive Fern

This “sensitive” fern falls over in the first cold weather of fall.

Sensitive Fern

MYSTERY PLANT

I will identify it at the end of the post.

The next ferns are twice-cut ferns.

Crested Fern

These ferns grow straight up and are narrow in profile.

Crested Fern
Crested Fern
Crested Fern
Crested Fern (photo: Fleurbec)

Cinnamon Fern

The ferns that I photographed today do not yet show the “fertile frond” which is cinnamon-coloured.

Cinnamon Fern
Cinnamon Fern
Cinnamon Fern showing tiny cinnamon-coloured hair

Photo from Fleurbec:

Cinnamon Fern (photo: Fleurbec)

Ostrich Fern

Ostrich Fern is common in the Toronto area.

Ostrich Fern

Leaflets diminish in size and continue almost to the ground in Ostrich Fern.

ground end of Ostrich Fern showing leaf length diminishing.
Ostrich Fern

Long Beech Fern

Long Beech Fern
Long Beech Fern
Long Beech Fern

Marsh Fern

Marsh Fern
Marsh Fern

Finally the Lacy or Thrice-cut Ferns.

Spinulose and Intermediate Woodfern

Spinulose Woodfern
Intermediate Wood Fern

If you look at the lowest leaflets, you can see that the longest one is just next to the stalk in Spinulose.

Spinulose Wood Fern

If the 2nd leaflet is longer the species then becomes Intermediate Woodfern.

Intermediate Wood Fern

Marginal Fern

In Marginal Fern, the tips of the leaflets are arching upwards

Marginal Fern (phot: Fleurbec)

and fruitdots can be seen along the margins.

Marginal Fern

Oak Fern is divided into 3 segments:

Oak Fern
Oak Fern

Lady Fern is a rather large, showy and lacy-cut fern.

Lady Fern
Lady Fern

It is almost as common as Ostrich Fern.

MYSTERY PLANT

This foul-smelling plant likes damp, shaded areas: Skunk Cabbage

Skunk-cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

NATURE POETRY

Here is the fern’s frond, unfurling a gesture,
Like a conductor whose music will now be pause
And the one note of silence
To which the whole earth dances gravely – Ted Hughes 1930 – 1998

Miles Hearn

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