Nature Notes

Vol. XII August, 1934 No. 8

Deer Fern

Deer Fern

This fern is one of the most interesting in the park and in the matter of beauty ranks with the Sword Fern, which was described in the last issue of Nature Notes. One finds it in the deep woods growing in the moist, springy humus on the forest floor where its leathery vegetative fronds form a rosette pattern upon the ground. Standing erect, however, are the reproductive fronds - those that bear the spores - which are quite different in appearance from those of mere vegetative character. The large sketch on this page illustrates the appearance of a vegetative frond with the individual pinnae widest at the base - a character that will be readily noted. The small sketch illustrates the general apperance of the plant as one sees it in the woods. The individual vegetative fronds are about twice the length as that illustrated by the sketch.

In the winter these vegetative fronds may still be found as they are evergreen and it is said that deer and elk often find in these leaves a source of food when other vegetation is scarce during the long winter months.

In Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park this plant is found from the lower borders of the area to nearly 4500' and is most abundant up to 3000'. Along the Trail of the Shadows, near the Park Musuem, it grows in abundance and adds a verdant note to the beauty of this short nature trail. It is also one of the more common ferns of the Pacific Northwest and is found from Alaska to California on the west coast.

C. Frank Brockman
Park Naturalist.

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shooting star and star flower

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