February Meeting

San Diego Fern Society meets at 7:30 pm Thursday February 21, Casa del Prado Room 101, Balboa Park. Those attending may view photos of desert ferns, to entice our members and friends to visit Anza-Borrego State Park February 23.

Spring Garden Sale this Month

Bring a little cash to enjoy the Garden Sale, an opportunity to creatively reuse the gardening items many of us collect. These treasures are too good to throw out, but no longer needed and can be offered to others. This is an opportunity to buy and sell plants between Fern Society members. Ferns and specialty plants may be donated to the sale, or sold on consignment. As always, make sure plants are in clean containers or mounted or bagged, trimmed and free of pests. A correct plant name is desirable. All consignment items must be tagged with seller name and price.
• ferns and specialty plants
• decorative containers (no plastic nursery pots)
• terrarium containers
• small water features, garden art
• tools in good condition
• plant stands
(No pesticides or toxic substances)

Report on January Garden Visit

In January Don Callard invited Fern Society members and friends to his garden. Platyceriums are his specialty, and various additional plants fill his yard and greenhouse. Many friends enjoyed this sunny Saturday afternoon visit.

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Platyceriums hanging out in the Callard greenhouse, January 2019. Photos credit: K. Russell.
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Ferns in Death Valley?

An unexpected natural place, Death Valley, is actually home to a few (very few) ferns. Visitors may be watching for wildflower blooms, but tucked away are some ferns.

Brewer's Cliff-brake, Pellaea breweri, is found in the central and northern mountains of California, and also in Washington, Idaho and Colorado. Plants grow at elevations of 5000 up to 12,000 feet. This would place the fern sites in the desert mountains surrounding the Death Valley lowlands. Ferns have been documented in the Panamint Mountains of the Park, in rock crevices.

Pellaea breweri on a ridge in Spring Mountains, southern Nevada is at high elevation 9000 feet. Photos credit: Stan Shebs. Photos taken in month of September. Creative Commons.

Equisetum hyemale and also Equisetum X ferrissii, a hybrid between E. hyemale and E. laevigatum, are found in Death Valley. The hybrid Equisetum X ferrissii has been documented from Jail Canyon in the Panamint Mountains, at elevation 3500 feet. Equisetum hyemale grows near a small creek in Surprise Canyon, on the west slope of the Panamint Mountains at 3000 feet elevation. Equisetum ferns, known as Horsetails, are frequently found throughout California, including San Diego County.

Adiantum capillus-veneris is locally abundant in semishade on the moist limestone bank at the mouth of Beveridge Canyon, and also at Darwin Falls, Pleasant Valley, in Hunter Canyon, in Saline Valley. These sites are at about 2000 feet elevation. In the northern part of California, look for this Maidenhair at low elevations. In San Diego County, Adiantum capillus-veneris may be found at elevations up to 3000 feet. It is a lovely desert surprise to find a Maidenhair Fern in Anza-Borrego Palm Canyon and Hellhole Canyon.

Darwin Falls of Death Valley shows green Maidenhair Ferns, Adiantum capillus-veneris. Photo credit: Bobak Ha'Eri, Creative Commons. Photo taken in the month of January.

Adiantum capillus-veneris grows around Darwin Falls. Photo credit: Kimberly Price Riley. Creative Commons. Photo taken in September.

Pentagramma triangularis ssp. maxonii, Maxon's Goldback Fern, is found in the Panamint Mountains, Hanaupah Canyon at nearly 5000 feet elevation in Death Valley. Pentagramma triangularis has several subspecies and grows throughout California, including San Diego County.

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This plant of Pentagramma triangularis is growing on San Clemente Island off the California coast, in spring. Photo credit T. Russell.

According to the Death Valley National Park website, early rains this season were not abundant, thus the wildflower bloom for spring 2019 may be light.

1. www.calflora.org
2. www.calscape.org
3. www.nps.gov/deva/

Fern Society Memberships 2019

It is time to renew memberships for the San Diego Fern Society. The annual fee is just $12 for a single or household membership, through December 2019. Provide name, mailing address and email at a meeting or mail to the address on page 6.

2019: A year to go outdoors

Hike with fern friends in the desert Saturday, February 23. Information will be given at the February meeting. Hiking or walking in the desert brings a new perspective on where ferns can grow, and provides an enjoyable way to explore the desert. Wildflowers are an optional bonus.

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Intrepid fern hunters explore Anza-Borrego State Park, San Diego County. Photo credit: Bob Charlton.

Finding uncommon specialty ferns

If you are looking to purchase an uncommon fern, the San Diego Fern Society may share your request in the website or the newsletter. If you know a source for unusual ferns, please let us know so we can share with the members. Contact: sandiegofernsociety@gmail.com

Notholaena californica

The Notholaena ferns are found in the Americas, and are generally in rocky and dry locations such as rock crevices. In California Notholaena californica grows in the southern areas and desert mountains, and also in Arizona, Baja California and Sonora. For Imperial and San Diego Counties, N. californica is in desert areas at elevations primarily to 4000 feet.

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Notholaena californica is found in Blair Valley, Anza-Borrego State Park, San Diego County. Note the relationsip with rocks, where roots may extend into the rock fissures. Photos this page credit: Bob Charlton.

The brown stipes of Notholaena californica have thin scales. The leaf blade is broadly pentagonal with farina, the powdery or waxy coating, in yellow or white color. The frond blade may extend two to eight inches.

Notholaena ferns are uncommon in cultivation, needing specialized xeric fern care. UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley has a xeric fern collection which includes two other species of Notholaena ferns, native to Mexico. Their collection includes a significant number of Myriopteris ferns, formerly classified as Cheilanthes.

Hoshizaki and Moran (Reference 1) provides further information on dry climate ferns. Many of these ferns grow in nature in the southwestern US. Often the fronds are covered in hairs, scales or powdery coatings, presumed to retain moisture. Some have fronds which will curl inward when dry, then open again after rain. Most of these xeric ferns are small in size and suggested for rock gardens. They may be challenging to grow in a home garden, needing well-drained soil kept evenly moist but on the dry side. Peat moss with sand is one soil option, or a mix of fine decomposed granite, leaf mold, perlite and sand. Xeric ferns should have the crown slightly above soil level and be watered carefully, not overwatered. Most prefer bright but filtered sunlight. Many are naturally summer dormant but may not show this dormant period in cultivation.

Xeric ferns may occasionally be available in nurseries and specialty plant sales. Needless to say, it is illegal to collect ferns without a permit in state and national parks and forests. Most of these ferns do not transfer well from their rocky natural habitat to a home garden but may be spore grown.

1. Hoshizaki, B. & Moran, R. (2001). Fern grower's manual. Portland, OR: Timber Press.
2. amerfernsoc.org/xeric-ferns/
3. botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu
4. mineralarts.com/ferns/DesertFernsGuide.html

Local Selaginellas

Selaginellas are low growing moss-like terrestrial plants. In the past they were categorized as fern allies, but that term is no longer used in botany. They are not ferns but reproduce by spores. About eleven species are found in California, and four species are known from San Diego County.

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Selaginella eremophila, the darker green plants, grows on rocks along with Myriopteris newberryi in Blair Valley, Anza-Borrego State Park, San Diego County.

Selaginella eremophila is found in the Anza-Borrego desert. It is low growing, somewhat flat, with much branched stems about four inches long. Selaginella cinerascens grows on the coastal plains.

Selaginella cinerascens is found in Crest Canyon Open Space in Del Mar Heights. Photo credit: Keir Morse, Creative Commons. Photo taken in the month of January.

Selaginella bigelovii is common in the hills and dry rocky slopes of western San Diego County. The stems grow upward and may be eight inches long. Selaginella asprella grows in the mountain areas of San Diego County and southern California.

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Selaginella bigelovii growing on rocks with Myriopteris newberryi in Mission Trails Park, San Diego. Photo credit: Kathie Russell.

1. Beauchamp, R. M. (1986). A flora of San Diego County, California. National City, Calif: Sweetwater River Press.
2. Grillos, S. (1966). Ferns and fern allies of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Filmy Ferns

While learning that ferns grow in the desert surprises many plant enthusiasts, finding ferns in a rain forest seems more obvious. Filmy ferns are considered to be those with fronds just one cell thick, except around veins. Filmy ferns in the genus
Hymenophyllum are native to the tropics and southern temperate areas. H. falklandianum, a filmy fern, grows on Macquarie Island, midway between New Zealand and Antarctica. New Zealand has several Hymenophyllums.

The Trichomanes filmy ferns are mostly tropical. Trichomanes holopterum and T. krausii are native to southern Florida as well as Mexico and the West Indies. Seychelles, islands of the Indian Ocean, have moss forest in Morne Seychellois National Park. Tree trunks and the forest floor are covered by mosses, ferns and other plants, including about eight species of filmy ferns of the genera Hymenophyllacaea and Polypodiidae. Several species of Hymenophyllums, as well as other ferns, are found in the high cloud forest areas of Moorea, an island near Tahiti.

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Ron Konopka photographed a filmy fern in Moorea tentatively identified as Crepidomanes bipunctatum.

1. Hoshizaki, B. & Moran, R. (2001). Fern grower's manual. Portland, OR: Timber Press.
2. Senterre, Bruno. (2010). Ferns and filmy ferns of the Seychelles - still species to discover or rediscover. Kapisen. 10. 10-12.
3. cpbr.gov.au/fern/subant_taxa.ht
4. florida.plantatlas.usf.edu

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Blair V from Bobx
Spring comes early in Anza-Borrego State Park, San Diego County. This photo of Blair Valley reveals rocks and desert plants, but hidden away are several species of ferns including a Myriopteris parryi. Photos credit: Bob Charlton.

San Diego Fern Society Officers

President Kathy Thomson kmthomson@att.net

1st Vice President Paula Couturier

2nd Vice President Gerardo Garciagarcia jerry15@gmail.com

Secretary Kathie Russell klrkath@yahoo.com

Treasurer John Weirather wyro11@gmail.com

Board Members:
Bob Charlton kwyjibo@san.rr.com
Bart Keeran
Richard Lujan

Past President Don Callard dcallard@san.rr.com

Website www.sandiegofernsociety.com
Webmaster: Bob Charlton kwyjibo@san.rr.com

Fern Society email sandiegofernsociety@gmail.com

Membership $12 cash or check (payable to San Diego Fern Society) to a meeting or mail to:
San Diego Fern Societyl
4780 Glen
La Mesa CA 91941


February 21
Saturday March 16
Garcia garden visit
April 18
May 16
June 20
Saturday July 20
Charlton garden visit
August 15
Fern Show: August 17-18
September garden visit
October 17
November 21
December 20
Annual Meeting

(subject to change)

The San Diego Fern Society was established in 1976 to provide a source of information on ferns; to arrange for people to study ferns together; to encourage the use and enjoyment of ferns in gardens, patios, and the home.

The Society aims to encourage all horticultural activities by example, education, and exhibits; to interest people in the beauty and satisfaction to be found in garden, patio and home living; to promote and stimulate interest in ferns; to encourage and develop culture of various types and varieties of ferns; to provide for the exchange and dissemination among Society members of information relating to culture of ferns.

Volume XXXXIII, Number 2