FernsNothing in the plant world exceeds ferns for beauty and symmetry. Ferns have some ornamental value, and in some parts of the world are eaten or reputed to have medicinal value. Many are known to be toxic so ingesting any fern is not encouraged. Generally ferns serve aesthetic purposes and add to any trip in the outdoors.
There are 406 species, subspecies and varieties in 25 families in the U.S. and Canada, excluding Hawaii. About half of these families are found almost exclusively in the tropical and subtropical areas. About 50 species occur only in Florida. Ferns grow in nearly every habitat, but are less common in extremely dry areas or places that are subject for prolonged freezing temperatures. Thus ferns in the arctic, desert or grasslands are uncommon and are generally limited to appropriate microsites such as rock outcrops or stream sides.
This album may or may not help you identify some ferns. Photos alone can help identify some ferns, but many families are complex and separating some species by a photo is not possible. Some more difficult groups may form intermediate hybrids that make things even more difficult.
If you have nice fern photos, please consider adding them. Thanks.
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