Foliage Friday: A Fern

Today is Friday the 13th. I took part 1 of my pathology boards earlier this week, and will take the second part on Sunday. My brain is fried, and I can’t wait for Sunday evening to come.

I went for a walk through Gamble Garden yesterday and decided that this is the plant I want to learn about:

The humble fern.

Ferns to me are the opposite of cacti. Whereas cacti make me feel hot, tired and thirsty, ferns make me feel cool and comfortable. Cacti say, “Stay away!” with their thorns. Ferns say, “Come and sit a while.”

Image from

I really like ferns, but I’ve never owned one ( as a houseplant) or intentionally bought one for a yard, and I don’t really know anything about ferns.

What I’ve learned for Foliage Friday is that ferns are a diverse group of non-flowering vascular plants. The reproduce via spores, rather than seeds, since they don’t have flowers or fruit. Spores are single cells found in clusters on the undersides of fern fronds. Ferns can also spread via underground rhizomes. The dreaded horsetail is actually a fern. The fern in the above photo is in the Dryopteris genus, more commonly known as Wood Ferns.

That’s your (very brief) foliage lesson for the day. Now back to human pathology.