Saturday, January 30, 2010

Walking Fern in Winter

I took a quick walk around Skidmore Woods today, just to get out in the sun and fresh air for an hour. And I do mean fresh! Maybe 12 degrees by early afternoon, after a 12-below-zero night. Brrrr! In this bitter cold, I didn't expect to find much green out there (except for the conifers), so a swath of leafy green like this patch of Walking Fern really stood out. For all its toughness for enduring hard winters, this quite un-fernlike fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum) has become quite rare in most northeastern states and Canada and is now protected as "exploitably vulnerable" in New York State. So I feel pretty pleased that I know where two discrete patches grow, about ten miles apart. And I was happy to see it looking so well, peeking out of the snow, snug on its moss-covered boulder.

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