I remember first seeing these specialized ferns during my foothills hikes in the spring of 1992 in a formerly unfamiliar, warm and boulder-strewn land. They shrivel up during extremes of cold and heat, especially drought. And they often hide under boulders, where
There's even a folksy song about the epiphytic resurrection ferns that grow in the oaks of the southeast, also responding to rain, by Iron and Wine - here.
I wish more were grown and sold for gardens! Just a few common desert ferns I see in my outings:
|When Gary Nored generously toured me into the fringes of Big Bend Ranch State Park on Black Friday, I wasn't even thinking about ferns, even though I know they are there. I was thinking about stunning scenery fit for a desert rat. |
Gary posted on desert ferns previously - here and here.
This is one example of a number of ferns I saw like this, using spiny Ocotillo as a nurse plant.
|Hugging the bases of ocotillos, and growing out in the open in that chunky desert pavement|
|Looks like Cloak Fern / Astrolepis cochisensis ssp. cochisensis, though perhaps it's ssp. arizonica?|
|Looks like the same desert fern here on my mountain bike trail just E of Las Cruces a few years back. Since it's on limestone this part of Tortugas Mountain, or A Mountain, it should definitely be Cloak Fern / Astrolepis cochisensis ssp. cochisensis.|
|Looks most like Fairy Sword / Cheilanthes lindheimeri, at least to me.|
|This fern is more compact and doesn't seem to fold up in winter cold or drought|
stress much. It's a little less common in the Sandia foothills than the previous
fern. It's also almost exclusively granite there. And it is evergreen.
|Looks to be Spiny Cliffbrake / Pellaea truncata. Everything where I live, along with degree of drought tolerance and lack of love by all too many (especially the losers still rampant in my field), has spines or venom!|