Ferns in Redwood State Park

This summer I went camping in Redwood National and State Parks to look for ferns! Many fern species grow well in damp and shaded redwood understory of northern California.

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I found several species of ferns that were new to me! The fern above is Blechnum spicant, which is a dimorphic fern, meaning that the fronds with and without spores have a different shape. The top picture shows a fertile frond (with spores) and the leaves in the bottom picture are all sterile fronds (without spores).


 

I also found Polypodium scouleri, which is a leathery polypody with large fuzzy sori (spore groups), pictured above. This species often grows as an epiphyte, meaning that it grows on the branches of a tree.


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Finally, I went to this beautiful place called “Fern Canyon,” near Prairie Creek State Park. The walls of this canyon are coated with ferns, mostly Adiantum aleuticum (Five-fingered Fern). There are naturally little trickles of water coming down the canyon walls, and the ferns thrive in this environment.


Of course, there are also many beautiful mushrooms that thrive in the redwood forest!


Photo credits: Helen Holmlund

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