Sensitive Fern

Native Ferns

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

Identification

This fern is part of the Wood Fern family (Dryopteridacaea). It earned its name from early settlers who noticed that the fern is very sensitive to frost. The fronds die off quickly with the first frost. The deciduous sterile fronds can be identified by their exceptional width; they can spread over 30cm wide and 60cm in height. The sterile fronds are light green, leathery, and almost triangular, while the fertile fronds are brown with upward pointing leaflets (pinnae) that turn dark brown at maturity. The rhizomes creep along the soil surface and are thick, brown, and spread extensively. In the spring, the fiddleheads emerge with a pale red colouring.

Habitat

The sensitive fern reproduces through spores and extensively vegetatively through the rhizomes, which often form thick stands.

Propagation

Sensitive ferns tolerate slightly acidic conditions and thrive in areas such as marshes, swamps, and thickets. Sensitive ferns are typically not found in fully forested areas. They are great for planting in natural gardens and to provide shade undercover.

Upcoming Events

Jul
3
Mon
9:00 am Becoming a Naturalist Week 1
Becoming a Naturalist Week 1
Jul 3 @ 9:00 am – Jul 7 @ 3:00 pm
This camp builds on the camper’s ability to encounter and describe the natural world. They will use journals, collecting equipment, and take part in many fun activities that will expand their understanding of how to
Jul
10
Mon
9:00 am Young Ecologists Week 1
Young Ecologists Week 1
Jul 10 @ 9:00 am – Jul 14 @ 3:00 pm
This camp will begin to introduce the campers to the amazing complexity of our native Acadian forests. They will dissect owl pellets, take part in forest restoration planning and plantings and develop their understanding of
Jul
15
Sat
2:00 pm Forest Restoration Workshop
Forest Restoration Workshop
Jul 15 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Forest Restoration Workshop @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
The Forest Restoration workshop offers alternatives to clear-cuts and plantations, and other ideas on how to improve the health of Island forests. It starts with a presentation in the Nature Centre and then participants will