We were driving the back country earlier in the week and I remembered a place that had lots of fern along both sides of the road which follows a small creek at the bottom of a narrow valley. The place where we stopped was populated by a number of magnificent hemlocks; it was dark, quite cool, and wet. I asked my plant-ecologist-wife why ferns were so abundant in this particular place – she pointed out that the microenvironment was just right for ferns and that among all of the understory plants available to the overabundant deer population, ferns were the least palatable. Just so … I’ve always found these primitive plants to be a delight to look at.

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