Ferns, Mosses, Lichen and Other Green Things

Primary Reference Resources:

"Audubon Field Guide to the Mid-Atlantic States" by Peter Alden and Brian Cassie

Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea): Light green fronds w/cinnamon sticks as the plant matures. Grows in open fields and meadows. Location: Dolly Sods, MNF, WV, Black Bird Knob Trail .

Spinulose Wood Fern (Dryopteris carthusiana): Very common. Grows to 30 inches in dense thickets. Found in moist forests and marshes. Location Gunpowder Loop Trail, MD.

Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron): Look for the distinctive dark red stem. Location: Jug Bay, Patuxent River, MD. Photo by Ken Clark.

Rattlesnake Fern (Botrychium virginianum): 20 inches. Frond divided into 3 leaflets. Fertile frond atop stalk. Location: Old Rag, SNP, VA. Photo by Ken Clark.


Maiden Hair Fern (Adiantum pedatum): Moist, dark forests, limestone rocks. Blue-green fronds with purple-black stalks. Location: Gunpowder South Trail, MD.

Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytoniana) : Grows in moist areas, bogs and swamps. Location: Moss-Hanne Tr, Black Moshannon State Park, PA.

Hay scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula): The fragrance from a field full of this fern tells you all you need to know about the origin of its name. Location: Roaring Plains, MNF, WV.

Thallose liverworts (possibly Lunularia cruciata): Bottom photo: showing a female gametophore in the top right, and numerous gemma cups
containing tissue that is dispersed by rain for asexual reproduction. Thought to be one of the first plants to migrate from the ocean to dry land. Location: Middle Patuxent River, Gorman area. Photo by Ken Clark.



Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis): Dies at first frost, hence its name. This one was found on the banks of Long Pond, Green Ridge SF, MD.

Braken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum): Large fern with single stalk arising from the ground with three fronds extending from the top. Each frond in turn as several sub-fronds. Location: BFT, PA.

Cut-leaved Grape Fern (Dissected Grape Fern)-
(Botrychium dissectum -  Sceptridium dissectum) :
Cut-leaved grape fern is variable in appearance. The plant to the right shows the lacy leaf margin that gives this fern its name, but some plants have smooth-edged leaves (left specimen). Photo by Ken Clark.

Click here for larger photo

British Soldiers (Cladonia cristatella): This really isn't a flower but a diminutive, colorful lichen usually growing on rocks with other species. This one was seen in Dolly Sods, MNF, WV.


Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis): Can grow quite tall. Has opposing yet alternating leaflets, dark stems. Tops of fronds have a "feathery" appearance. Grows near water. Several stands were found along Long Pond, Green Ridge SF, MD.

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina): Grows to 4 feet. Arches outwards. Found in clumps or thickets. Location: Lake Sherwood and Meadow Creek Trails, MNF, WV.

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides): Easy to spot in the winter since this is one of the few evergreen ferns in the region. Leathery pairs of leaflets on stout, woody stem. Leaflets of each pair are somewhat offset. Begins as an upright plant but tends to "lay down" with age. Used in Christmas decorations. Location: Bull Run Mountain Conservancy.


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