Friday, October 17, 2008

Sensitive Fern

Sensitive Fern, or Onoclea sensibilis, is called such because it is highly susceptible to frost. As soon as the weather cools, the above-ground parts turn color and whither. During this period, they add a rusty hue to the wet meadows where they are often found.

The Genus name, Onoclea, has a Greek origin. 'Onos' means vessel and 'kleio' means to close. This refers to the tightly-closed emergent fronds.

I see this plant all over upstate New York and Connecticut, and it is native in North America all the way to the Rocky Mountains. It almost always is growing in damp, spongy spots.

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