Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Green on green

with 28 comments

Southern Shield Fern Fiddlehead 3469

This green-on-green photograph shows the fiddlehead formed by the new leaf of a western shield fern, Thelypteris kunthii, that I found at the damp base of a little cliff in Great Hills Park on May 6.

To see the places in the southeastern United States where this lovely fern grows, you can check out the state-clickable map at the USDA.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 20, 2013 at 6:22 AM

28 Responses

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  1. Simply beautiful.

    Lisa Vankula-Donovan

    May 20, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    • It is, and I’d seen photographs of fiddleheads before, but I don’t recall seeing one so clearly in person till that morning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2013 at 8:18 AM

  2. Beautiful shot as usual Steve but I especially like the way you copyrighted it :0)

    Tina Schell

    May 20, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    • I guess those of us who post pictures online are more aware than most people of the way a copyright notice appears. Some pictures make me ponder where to put my copyright notice, and in a case like this I decided to go with the flow of the image. It’s good of you to have noticed and commented.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2013 at 8:25 AM

      • Ha! Hadn’t noticed the copyright. Clever!

        Lisa Vankula-Donovan

        May 20, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      • I blame this tiny iPhone, lol.

        Lisa Vankula-Donovan

        May 20, 2013 at 8:40 AM

  3. The unfurling of ferns is really very special. beautiful image


    May 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

  4. Excellent shot, Steve. A simple uncluttered composition but with impact! Nicely done!!

  5. Such gorgeous intricacy & incredible color tone! Love it!


    May 20, 2013 at 7:26 PM

  6. A truly fantastic photo, well done. The color and detail are quite special.

  7. OOOOoooo delight!


    May 21, 2013 at 6:07 AM

  8. I love this image. It’s a pattern seen often in nature. Thanks for the reminder of how wonderful it is.


    May 21, 2013 at 6:14 AM

  9. Very cool shot!

    Brian Comeau

    May 21, 2013 at 7:45 PM

  10. I just adore this capture and its detail, and unfurling ferns in general…. As you say the spiral imagery in nature is just lovely.


    May 21, 2013 at 9:43 PM

  11. As you’ve said, mathematics have their own kind of poetry and beauty; in flora and fauna, I can actually appreciate that reality even as a complete math-phobe. The growth patterns in such things as a lovely fiddlehead touch on those parts of the Golden Mean and Fibonacci sequences and such things in ways that I can relish as much, I think, as someone who *does* understand the true mathematics behind them.


    May 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    • I can’t read musical notation and I know almost nothing about music theory, but I can intuitively appreciate great music, so we’re in similar positions.

      I wish schools did more to make clear the magic of mathematics, but that seems highly unlikely when our schools can’t even assure that kids who are given high school diplomas know how to do what used to be called elementary school arithmetic. Sorry for the incipient rant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2013 at 6:25 PM

      • Not to worry: I am entirely on board with the desire to see schools find better and more engaging ways to teach all sorts of things. But between my being what I would classify as a well-meaning yet mediocre teacher (the main reason I stopped teaching!) and before that, a frustrated dyslexic student who had to learn the hard way that it was best to agree with the way teachers told me I should do things and then do them my own way when they weren’t looking–clearly, I am not the person destined to reform educational systems!! 🙂 But feel free to rant away; I agree.


        May 24, 2013 at 3:44 PM

  12. My goodness – it’s an “embryonic” fern. Look how closely the interior portion resembles a human embryo. I can’t get over how often one form in nature resembles another. The proof of Muir’s thesis that everything is connected lies less in argument than observation. Or so it seems to me.


    May 22, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    • That’s a good and imaginative description: an embryonic fern. I’ve noticed other harmonies in nature but I hadn’t made the connection between the inner part of the fern spiral and an embryo, so thanks for pointing it out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2013 at 10:54 PM

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