December 19, 2009
Have you ever played badminton? Then you’re familiar with the shape of the plant featured above -- it's a shuttlecock fern (Matteucia struthiopteris). It’s shown here in all its glory during late summer when its fronds are fully extended. I spotted this one in a shady area of Caribou Falls State Wayside, on Minnesota's North Shore. Shuttlecock ferns or as they’re sometimes called “Ostrich ferns” are quite common in the many parks and waysides along the northern shore of Lake Superior and also grow readily in parts of Europe. About 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) tall at maturity, they’re greatly appreciated by gardeners who require hardy, shade tolerant plants. But watch out; these ferns have active root systems and enthusiastically spread. So be sure to place them where they can be contained. Photo taken on August 13, 2009.
Caribou Falls State Wayside coordinates: N47.46452, W91.03084