This week I went on a trip to the Stamm Woodlot where I had the opportunity to meet with a Waterloo Region Nature representative. The representative knows a lot about ferns and gave my class a guided tour of the woodlot. I came across twelve different species and learned a lot about identifying ferns.
This is the under-side of a Marginal Wood Fern, Dryopteris marginalis. The Marginal Wood Fern is an evergreen, twice divided fern, however, the key identification feature is the sori (spore dots). Unlike any other fern, the sori lie along the margins of the pinnules.
This is the lowest pinnae from an Evergreen Wood Fern, Dryopteris intermedia. The key feature for identifying this fern are the innermost pinnules on the lowest pinnae. The Evergreen Wood Fern is thrice divided and can be confused with the Spinulose Wood Fern. The asymmetrical pinnule arrangement on the lowest pinnae is what makes this fern easily identifiable.
The Sensitive Fern, Onoclea sensibilis. The fern is very distinct and is unlike other ferns. The pinnae are wider than most ferns, and is once divided. The name, Sensitive Fern, comes from the observation that the fronds die fast in the cold.
The Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum pedatum. There are no other ferns like this one in Ontario and is an easily identifiable fern. Unlike other ferns, the stalk is a dark purple and bends in the shape of a semi-circle.