Fiddle Dee Dee

A form of Polystichum

A form of Polystichum

Dryopteris  filix-mas

Dryopteris filix-mas

I have become increasingly fascinated by ferns and more and more seem to be finding their way into my garden.  I have many evergreen and wintergreen varieties but also many deciduous varieties and it is the emerging fronds at this time of year which I find quite magical.

The emerging fronds are called croziers or fiddleheads and I understand that in the States some varieties are eaten at this time of year.

Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern)

Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern)

However, when taking photographs of the croziers today I noticed that one of my ferns, Polystichum, has backwards or maybe upside down croziers.  If you look at the top photo you will see that the curl is completely the opposite way round to the others.

Onoclea sensibilis copper form

Onoclea sensibilis copper form

Noticing this peculiarity lead me to search out all the ferns with emerging fronds to see if there were any others and there aren’t in my small collection.

 

Does anyone know if there are many varieties which unfurl backwards?  I can’t find anything in my reference book.

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Fiddle Dee Dee

  1. In New Zealand we call an unfurling frond a koru – and we have one on the tail of Air New Zealand planes. Many greenstone (jade-Nephrite) carvings are in the shape of a koru. The Kiwi, silver fern and koru are symbolic for us in art, signage, and just being a New Zealander

  2. I have read too that fiddleheads can be eaten, but they need very careful cooking, I am not sure that I would try. I love the wonderful shapes as they unfurl. I can’t help with the backwards unfurling, I haven’t come across this, but will look more closely.

  3. Interesting question about the ferns unfolding but I think that they are just following a light source. Ferns have a gene which is light sensitive enabling them to live in shady areas and naturally they will grow towards a stronger light. The ones that you have pictured are more unfurled than the others and growing in the same direction so I think this explanation is entirely possible.

  4. I was just at a plant sale where they were selling an “upside down fern” that had the frondlets curving down from the center spine of the frond. No fiddleheads visible, however, and an internet search suggests not likely to be your left-handed fiddlehead. Perhaps it’s just further along in the unfurling process?

  5. That’s most observant of you Helen. Don’t have an answer to your question – it might be worth contacting the British Pteridological Society. Unfurling ferns always remind me of seahorses.

  6. I grow a lot of ferns and they will begin unfurling any moment. so now I will have to look more closely at them. My two favorites are Maidenhair (Adiantum pedaturm) and Fishbone fern (Dryopteris felix mas ‘Llinearis polydactyla’). I’ve been growing both for almost 20 years as they are hardy in my cold climate. Just discovered your blog via RDuck and am enchanted. I have also managed to get a clump of double bloodroot to grow so I loved seeing it in the exhibit.

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