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Mystery Fern

Posted on May 17, 2014

Earlier this week while we were surveying a potential property for the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, we came across this interesting fern. Any idea of what it is? I’ll give you a hint, it is named after a bird since the fertile and sterile fronds looks very similar to the feather plumes of this particular species.

Ostrich Fern

This particular fern has strongly dimorphic fronds. The spore bearing fertile fronds are depicted on the left, while the vegetative sterile fronds are on the right.

Give up already? It’s Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), a terrestrial fern relatively common to the area’s floodplains and rich woods.