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.
This “sensitive” fern falls over in the first cold weather of fall.
I will identify it at the end of the post.
The next ferns are twice-cut ferns.
These ferns grow straight up and are narrow in profile.
The ferns that I photographed today do not yet show the “fertile frond” which is cinnamon-coloured.
Photo from Fleurbec:
Ostrich Fern is common in the Toronto area.
Leaflets diminish in size and continue almost to the ground in Ostrich Fern.
Long Beech Fern
Finally the Lacy or Thrice-cut Ferns.
Spinulose and Intermediate Woodfern
If you look at the lowest leaflets, you can see that the longest one is just next to the stalk in Spinulose.
If the 2nd leaflet is longer the species then becomes Intermediate Woodfern.
In Marginal Fern, the tips of the leaflets are arching upwards
and fruitdots can be seen along the margins.
Oak Fern is divided into 3 segments:
Lady Fern is a rather large, showy and lacy-cut fern.
It is almost as common as Ostrich Fern.
This foul-smelling plant likes damp, shaded areas: Skunk Cabbage
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