Sunday, August 2, 2009

Low level attractions

When out searching for weeds we are either scanning the horizon for passionfruit creeping through surrounding treetops or looking down at the ground for seedlings. While at ground level I have been appreciating the beauty of some of the islands ferns, mosses and fungi. Some of the species found here may be known to North Islanders but are not found in our colder corner of the South Island.
My favourites are the many varieties of Maidenhair fern. In bush clearings and under the cliffs these ferns provide a fabulous display of lush green.
Rosy maidenhair (Adiantum hispidulum)
Another favourite is the rather unusual Fork fern. These plants do not look like ferns, are very primitive and may even predate the dinosaurs. They are unusual as they have no true root system. The sporangia fuse in groups of two or three and as they mature to yellow, so they look quite striking.
Fork fern (Psilotum nudum)
Clambering over logs in the gullies we often stop to admire the mosses and fungi.

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