Fern Power!

The Wood Ferns are beginning to stretch open, reaching their blue-green fists to the sky as if they are making a stand for Fern Power.  Maybe I should be using another common name for this fern: “Spiny” Wood Fern.  I dropped that because the name frightened people, and there is nothing spiny about it, as far as I can tell.  Maybe its attitude.  “Fern Power!”

 The Wood Fern (Dryopteris expansa) grows big, as big as a Sword Fern, and tolerates fairly dry shade.  It is easy to confuse with the Lady Fern, but it tends to be a deeper, bluer green, and the fronds are triangular, with no frondlets on the lower part of the stem.  It also stays green through most of the winter.  It grows in a clump like Lady and Sword Ferns.  In the forest, you often see it beside Sword Ferns, though perhaps up on a rotting log where it won’t be out-competed by the Sword Fern.  Vine Maple, Western Hemlock, Salal and Cascade Oregon Grape are other companion plants.

 Fern Power.  Ponder the power of a fern, or a forest of ferns and their friends. The calm that settles over your soul when you put yourself in their power soothes and strengthens.  The Wood Ferns unfold their fists and open themselves to light and breeze.