Fern ID: Eastern Hay-scented Fern

Photo of Eastern Hay-scented Fern crosier

In late April, I noticed the emergence of a large roadside colony of the above hairy crosiers (a fancy word for fern fiddleheads). Six weeks later, the mostly bare ground had transformed into a crowded mass of arching Eastern Hay-scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) fronds.

Photo of Eastern Hay-scented Fern colony

As the crosiers suggest, this roughly 2' tall, widespread fern has numerous glandular hairs on both stem and leaf.   Look for this delicate species growing in dense patches in forests, fields, and along roadsides throughout New England.

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