We have many different ferns in our small patch of cool damp woodland including the evergreen Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant). Hard Fern is dimorphic – it has two types of leaves, one sterile and one fertile. I only pick the old sterile leaves, just a couple from each plant, so no harm comes to the plant. They dry really well, keeping their colour and form nicely.
After their initial drying in the gentle breeze in the woods I take them home to dry indoors ready to add to bouquets and arrangements.
Apparently you can cook the Hard fern roots and young shoots. And the leaves chewed as a hunger suppressant, to alleviate thirst and as a treatment for stomach problems. Hmm! I think I’ll just stick to admiring them in the woods and picking a few to dry.
17 May 2021