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

Sep
23
Sat
7:00 pm September Stargazing
September Stargazing
Sep 23 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Learn a little about the night sky and get to know a few constellations. This outing will teach some basics of astronomy and then head out into the dark for naked-eye stargazing. Begins at the
Oct
15
Sun
2:00 pm Autumn Walk in the Forest
Autumn Walk in the Forest
Oct 15 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Autumn Walk in the Forest @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Woodlands are wonderful places at any time of the year, but a forest in autumn is always special. There are still lots of birds around, the witch hazel is blooming, and many plants are showing