January 08, 2011

Fertile fronds

I braved the elements today and snapped a few shots of Fiddlehead Fern fertile fronds. (That’s a tongue-twister!)

They look prehistoric, and I guess they are. Various sources list Fiddleheads as flourishing on earth 300 million years ago.

The fertile fronds look a little messy, but they’re interesting. So I leave them standing through the winter and usually clip them in the spring. They hold spores, which can be propagated for new plants. But I have enough ferns and don’t want them to spread, so I compost them in the woods.

Here are two excellent, very detailed articles about Fiddlehead Ferns:


  1. Those are pretty weird looking but that's what makes them so cool! Do you ever eat the new shoots?

  2. Hi Beth, I also grow fiddlehead ferns and I have some fertile fronds that provide winter interest in the garden. Thank you for the two links you've provided. Like you, I have no intention of propagating from spores but the informations and pictures are very interesting. Cool post!

  3. Hi Beth! I see why you leave these fronds to stand in your garden! I love ferns and have several types of them. Our native fern is a Sword fern. It is still green! Thank you for your article and the links! have a healthy and happy 2011!

  4. @TS: I haven't tried the new shoots. I'm not brave enough. Maybe I will one of these years.
    @Lily: Thanks! I'd love to see pictures of the Fiddleheads from your garden this spring! Are you getting anxious like I am?
    @Tatyana: I'll have to do some research on the Sword Fern. Happy New Year to you, too!

  5. Nice shot. Never see this fern freezed in cold whether. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I've always wanted to get edible ferns going in my garden so that I could eat the fiddleheads in the spring. The years I attempted it were pretty drought-heavy so I didn't have much success. Maybe I'll try again this year!

    I love the frond photos, they look neat in the winter!

  7. Those look really cool in the winter landscape. I have a few ferns that came with the house (when I bought it). I have no idea of their name but they don't stand erect like your fiddleheads. At least they are hardy and come back every spring, right?!

  8. So glad I found your blog. Great winter architecture for this tongue twisting fern.

  9. @Orchid: Thanks!
    @Eliza: I'm hesitant to try them, even though people say you can. Maybe this will be the year.
    @Kathleen: Yes, all ferns are enjoyable! The Fiddleheads were here when I moved in, too.
    @Laura: Thanks! It's fun to compare gardening notes with you.

  10. Oh for certain they are a focal point. Never a boring moment in the garden. Your photography is excellent too. Very nice website. I faved you on FB.

  11. Thanks, Anna! I'd love to get involved in your new project. Just let me know how I can help.

  12. Have these in my garden...love them. You provided some great information in your links. So cool that they are prehistoric!

  13. Meredehuit: Thanks! Have you tasted the Fiddleheads?


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