Maidenhair Fern (Manorome, 2014)

Ferns have been a part of our ecology since before the dinosaurs walked our earth (with the first fern fossil record from the early-carboniferous period, 358-298 million years ago) and can be found on almost every continent (except Antarctica). The numerous species of ferns we have present today are all descendants from one species that was able to out compete the emergence of flowering, seed bearing, plants. Their ability to live in the shadows of their competitors made them able to compete and be successful (their success in the shade depends on a protein called a neochrome which allows them to respond simultaneously to red and blue light in both the way that they grow and the way their photosynthetic elements organize themselves – most plants respond to only blue light (which has the most energy) but when the overarching plants have already used the majority of the blue light available, being able to respond to red light is important).

Because of their long and rich natural history, they have played a large role in various folklore and myths from around the globe and throughout time.

Maidenhair Fern is one very interesting species – it’s shape and appearance are truly unique with no other fern even closely resembling it and is one species of plant that is NOT grazed by White-tailed Deer, most likely due to the high toxicity of the plant.

This fern was once one of the most abundant in Southern Ontario, but has declined in the last couple of decades due to loss of appropriate habitat – preferring moist, rich deciduous forests. Here at Rondeau, the best place to see Maidenhair is on Spicebush Trail as it grows in large patches!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Memberships Available
Become a friend of Rondeau today...