Tag Archives: fern

Sword Fern – Photo Wednesday

End of the winter on the Southern Gulf Islands of BC…

Sword fern (Polystichum munitum), end of winter and dried up

Here is a shot of the Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum), all dried up and curled up, in winter mode. New fronds are issuing form the ground.  According to traditional teachings, in the spring, when no other food source was available, its roots were a food item for various First nations tribes of the West Coast of North America. Roasted and peeled, the roots were eaten… like potatoes, I guess.
I like its elegant lines.

Bracken Fern: Dangerous Beauty…

I love the look of bracken ferns. I have been photographing them ever since I got here, especially in the fall, when they start to brown progressively and die back. They are deciduous, and return with fresh vigour in the spring…
Bracken Fern, Fall

However, after reading a Wiki article abrout bracken ferns (Pteridium aquilinum), I will admire them from a distance, and certainly do not plan to ingest any. Apparently, they contain a carcinogenic compound – ptaquiloside or PTQ – which causes higher incidences of oesophagal and stomach cancers. An article in the Guardian describes research done on water contaminated by large concentrations of bracken ferns in some areas. Food for thought.

Bracken Fern, Starting to brown in late fall