Ferns and mosses of the Happy Valley Forest

The Christmas fern, green against dead leaves in the fall (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

The Christmas fern, green against dead leaves in the fall (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

December 23, 2015 | by Dr Henry Barnett

The Happy Valley Forest is home to a large number of common and uncommon ferns (my daughter Ann Love has records of 18 fern species in this forest area). The Christmas fern is very common in the forest and at its edges. It retains its green chlorophyll colouration through the winter including Christmastime, hence its name; it gives us green ferns in the snow.

Edible ostrich fern fiddleheads (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

Edible ostrich fern fiddleheads (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

The ostrich fern occurs in several damp and wet spots and produces a crop of new growth of ferns, which have been dubbed fiddle heads displayed here. Our family always watch for their arrival in early spring as they are plentiful and make easy picking and good eating.

Maidenhair fern (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

Maidenhair fern (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

Maidenhair fern is an attractive species but is becoming uncommon, possibly being too eagerly sought as a domestic plant renowned for its particular beauty.

The rattlesnake fern is quite common. On the edges of the forest, the hay-scented fern is the least common but distinctive. The ground pine looks like, and commonly is mistaken for, a fern but is a clubmoss.

Ferns found in Happy Valley Forest area and known to Ann Love and myself are:

  1. hay-scented fern
  2. Goldie’s fern
  3. cliff brake fern
  4. crested fern
  5. wood fern
  6. bracken (fern)
  7. sensitive fern
  8. ostrich fern
  9. Christmas fern
  10. grape fern
  11. cinnamon fern
  12. interrupted fern
  13. New York fern
  14. oak fern
  15. rattlesnake fern
  16. marginal wood fern
  17. maidenhair fern
  18. bladder bulblet fern

This is the 13th in a series of blog posts Dr. Barnett will be contributing to Land Lines in the next few months.

Dr Henry Barnett and his son, Ian (Photo courtesy of Ian Barnett)

About the Author

Dr Henry Barnett Dr. Henry “Barney” Barnett obtained his Medical Degree from the University of Toronto in 1944. After obtaining specialty qualifications in Neurology at the Toronto General Hospital, he moved to Oxford to further his research training. He returned to Canada to enjoy an outstanding career in investigative medicine in Toronto and London. Dr Barnett is the author of hundreds of original publications and co-authored the authoritative textbook, Stroke: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis and Management. Along with Dr. Charles Drake, Dr. Barnett was the founding Chief of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at University Hospital (London) and The University of Western Ontario in 1974. Between 1984 and 1992 he served as the founding President and Scientific Director of the John P. Robarts Research Institute in London. Late in his career, Dr. Barnett headed up the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial, the largest National Institute of Health (NIH) supported trial outside of the U.S. Dr. Barnett is best known for directing many of the most important large multi-centered clinical trials in stroke; including the first randomized trial to show that aspirin prevents stroke. Supported by the NIH of the United States, Dr. Barnett showed that a then widely used surgical treatment for stroke patients involving carotid artery bypass was less effective than good medical treatment.

Read more about Dr Henry Barnett.

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