Finding Ferns

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Rattlesnake Fern (Botrypus virginianus) in the sun's spotlight (http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3520103). © K.P. McFarland

Rattlesnake Fern (Botrypus virginianus) in the sun’s spotlight. © K.P. McFarland

On Saturday, we took an iNaturalist Vermont walk with interns and citizen naturalists on a two-hour tour of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Led by VCE’s Kent McFarland and Park ecologist, Kyle Jones, the group was able to find 22 species of true ferns and document 17 of those with photos in iNaturalist Vermont, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life.

Naturalist examines Goldie's Fern closely. © K.P. McFarland

Naturalist examines Goldie’s Wood Fern closely. © K.P. McFarland

There are 36 species of true ferns known in the Park, out of the 65 species found in Vermont. Finding nearly two-thirds of the species in the Park in just a few hours was a lot of fun and incredibly helpful for comparing the identifications of each species. There are over 2.500 fern observations in iNaturalist Vermont now.

Perhaps Vermont’s most famous fern is the Green Mountain Maidenhair fern, which was formerly described in 1991. It is only known from about 7 places in northern Vermont and adjacent Quebec in rare serpentine soils, and has yet to be reported to iNaturalist Vermont.

From rare to common, there’s plenty to find and learn about Vermont’s ferns. Explore, find, photograph and share your observations with iNaturalist Vermont.

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