Saturday, 10 July 2010


No trip to Ilkley Moor is complete without a photo of one of the most prolific moorland plants - Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum). It is at its most attractive at this time of year, when the new fronds are just unfurling like a baby's fist. (Apparently in some parts of the world the young shoots - appropriately named 'fiddleheads' - are eaten as a vegetable, even though the plant is carcinogenic!) I can remember studying the life cycle of ferns at school - and very wonderful and complex it is too.
As to my photo, I was quite pleased with this one. I use a br
idge camera rather than a DSLR, and it's hard to get a nice blurry background. You need low light and to trick it into thinking you're taking a portrait! So here is my portrait of a bracken frond!


  1. That is a fantastic photograph. I can almost feel the texture on the stalk!

  2. A beautiful portrait! (What is a bridge camera? Maybe Mr. Google can tell me.)

  3. Beautiful photo! I love the way the leaves look like they're resisting the urge to uncurl. What a great idea to use portrait mode--it sure worked for you here!

    When I lived in the northeastern US, people would get really excited about fiddlehead fern season. I suspect that it's partly because the winters are so harsh--we're all eager to see the first edible greens of spring. But the native ferns there are ostrich and cinnamon fern--I don't think they're carcinogenic. Still, it's recommended to double boil them and throw out the water from the first boiling to get rid of something or other. (I tried them once. That was plenty...)

  4. Funny, in all the time I've read about bracken in books, I never really knew what it was. And her is a most wonderful photo to show me.

  5. Really nice photos and post. I have heard they taste like asparagus but never tried them.We have a Falling Fern in one area nearby that stays green through the winter, so is a unique contrast with the snow.

  6. I love fiddleheads, but I didn't know they were known as bracken. I do know you have to be careful to get the right fern, which is sort of paper-y looking, or else it is poisonous! Lovely shot! ~Lili


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