Ferns are often found in wetlands and forests in Massachusetts. They were around long before dinosaurs - fossils of ferns have been found from 360 million years ago.

They do not have flowers. They reproduce by making tiny spores, which look like small dots on the underside of some of the leaves.

The long leaves on ferns are called fronds. In the early spring, new leaves unroll from a tight spiral called a fiddlehead.

There are two types of ferns on this trail, marsh ferns and sensitive ferns. Sensitive ferns are found near the water and have finger-like leaflets. Marsh ferns, with many sub-leaflets, are more common on the higher section of the trail.

When you leave the trail, don't forget to look for the marker for milkweed in the parking lot.

Marsh fern (Thelypteris palustris)

Sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

Sensitive ferns

Marsh fern in October

Go to Wetlands Trail home page