Readers’ wildlife photos

We just had an animal post (below) and now some lovely ferns from reader Marilee Lovit:

These are ferns I collected last summer into my plant press, and now have mounted on herbarium paper (using methyl-cellulose for glue). I photographed the mounted specimens before attaching herbarium labels. (I will attach labels with all the collecting information before giving the specimens to an herbarium.)
The genus Dryopteris has a lot of hybridization. The first photo is Dryopteris intermedia, which is diploid. The second photo is Dryopteris cristata, which is tetraploid. And the third is Dryopteris x boottii, a sterile triploid hybrid of the first two.
Here are 2 more ferns. Dryopteris carthusiana is a tetraploid.
It hybridizes with Dryopteris intermedia (diploid, photo above), and the result is a sterile triploid named Dryopteris x triploidea.
These several species of the genus Dryopteris were collected from one area in Maine. Another Dryopteris species occurs very nearby, Dryopteris campyloptera.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Those came out nice

    I always like looking on the opposite side of ferns

  2. Marilee Lovit
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    As posted, the first 2 photos are the same photo, Dryopteris cristata. Dryopteris intermedia is missing from this set of photos.

    Further clarification: the last photo as posted is Dryopteris carthusiana, and the one above that is the hybrid Dryopteris x triploidea.

    I guess I should have got the labels attached before sending the pictures…

    • Marilee Lovit
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Since I posted the above comment, the photos have been correctly re-arranged. Thank you, Jerry.

      The first photo is the laciest of them all, Dryopteris intermedia. It hybridizes with the fern in the 2nd photo, Dryopteris cristata, resulting in the fern in the third photo, Dryopteris x boottii. Dryopteris intermedia (the lacy first photo) also hybridizes with the fern in the 4th photo Dryopteris carthusiana, resulting in the final photo fern, Dryopteris x triploidea.

      The 2 hybrids shown here are said to be fairly common.

  3. W.Benson
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Nothing much munches ferns. See any insect damaged leaflets?

  4. rickflick
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Beautiful staging. Ferns are so restful on the eye. When I see them on a walk in the woods part of me steps back in time a hundred million years.

    • Mike
      Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      I imagine Compys running around in them, and the odd Ankylosaur.

  5. Posted December 15, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    these are very nice! I used to collect and press botanical specimens … you’ve inspired me to perhaps use some of my spare retirement time to get back into the woods! Could you recommend a good book for identifying ferns? I am not a plant specialist but do have a working knowledge of taxonomy and plant nomenclature. Thanks!

    • Marilee Lovit
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      I use several regional manuals, class notes, and any help I can get. I don’t know where you are but a good basic fern book is A Field Guide to Ferns and Their Related Families of Northeastern and Central North America, 2005. It is a small paperback (updated version, 2nd edition of an older Peterson Field Guide) with great illustrations–both line drawings and photos, and includes Lycopods, horsetails, etc.

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I love ferns – these are very similar in appearance to some NZ natives. It’s inspired me to hunt out my plant press again. (I hope I can find it.) I doubt I could achieve such lovely results though!

  7. Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Nice to see these well-pressed plants.

  8. jaxkayaker
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Very nice photos. This never occurred to me before, but as I understand it, triploidy generally results in sterility because of failure of association and segregation of homologous chromosomes during meiosis I. Plants, unlike most animals, form gametes by mitosis, not meiosis. Meiosis is used to produce spores. The generation of ferns and seed plants we usually see is the spore-producing generation, as above. The prior generation to the ones depicted would have had half the chromosome number, so the parent of the hybrid from the nominally diploid (“2n”) species would have been haploid (one set of chromosomes, “n”) and the parent of the hybrid from the nominally tetraploid (“4n”) species would have been diploid, relatively speaking. They would have produced sperm and ova by mitosis, fertilization would have resulted in an n + 2n = 3n triploid zygote, which could have cell division by mitosis, but would be unable to undergo meiosis to produce spores with half the chromosome number (3n ÷ 2 = 1.5n?). Even if cells with one-and-a-half of the chromosome set were produced, they wouldn’t likely be functional, even though plants are more flexible about their chromosome numbers than animals are.

    The one triploid animal species I know of, the flowerpot or thread snake, doesn’t reproduce sexually, it’s parthenogenetic.

    • Marilee Lovit
      Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Related to this, is reticulate evolution in ferns.

  9. ToddP
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Great photos. I love symmetry of fern fronds. There are a few varieties growing in my patio, they’re remarkably adept at spreading anywhere there’s open space. Occasional thinning of new sprouts is required or they’d take over the area.

  10. Mark R.
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    These are really cool, and a nice change of subject matter.

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