Saturday, February 25, 2012

Two mysteries: one plant, one animal

Okay, birdnerds, I have no skill in identifying birds. Is this a Western Tanager? I googled "fat yellow bird" and this was my best guess.

What are you doing up there?

Mystery 2: I always thought this fern that I rescued from a dark corner near the foundation was a sword fern. But it looks perpetually alert, which isn't normal for sword ferns.

It has small, reddish-brown sori that don't overlap and the teeth on the fronds are smooth and very close together.

The best guess I have is Dryopteris dickinsii, common name "large peacock fern" or "crisped shaggy wood fern" (very catchy, whoever came up with that one). Anybody think that sounds right? And can I propagate it? I want a billion of these in my yard.


  1. The birds look like goldfinches to me! (They have their winter plumage so they're not as bright as they will be when they're breeding.) Plants, though, I have no idea.

  2. I concur on the goldfinch identification.

  3. I have lots of goldfinches in my garden that are twins to your bird so I'd go with goldfinch. :o)

  4. I have a fern identification book at home. If I can find it I'll be all over this for you...

  5. May not see what should be wrong about your Sword Fern, Polystichum munitum, which is in best condition, but doesn't want to be misidentified with some distant relative Dryopteris. You may try sowing spores in pots, should work well with constant conditions fitting to this fern.