Eastern Hay-Scented Fern


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[Framing available in two color choices for studio pickup. Please contact before purchasing.]


This limited edition blind embossed relief print is part of The Cameo Series which spotlights native plants encountered by the artist while exploring Western North Carolina. Printed from a hand-carved block, the absence of ink enhances the embossed shadows, emphasizing the intricate details of each plant’s form. Much like a cameo role in a film or a piece of cameo jewelry that highlights an individual, each piece in this series focuses on a particular plant, bringing attention to its specific role within the natural ecosystem.


Size: 10″ x 8″
Medium: Blind Embossed Linoleum Block Print
Paper Type: Stonehenge, cotton, archival, acid-free
Paper Color: Fawn
Limited Edition of 100
Numbered, titled and signed by the artist


The Hay-scented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) is a distinctive fern found in eastern North America, particularly in dry, acidic soils of forests and woodlands. This fern is named for the sweet, hay-like fragrance it emits when its fronds are crushed. It has feathery, light green to yellowish green fronds that turn golden brown or yellow in the autumn, growing from one to three feet tall. These fronds form loose clusters of deciduous leaves with long, tapering tips, and is often confused with the Sensitive Fern and Cinnamon Fern.


This fern spreads through slender, creeping rhizomes, allowing it to form extensive clonal colonies rapidly. The rachis (stalk within the blade) is slender, pale to straw-colored, and covered with hairs. The stipe (stalk below the blade) is dark brown at the base and covered with white hairs, turning greenish or yellowish above. The pinnae (leaflets) are wavy with tapering tips and are covered with soft hairs on both surfaces. These pinnae are divided into many small, gland-tipped pinnules. The sori (reproductive structures) are very small and occur at the backside margins of the pinnules, surrounded by a unique, cup-shaped indusium.


Ecologically, the Hay-scented Fern plays a significant role in its environment by forming dense colonies that cover the ground, thereby reducing soil erosion and stabilizing slopes. These colonies create microhabitats for various animals, insects, and plants, enhancing local biodiversity. Additionally, the fern contributes to nutrient cycling and soil enrichment; as its fronds decompose, they release nutrients into the soil, supporting surrounding vegetation and promoting forest health.


Sources: https://wildadirondacks.org/adirondack-ferns-hay-scented-fern-dennstaedtia-punctilobula.html, https://mlbs.virginia.edu/organism/telypteris_noveboracensis_dennstaedtia_punctilobula

All prints are hand-pulled and my vary slightly.

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