FERN: Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Native mostly in the northern half of the Mid-Atlantic Region, Ostrich Fern is indigenous in only three places in Virginia, including along the Potomac River in Arlington and Fairfax counties. It requires a large landscape to show off to full advantage its long, finely dissected fronds, suggestive of ostrich plumes. Learn more . . .

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Garden Musings: Unexpected Gift

Outside my early morning window on the world
“A dust of snow” *
But no.

I look closely and see
Hundreds of tiny interconnected crystals of ice.

Spread lightly across the little deck they become
A light-filled crystalline coverlet.

The temperature is already rising,
And the azalea holds (for how long who knows)
Shiny light-capturing frozen pendant droplets
At the end of every leaf.

Azalea in fancy dress, rhinestones glittering –
This morning’s unwrapped gift.

* “Dust of Snow” is the title of a poem by Robert Frost.

~ Judy Funderburk


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Word of the Week: Crosier

crosier, crozier [ kroh-zher ] noun: the curled top of a young fern frond, also commonly referred to as a fiddlehead

 

The crosiers/fiddleheads of Osmundastrum cinnamomeum (cinnamon fern) emerge with a woolly covering in spring. Photo © Mary Free

When the frond (leaf) of a fern emerges from its underground rhizome, its head is coiled (circinate). Its appearance has been likened to a crosier (a bishop’s curved staff) or the scroll on the head of some stringed instruments, hence the commonly used term fiddlehead. Fiddlehead also refers specifically to a young coiled fern frond that is edible and eaten as a vegetable.

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GRASS: Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Once the dominant species of the North American tallgrass prairie, this warm-season grass is noted for the open, airy appearance of its seed heads and the multi-season interest of its foliage.  In addition to its use as an ornamental, Switchgrass is also utilized for soil conservation and as a biomass crop. Learn more . . .

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