Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

A common denizen of forested areas with rich, moist soil, the gracefully arching fronds of the Ostrich Fern typically grow in circular groups. Since this showy fern makes a desirable subject for shady areas of gardens it's easy to find some growing closer to home, for example, along the front porch of the Tweed Heritage Center.

The distinctive sterile fronds – these examples are about one meter in length – are widest close to their tops and thereafter briskly taper toward their tips.

The fertile fronds in mid-August.

Mature fertile fronds in mid-September.

A closer look at the lobed sterile pinnae; note that the veins extend to the margins and are not forked.

The stipe is deeply grooved toward its base, with the small pinnae near the bottom of the frond tending to clasp the stipe.