Ask a Question forum: Autumn Fern help

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Name: Linda
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Ferns Enjoys or suffers hot summers Canning and food preservation Cactus and Succulents Keeper of Poultry
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chickhill
Jun 10, 2017 7:50 AM CST
Are these little cone shaped things bulbs or fronds waiting to unfurl? Or are they old stems? On crown of fern between fronds. I removed some and planted to see if they would come up. They have some green coloring where they were connected so I thought they might grow. Have looked online for info but no luck or I just haven't looked in right place. Hummm, have I harmed my fern by removing these?
Thumb of 2017-06-10/chickhill/b586e4

North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Jun 10, 2017 12:27 PM CST
I'm a little confused. Do you have a picture of some that are still attached? Do you have a whole bed of ferns and if so could you post a picture of it?
Name: Linda
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Ferns Enjoys or suffers hot summers Canning and food preservation Cactus and Succulents Keeper of Poultry
Garden Art Butterflies Sempervivums Sedums Hummingbirder Hostas
Image
chickhill
Jun 11, 2017 8:51 PM CST
@tx_flower_child Does this help? No, I only have one Autumn. I don't know a lot abt.ferns except they're pretty, need some shade and moisture.
Thumb of 2017-06-12/chickhill/8b21b1

North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Jun 11, 2017 10:26 PM CST
Um, it helps by being a better picture but I have absolutely no idea what those are. They look pretty dang weird! Are you sure that stuff is 'alive'? It kinda looks like some type of mulch but no, because you said that they were on the crown of fern between fronds. Actually, that doesn't make sense. The fronds are the leaves. Not sure what the 'crown' is.

I can tell you that your fern doesn't look like an Autumn Fern. Here's a link to the Plants Database page on Autumn ferns. Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)

Those little leaves look very familiar but I can't come up with a name. One of the local nurseries I go to has a large selection of ferns and I love to cruise by them. There's only a few that will grow for where I live, Autumn fern being one of them, so I look but save my $$.

Is this planted in a new bed or one that was already there? Not that it matters if you picked those little aliens off the ferns. I just keep thinking they look like mulch. But you are absolutely right that most ferns like some shade and some moisture. And what is nice is that I'm seeing that you have multiple stems which tells me your fern has been growing.

So . . . I'm going to think out loud here. The frond (leaf) and the roots grow from a rhizome that is like a thick, horizontal stem which is pretty much underground. The roots grow downwards and the fronds grow upwards, but as far as I know from digging up my neighbor's ferns (with permission), both grow out of the rhizome. The fronds start out as cute little fiddleheads that unfurl. (Some are actually edible.) So I don't know what other part of the plant there is. Sorry. I know I'm not helping you. Just doing a biology lesson so might as well add that if you ever see red dots on the back of the fronds, those are called spores and they are the reproductive part of the life cycle. But what are those little boogers that you found? Maybe they are the very tops of the fronds (leaves) and they got sunburned and are falling off or being plucked off by you.

I sure hope someone else jumps into this thread because I'm stumped. In the meantime, I'm going to look at leaves. But don't you pick anymore little martians off the top of the leaves. Maybe they'll do something and that will give us a lightbulb moment.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Jun 11, 2017 10:29 PM CST
Oh, and I doubt if you hurt anything. Plus I just looked at the picture again and I can see some little baby fiddleheads starting to pop out. So your fern is alive!

But wait! I hope those aren't fiddleheads. Were they coming out of the ground? Is that what you meant by the 'crown between the fronds'?
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Jun 11, 2017 10:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Linda
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Ferns Enjoys or suffers hot summers Canning and food preservation Cactus and Succulents Keeper of Poultry
Garden Art Butterflies Sempervivums Sedums Hummingbirder Hostas
Image
chickhill
Jun 11, 2017 11:56 PM CST
I have a photo of my fern in the data base, second row. Will keep looking and reading on the university and education sites. I tip my hat to you.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Jun 12, 2017 12:23 PM CST
@chickhill - Oh, I'm so glad you told me to look at the picture in the database. You are right that it's an Autumn Fern. I was looking at the little leaf in the 2nd picture that you posted above and it didn't look like an Autumn fern.

Now you have me even more stumped. And you probably didn't need me to do a botany lesson, basically for myself, in the long post. You definitely know what you're doing when it comes to ferns. That's a beauty that you have in the database.

If I could mark up your picture (which I can't) then I would use some arrows/pointers just to be sure we're talking about the same stuff. BUT every time one of us posts to this I think it bumps it up in the Ask a Question section. Or maybe that's only in Facebook. I looked around NGA last night to see if there was a forum dedicated to ferns because there should be. Uh, oh. There is a Ferns Forum. So I just tapped it to ask the other members for knowledge. I see that there have been 87 views here altho those might just be the 2 of us. lol
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Jun 12, 2017 1:22 PM (+)]
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