Ferns!

Along with the spring wildflowers, the ferns are now providing delight as they unfold in their typical fiddlehead arrangement. On our nature walks, people often ask if the fiddleheads we see in around here are the same ones that you can now sometimes buy in the store. The answer is no; that fern is the ostrich fern, which grows more in the Central Valley and farther north. All ferns unfold with a coil that resembles the curled end of a violin.

A friend once, enthused by the thought of eating fiddleheads, picked a pot full of the cinnamon fern, a species common in our wetlands and recognizable by the vaguely cinnamon-colored fuzz on the stems. Why he thought that would be good is hard to understand; indeed, he said it was like “eating a rug.”

No wild plants should be eaten unless you really are sure of the identification. Eating something that tastes like a rug could be the least of your problems!


Submitted by Lauren Brown. Photo by Jen Payne.


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