METROPOLITAN NATURALIST
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SOME FERNS AND OTHER SPORING PLANTS OF THE BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON
METRO AREA
This is an unidentified fern growing from the side of a bridge at Gunpowder Falls
State Park.



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Fiddleheads

Fern fronds are seen here starting
to unfurl in the spring. These
unopened fronds are called
"Fiddleheads".


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Running Pine

Running Pine grows on shaded forest floors, often forming large mats. The
running pine gets it's name from the "runners", roots that run just below the
surface of the soil. New plants sprout from the runners. These plants are
evergreens, staying green all winter.

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Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)

This fern is easily recognized by the circular shape of the fronds, growing
outward like a fan. This fern is found in shady damp woods and is also grown as
an ornamental in shaded gardens.

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Moss

Mosses, or Bryophytes, typically grow in mats on damp soil or wood. Like the
ferns they produce spores, rather than seeds, for propagation. There are about
10,000 species of moss.






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Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

A distinctive fern often found growing in wet areas. The name of the Sensitive
Fern is said to come from its sensitivity to cold, dying back with the first frost.
Also called Beaded Fern from the appearance of the fertile fronds, which have
bead-like sori, the spore producing bodies.
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Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Unlike the Sensitive Fern, above, which dies back
at the first frost, the Christmas Fern is an
evergreen, staying green all winter. It is called the
Christmas Fern because the leaves are still green
at Christmas time. This is one of our most common
ferns.


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