Above is the source of this month's banner. Who says ferns aren't colorful? You just have to look. Below you'll see a picture showing the other side of the polypody, which you normally see.
BTW I decided to make this a three parter as I'm running out of time this morning - such is the working blogger's life - and tomorrow I may get down to where the local Western Chain Ferns are growing, with a tripod. So this post is focused on the smaller ferns that grow around here in the shade, mostly on rocky walls.
Polypodium californicum, California polypody
California polypody is about the most common small fern around here, growing on shady rock faces. They often colonize a large area. Below you can see the sori bumps showing on the upper surface.
Each blade arises separately from the rock face. But the name means multiple feet, and I guess their rhizomes have multiple knobby branches. When they are just getting established they look more like this.
And here's a picture I like, looking down on them spilling down a slope. Unfortunately flash is sometimes the only way to get a sharp shot of shady ferns, if you don't like hiking with a tripod. These were at a local park.
Adiantum aleuticum, Five Fingered Fern
Another wonderful small fern that grows on shady, moist rock faces is Adiantum aleuticum, five fingered fern. It is a type of maidenhair fern. I haven't noticed it right around here, but at De Laveaga park in Santa Cruz it covers the rock face above a long stretch of the main trail, which used to be a logging road.
(There is some irony in the fact that so many of the trails in our local parks were originally logging roads. Old-growth redwoods built San Francisco and other Bay Area towns in the second half of the 19th century and into the 20th.)
It is a very pretty fern indeed and its wiry black stems were much prized by native people for making patterns in special baskets that were used to hold obsidian knives for a jumping ceremony.
This year I'm not going to miss Ohlone Day at Henry Cowell park, Saturday September 11. It's a wonderful day out for the family and you learn a lot and get to participate in traditional crafts like building a tule reed boat. Plus - there's traditional dancing!
Adiantum jordanii, California Maidenhair Fern
I see this one around here, on shady chaparral slopes. Another beautiful delicate yet strong fern with wiry black stems, obviously related to Five Fingered Fern.
And around here, where there be moist places, there be banana slugs (Ariolimax dolichophallus). Wonderfully large, often five inches long, and the mascot of UC Santa Cruz, where my older daughter, whose hand you see below, gained a degree in anthropology.
-- Go Slugs!