Christmas Fern Fiddlehead
New Haven, VT, USA
A common species native to forest habitats of the eastern United States, the Christmas fern is an important link in woodland soil health. Growing on steep slopes, the root mass of this fern can help conserve delicate soil structures by preventing erosion. During the cold winter months, the evergreen sterile leaves of this species lay flat against the ground, holding the duff layer in a place where it can be more effectively cycled back into nutrient-rich soil.