Honestly, I am struggling at this point with quite a few of the ferns. My issue is, I have not actually keyed any out, the species I do know by sight are extremely obvious. Here are a few of obvious (and more rare ones) in New Hampshire. Ophioglossum pusillum (.Raf), S1-S2 in all NE states, Asplenium Viride (Huds.) known only from a few populations in Vermont and Maine in New England, and Cryptogramma stelleri (Gmel.) which is S1 everywhere but Vermont, where it is uncommon (S3)
Cryptogramma stelleri (slender rock brake)
I have only seen Cryptogramma stelleri in two locations so far. One in central Vermont, one in Northern New Hampshire. Both times it was growing on wet calcareous rock. The photo above shows the habitat in one of the locations. This was an extremely lush, almost tropical railroad cut through calcareous bedrock. The plants, mosses, and liverworts clinging to the rock were amazing. This was the first place we saw Cryptogramma stelleri, having found a small circle on a photocopy of an old road atlas for VT. Malaxis monophyllus was also supposed to be here, but we did not find it.
The small cliffs of the cut were covered with Cryptogramma stelleri. The other location is a waterfall, and there were not nearly as many plants.
Ophioglossum pusillum (adders tongue fern)
This is one of my top finds of 2015. The particular day we stumbled across this new location for it, my Mentor (I really hope he never sees this blog) was telling me that in most locations only about 10 percent of the plants show fertile fronds.
I may have said out loud (or just thought it) “what the f*ck is that doing growing right there?” I walked up to the plant, and stared for a minute before it clicked as to what I was looking at. I think I did a fist pump while yelling “Ophioglossum!” Our estimate for this particular spot was around 500 plants, most with fertile fronds.
Somewhere in Vermont, on a rather quiet highway running north to south is a small north facing cliff with a few of these very tiny ferns growing on it. This was from the same old photocopy of a road atlas with notes written on it. GPS is really special. Damp, dark, calcareous rocks. A trail was cut from the road the 10 feet to the small rock face. Asplenium viride is one of those small and stunning plants you can just sit and stare at.
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