Sensitive Fern


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
15
Sun
1:00 pm Fourth Annual Festival of Forests
Fourth Annual Festival of Forests
Sep 15 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Our Fourth Annual Festival of Forests will be a family-friendly event, with children’s activities, guided walks, food and micro-workshops. This will be a great opportunity to explore the wonders of the Acadian Forest.
Sep
21
Sat
7:00 pm September Stargazing
September Stargazing
Sep 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Learn about the night sky and get to know some constellations. This outing will teach some basics of astronomy and then head out into the dark for naked-eye stargazing
Oct
13
Sun
2:00 pm Autumn in the Forest
Autumn in the Forest
Oct 13 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
A walk along the trails of Macphail Woods, looking at both plants and animals. This is a great outing for people of all ages.

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