Friday, May 3, 2013

Plant of the Day: A Small Native Fern


Today is the first day of a new feature here at A Charlotte Garden—the Plant of the Day. I would rather call it something else, but "Plant of the Day" is descriptive: I will post a picture a day (I'll shoot for at least 3 or 4 a week) of a plant that catches my eye, or that has some quality I think you might enjoy seeing. If you have any ideas for a creative re-naming, please send them my way!

The Plant of the Day will not usually come with lots of words, or even any. I will only post photos that were taken by me on the day of posting, or within a day or two before, and no more than three photos will appear on any one post. I like rules—especially when I make them—even if I sometimes break them. ;) If there are any particular plants you want to see, tell me, and I'll try to oblige.


First up is Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron). These are small native ferns, in this case, growing in my backyard. I've been looking for them, hoping they would return, and just this week I found them again. There have always been a couple of fronds growing underneath a particular dogwood tree in my woodsy backyard, but some years there are more than others.


No other native fern (common to the Piedmont) really looks like ebony spleenwort, so it's pretty easy to identify. The fronds are narrow (about an inch wide), and taper at both ends. The rachis, which is the part of the frond that is analogous to the midrib of a leaf, is very dark, almost black. I don't know if it's a particularly good ID character, but the mature fronds are usually nearly vertical, or quite perpendicular to the ground.

There's a native clumping grass in the picture as well, Poverty Oat Grass (Danthonia spicata), so a it's a native twofer on this first "Plant of the Day" day! Just ignore the periwinkle (Vinca minor), which has quite the healthy appetite for territory and no good manners where sharing resources is concerned.

~*~

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