Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ebony Spleenwort

I recently heard from Cindy of Lake of the Ozarks Chapter who told me about another MN Blog written by one of their members.  Sandy Nelson is writing Ozark Naturalist's Journal at She has a gift for photography and has some great pictures of lichen this posting.  You will now find her Blog link to the right column of this page.
The third posting down was on Ebony Spleenwort with a nice set of pictures showing them nestled in between snow and crustose lichen.  I had seen this fern up on our hillside and could never figure why a green leafed fern was called ebony which is a dark brown, nearly black, wood.  Sandy answers this for me in her picture- it is the stem, called a rachis, that gives it the ebony name.
It is very tolerant of many conditions and can grow on rocks, which best describes my "soil" in the hills.  This is a good time of year to find it and its fern cousins as there isn't a lot of colorful competition on the hillsides at present.  Go to her site at  to learn more.

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