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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Goldback

The Goldback Fern (Pentagramma triangularis) is the smallest of the 8 species of ferns found on Bodega Head.  (All fronds shown below are less than 8 cm long.)  Somewhat surprisingly, it's encountered most often in the dunes, on cool, moist, north-facing slopes.  It's in the same family as maidenhair ferns, and you'll notice a similar thin, black, wiry stem (especially apparent in the photos of the lower surface).


Above, a tiny fiddlehead is just about to unfurl in the lower right corner.


Goldback Ferns are well named.  The upper surface is green, while the lower surface (or underside) is covered with golden powder — this color is very striking when the leaf is turned over in the shaded places where this delicate fern grows.


Above, note remnant spores on last year's frond in the upper right corner.


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