Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Maidenhair ferns withstanding ice

with 18 comments

Maidenhair ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris), which thrive in places where the banks of Great Hills Park’s main creek form cliffs, go dormant in droughts but seem to have held up pretty well to the rare ice and snow that descended on us in mid-February. You’ll see some of those ferns protruding from the ice in each of the first picture’s three tiers, and you get a better look in the close-up below, both taken on February 20th.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 7, 2021 at 4:40 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , , ,

18 Responses

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  1. I really like the trio of ferns in the right half of the second photo. The color difference is appealing, and even the damage to the uppermost frond adds to the overall effect. I just learned that the genus name is derived from adíanton, “unwetted”, and that it refers to the fronds’ ability to shed water without becoming wet. Apparently they can shake off frozen water, too.


    March 7, 2021 at 6:31 AM

    • I appreciate your research. I didn’t know the Greek origins of Adiantum and therefore never would have guessed that the initial a is the same as the negative one in apolitical and asymptomatic. Your liking of the three ferns in the right half mostly coincides with another version in which I cropped off the whole left half and the rightmost fern to make a vertical composition.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 7, 2021 at 9:02 AM

  2. Shows just how determined plants are to survive! (Though I was never able to keep them long as houseplants.)

    Ann Mackay

    March 7, 2021 at 7:08 AM

    • That implies a difference, at least for some plants, between growing in the wild and in a house. Some prove themselves able to do both.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 7, 2021 at 9:12 AM

  3. Not merely withstanding, Steve. I think they are standing up to the occasion and are flaunting what they’ve got (even if they might be shivering slightly).


    March 7, 2021 at 3:40 PM

    • Your focus on “withstanding” (transforming it to “flaunting”) reminded me of Anglo-Saxon. In particular, a poem called “The Wanderer” includes this line: “Ne mæg werig mod wyrde wiðstondan…,” which Siân Echard has translated as “The man weary in spirit cannot withstand fate….” Ferns aside, I’m much relieved that we were able to withstand the winter onslaught without electricity and heat.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 7, 2021 at 4:23 PM

      • I can relate to the statement about “the (wo)man weary in spirit,” more than I would like, Steve. A flagging spirit seems to be a pandemic of itself.
        But I share your relief about having withstood winter’s less-than-beneficent side.


        March 7, 2021 at 4:42 PM

        • And another bit of relief: we both finally and happily got our first dose of vaccine yesterday.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 7, 2021 at 6:48 PM

          • That’s good news, Steve. I hope you will tolerate it well and will have no problems receiving the second dose.


            March 7, 2021 at 7:55 PM

            • Thanks. The first dose produced some soreness in the arm muscle for a day and a half. Reports say that the second dose causes more side effects in many people. We’ll see.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 8, 2021 at 6:29 AM

  4. Ferns are quite hardy and we have a few that remain green through the winter. One of my favorites is the Maidenhair Spleenwort-Asplenium trichomanes. I’d share it but apparently have never posted an image of one. Never mind that…it is fun just to say the name. The one that didn’t do well apparently with the browned leaves on the right in the second picture would still make a nice closeup on its own.

    Steve Gingold

    March 7, 2021 at 5:30 PM

    • My understanding is that these ferns go dormant at times. If so, the ones with the brown leaves in these pictures might still spring back. As for your Asplenium trichomanes, it’s not too late for you to show a picture of it so we can see what it’s like.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 7, 2021 at 6:51 PM

  5. Ferns are among earth’s earliest plants, they are made of tough stuff!

    Eliza Waters

    March 7, 2021 at 8:17 PM

  6. The tenacity of Life! Beautiful captures, Steve.

    Lavinia Ross

    March 8, 2021 at 6:09 PM

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