Photo Submissions: Ferns & Unexpected Blooms

One of the things I remember the most about textbooks and displays about dinosaurs is that if they often showed the dinosaurs in their natural environment, which included big Jurassic era fern. It was then that I understood that ferns were very old plants. Next time you’re going for a prehistoric look in the garden don’t forget the ferns and maybe some palms!

Fishtail Fern (Nephrolepis falcata) By Lisa Troute Jan 2023 South Florida, USA.

It just so happens I got to see this lovely fern and the Staghorn Fern (below) in person! On my annual trip to see my mother-in-law, Mary Reynolds, who follows this blog. These ferns are in Lisa’s yard which means, yes, yes, I got to meet Lisa herself! It was a genuine pleasure to meet you Lisa and I hope we can catch each other again next year!

Lisa has contributed a photo every month since the start of the photo submission requests back in August of last year and she’s usually the very first person to email them to me!

Staghorn Fern (Platycerium spp.) By Lisa Troute Jan 2023 South Florida, USA.

The Staghorn fern is one of my favorite plants! I tried to take care of one for years. I thought my bathroom with a skylight could offer the perfect habitat, but alas, no matter what I did, the poor thing died a long and slow death. That was about the third or fourth fern I’d tried to keep as an indoor plant that died. I’ve decided to abstain from being a fern killer and now I only appreciate my native ferns outside.

Asparagus Fern with berries (Asparagus densiflorus spp.) By Lisa Troute Jan 2023 South Florida, USA.

This fern is an imposter! It’s a warm weather perennial that only looks like a fern. The telltale is that the berries contain the seeds instead of naked spores on the undersides of the leaves. It’s still a lovely plant though and I’m happy to add it. We could call it an “unexpected bloom” because while it does get small white flowers, they’re often hard to see without close inspection.

I’d also like to thank Kerfe for taking her camera with her on her walks in Central Park in New York.

I’m pretty sure this is a variety of Hellebores. They’re a popular plant where I live because they grow well in damp lowlight areas. They are often one of the first things to bloom which is why they have common names like Lenten Rose, Winter Rose and Christmas Rose, even though they are not true roses.

Hellebores spp. By Kerfe Feb 2023 Central Park New York USA. &

I like the way the light through the leaves almost makes this look like a painting. Also found in Central Park:

Snowdrops ((Galanthus nivalis) background & Forsythia (Forsythia spp) foreground By Kerfe Feb 2023 Central Park New York USA &

and this nice droopy fern:

Fern (Unknown) By Kerfe Feb 2023 Central Park New York USA &

Our last picture comes from a new Nature-led friend, Amy Law! Thank you for offering a photo for this month, Amy!

Henbit Deadnettle (Lamium amplexicaule) By Amy Law Feb 2023 Foothills west of Denver CO USA

Amy’s link goes to a specific blog post where you can see an even closer picture of these lovely purple flowers and some birds! While I’m currently battling some Lamium ‘Archangel’ on my property, it’s hard to begrudge a spot of color in the winter.

Lisa, Kerfe, and Amy, Thank you again for your submissions! If I’ve somehow missed anyone’s submissions, please let me know! I’ve been really busy and a bit brain fogged lately.

What about next months photo submissions?

Good question!

If we want to continue doing monthly photo submissions, I’m going to need your help with some suggestions! We haven’t done grasses or water plants. Maybe a month of “Your Favorite plant” or “Your Best Shot Nature shot?” I’ve tried to pick fairly broad nature-inspired themes because it’s difficult when half of the planet is in winter while the other half is in summer. Not to mention the variety of different biome regions! At the same time, that very diversity that provides a challenge also provides more interesting variety to the submissions overall.

Here’s what we’ve currently done so far:

January:  Moss & Lichen

February:  Ferns & Unexpected Blooms






August: Unknown Paths (First submission request, 2022)

September: A Tree

October: Leaves

November: Mushrooms/Fungi

December: Nature at Rest

Should we continue with the monthly photo submissions? Is there other content you would like to see here on the Nature-led site?

Please be aware that I’m currently looking for a job in Environmental Sustainability, Disaster Mangement or related fields. I’ve submitted a few applications and have already had a couple of interviews. I also have a family member who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Between these two things and life in general I’ll need to balance my time efficiently. This Nature-led website is my passion project though and I don’t have any plans to abandon it. Doing the photo submissions once a month is really not much of a time commitment and I’m happy to continue doing it if enough people want to keep submitting photos.

I’m also interested in expanding our number of contributing authors here. My friend Mary King has agreed to write a few posts so keep a look out for those! Also, if you have a post in mind that fits the Nature-led theme, send me an email to be a guest author or a link to a post you’ve written to re-blog that you feel is a great fit. I’m sorry I can’t visit everyone’s blogs as often as I would like too. I know it’s a common problem for all of us. Take care my Nature-led friends and remember to get outside!

Thank you for stopping by!


Tang, Carol Marie. “Jurassic Period”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 26 Dec. 2022, Accessed 1 March 2023. (Scroll down near the bottom for the “Plants” section.)

American Fern Society:

5 Apocalypses and counting…

My apologies to the Paleontology bros. I thought you were boys that wanted to play with dinosaur bones and never grow up. Maybe that’s true for some, but like most things, it’s a broadly overstated stereotype. I had no idea how interesting and diversified paleontology could be until I read The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions By Peter Brannen. I came about reading this book because I’m a connoisseur of Apocalypses; personal, local, regional, global. I pick them apart and study the bones. Why does one species suffer an Extinction Level Event (ELE) while others adapt and survive?

On a personal level this boils down to the difference between surviving and eventually thriving beyond a catastrophic event or stepping off the ledge. What’s defined as a “catastrophic event” depends on the person. One person’s chaos is another person’s status quo. How do you survive, psychologically? Through resilience. How do you become resilient? By changing your perspective. How do you change your perspective? Through education and observation. What is the reward? Adaptability. Adaptability encourages resourcefulness which increases your survivability…in a nutshell.

You can take that last paragraph and replace person with society, business, or organization.

What I like about Peter Brannen’s book is that it lays out what the earth endured long before humans ever walked upon it. We weren’t even a speck on the geological timeline of anything resembling Homo Sapiens! Dinosaurs, three Extinction Level Events, but it was the last one that eventually did them in. When we think of the dinosaur’s extinction we think; “Oh, an asteroid hit the earth and boom! The dinosaurs instantly died.” This doesn’t appear to be the case though. Neither dinosaurs nor their food sources were completely obliterated during the event. Some survived, but over time their numbers could not be replenished and eventually they did die out. We know this because some fossils have been found indicating that the dinosaur died 700,000 years after that event.

Can you guess what animal is alive today that some dinosaurs used to eat as a source of food? Sharks! Crazy right!?!?! The shark was known as Carcharocles megalodon and is the very enormous ancestor to the great white shark. I’ve changed my mind, paleontology is actually pretty cool. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Saber-Toothed Tiger and that’s part of paleontology too, because the definition is simply “the study of fossils.”

I’ve been educating myself about plants, particularly Pacific Northwest native plants, over the last several years, so it was really interesting to read about the importance of paleobotany in Mr. Brannen’s book. I’ve always loved ferns and mosses. To me, they are the embellishments of what makes a stand of trees a forest. There is nothing more magical to me than having my eyes greeted by long green corridors carpeted in mosses and masses of ferns.

I hope you’ll give this easy-to-read science book a try. It felt effortless the way he weaved the present and past. I’ve read through a lot of dry science book out of a sense of duty, but this one I read for fun. I borrowed it from the library and loved it so much I bought a copy. I only do this with less than 3% of the books I borrow in a year. Another book that made the list was Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World By Michele Gelfand who’s a cultural psychologist. (Another cool subbranch of something I didn’t know I wanted to be when I grew up!) Her analysis helps us understand how different personalities and cultures adapt to the world around them.

There’s no wrong or right way in learning how to adapt to an ever-changing world, only variances in approach.


The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions By Peter Brannen (2017)

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World By Michele Gelfand (2018)

Interesting Links:

Test shows dinosaurs survived mass extinction by 700,000 years ( 

Living Creatures That Walked Among The Dinosaurs – WorldAtlas

The Megalodon | Smithsonian Ocean (

About Ferns — American Fern Society (