Ferns Added to Miller Native Plant Trail

By Wilma Jozwiak

Fre­quent vis­i­tors to the Arbore­tum are already famil­iar with the Ed Miller Native Plant Trail, which includes almost all of the trees, shrubs, and vines native to New York State – more than 200 dis­tinct species.

Ed con­tin­u­al­ly adds to and enhances the Trail, often with the help of his sons and his friends. One spe­cial friend is Nan Williams, who has worked with Ed since the ear­ly days of the project. Nan is a mem­ber of the Arbore­tum, as well as the Thurs­day Nat­u­ral­ists of the Cap­i­tal Region and the Botan­i­cal Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca.

Soon after the spur trail was cut across the trail’s wet­land area in 2004, Nan sup­plied some wet­land ferns (ostrich, cin­na­mon, and roy­al) from her own prop­er­ty. Last year, Nan col­lab­o­rat­ed with Ed in pub­lish­ing Ferns of the Cap­i­tal Region: A Guide to Species Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, now avail­able at the Arbore­tum for pur­chase in hard­copy or in a .pdf for­mat free with Arbore­tum mem­ber­ship. While he and Nan were work­ing on the book­let, they dis­cov­ered a nucle­us of fern colonies already estab­lished on the hill­side and decid­ed that they would plant and label every species com­mon local­ly. Ed defines com­mon local­ly” as those ferns he has been able to find grow­ing nat­u­ral­ly in at least two places open to the pub­lic with­in 30 miles of the Cap­i­tal Region. Nan was able to find spec­i­mens of most of these on her family’s prop­er­ty. A few were pur­chased from nurs­eries, includ­ing a cou­ple that are rar­i­ties in this area, includ­ing male fern (Dry­opteris fil­ix-mas) and Braun’s hol­ly (Poly­stichum brau­nii) fern. Some species of wood ferns had already estab­lished them­selves nat­u­ral­ly on the hill­side, includ­ing inter­me­di­ate wood (ever­green) ferns and mar­gin­al ferns. There are now 30 species plant­ed on this addi­tion to the Native Plant Trail.

If you are intrigued and would like to see Ed and Nan’s hand­i­work for your­self, join Ed for a free walk­ing tour at 2 PM on both Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, May 16 and 17, at Lan­dis’ Spring Plant, Book and Bake Sale.

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Spring 2015

Volume 33 , Number 2

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