Tuesday, 23 February 2010

ABC Wednesday Round 6 F is for Ferns and Fiddleheads

Much of the Forest is covered in large, sharp-edged Ferns known as bracken. At this time of year, February, last year's plants lie brown and dry (or would be if it would only stop precipitating) while under the soil new growth is awakening. Bracken Fern is one of the oldest known Ferns with Fossilised remains pointing to its existence over 55 million years ago. It has a widely spreading rootstock from its rhizomes, maybe as much as one metre underground between individuals, from which large triangular Fronds emerge. When they first appear they are tightly-curled and known as 'Fiddleheads', resembling the Fiddlehead (scroll) of a violin. Bracken Fiddleheads are used in Oriental cookery, cooked Fresh, salted or pickled, or sun-dried. Rhizomes and fronds have been used to make beer, and starch from the rhizomes has been used as a substitute for arrowroot or as Flour to make bread.

By late Summer the plants can be as tall as 8' (2.5m) Though not impenetrable they can present a Formidable barrier, particularly when wet. Dogs and deer, Foxes, badgers and smaller mammals have little difficulty but humans are sometimes deterred by them (well, this human is . . . )
Ferns have neither Flowers nor Fruits and reproduce by means of spores on the undersides of the leaves. Bracken spores are linear rather than the more common circular Form of other Ferns.
Bracken is toxic to cattle, horses, pigs and small rodents, though usually they will eat it only when there is nothing else available. It also allows little else to grow because of the chemicals it produces, though bluebells, wood anemones and mosses are unaffected.
The Fiddle, or violin, has several Fs. The scroll is often called the Fiddlehead, there is a Fingerboard made from ebony, two F holes and often Four Fine-tuners.

 










Finally, in February, I expect to Find Frogs in the garden pond. Thus Far, there are none! I suspect they are sensibly still hibernating in the deep mud. The Fish are becoming more active though many of the Sticklebacks didn't survive the cold spell. Perhaps this year the Frogspawn will be more successful!


Thanks go to the ABC Wednesday team for their hard work in hosting this meme. Click here to see more Fs!

22 comments:

  1. They're also rather delicious to eat.

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  2. Great F`s and the violin is beautiful!

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  3. Are you sure that isn't a frog under those bubbles? Thanks for the info on bracken ferns - ironically, our nursery's name was Bracken Gardens.

    The fiddle photos are great too!

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  4. What an interesting and lovely group of F words for the day, Janice! Always enjoy your photos and the information you include! Hope you're having a great week!

    Sylvia

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  5. A very extensive and pleasant post. A fine F

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  6. Excellent and informative post. And I've always wanted to play violin, but seem destined to stick to my guitar.

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  7. I'd never heard of fiddleheads before!As for eating them.....! I learn something every day when blogging.

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  8. Fabulous fotos! :D

    Oh! even your word verification is an F-word! lol

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  9. Some of my favourite F-words! I almost used "fiddle", but decided on something from zoology!
    Purrs,
    Sara Cat

    http://sarakatt.blogspot.com/2010/02/abc-wednesday-f-as-in-feline-abc-onsdag.html#links

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  10. Very interesting Janice. I didn't know that ferns were edible. I've been looking for frogs too but none so far, and who can blame them in this weather.

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  11. Yup I agree, my mother used to cooked ferns and it's so yummy.4

    F is Family

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  12. I love your fact-filled post! Great photos as well!

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  13. My favorite ferns. The pond picture offers wonderful detail. What fun!

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  14. Great post, - I learned all sorts of things, and really enjoyed your pictures.

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  15. Thank you for the wonderful effort.
    Lovely post.
    Fantastic F!

    Happy ABC Wednesday!

    hugs
    shakira

    http://justmeshakirack.blogspot.com/2010/02/f-is-for-fantastic-friends-from.html

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  16. Dear Janice,
    Thank you for visiting!
    Purrs,
    Sara Cat
    Greetings from
    Cajsa Cat and
    our stripey red
    Calle Cat

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  17. Yesterday I thought there were no words starting with F ! now I see even fern and fiddle !

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  18. Bracken I know all too well but I had no idea it could be cooked! Now that makes me look on it in a new light.

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  19. I love ferns and the frogs reminded me of our pond last Spring.

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  20. fiddling around with the violin/fiddle, I see. Beautiful instrument.

    On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, thank you!

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  21. I haven't had frogs in my pond for several years now. We gave up and removed the wildlife pond last year, because it was supporting nothing but sludge and freshwater shrimp!

    Love the fiddleheads - both types!

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