This hiker noticed the tall stiff brown things with seed-like structures that are left standing when the green part of ferns die and wondered if those were a good sign that the ferns would be back.
Our Camp Director Tom Meier says: Ostrich ferns are surprisingly hardy plants that spread underground through their rhizomes. Like most ferns, they like damp soil, but too much water for too long will drown the rhizome and it will not recover. The good news is that since the Griffth’s Trail had ostrich ferns in the past, it may not be too long before new spores take hold and grow. The wet areas of the Griffith’s Trail are also home to sensitive fern, which has a persistent fertile frond where the spores are held in little bead like structures that can be seen throughout the winter. They are much more tolerant to flooding and will have no problem growing in that area. Royal ferns are also present, and are also flood tolerant. Keep your eyes out for them as spring turns into summer, there are some truly magnificent patches with fronds that are easily four feet tall!