The Fern Family

Part of the Native Plant Trail


Narrated by Ed Miller.

The Fern Family

Over the dozen or so years that I have been collecting woody plants for the native tree, shrub, and vine collection, I have on occasion bought, or have been given, ferns which I planted on the hillside coming to the Willow Pond from the wet habitat.

Recently, I collaborated with Nan Williams, who shares my interest in things botanical, to write a book Ferns of the Capital Region of New York. Recognizing that the real thing is worth a thousand words and pictures, Nan Williams has given the Arboretum additional species of ferns so that we now have nearly all the common, and some not so common, species of ferns of the Capital Region. My criterion for common was knowing at least two places where the species could be found on public land within forty miles of Colonie. In our book, we’ve encouraged readers to come to Landis Arboretum and see ferns up close. In our collection we’ve added plant labels but only one fern plant of each species is labeled. Without labels you can test your ability to recognize species, using information from field guides such as ours. Nan Williams’ fern collection was officially opened September 14, 2014 at the Fall Plant Sale. Some of the new additions have not yet taken hold but there are more than a dozen, maybe two dozen, species that are here. The reverse of the information sheet in the mailbox is a map indicating the location of each labeled fern. Ferns are beautiful, and relatively easy to identify, There are only a couple dozen common species in this area, and unlike wildflowers, they’re nearly all native.

Update to audio recording: With donations from generous friends of the Arboretum, the collection has continued to grow to over thirty species and can now rightfully be called a Fern Glen. In addition, our battle with overflow from the Willow Pond has now been corrected.