Monday, January 4, 2010

Places I'm Visiting: Highway 12, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Took a drive up Highway 12 today, to pick up wine at one of my favorite Sonoma County wineries, Wellington Vineyards, on Dunbar Rd. Along the way, I stopped to photograph some of the old vines near Kenwood (circa 1921) and later went up to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park for the first time.

I was surprised to find whole slopes (under dense tree cover) clothed with a maidenhair fern growing wild. I looked it up. I hadn't known there was a native California Adiantum, Adiantum jordanii (California maidenhair). The photo above shows that plant along with Polypodium californica (California polypody, the big frond in the foreground), and Pentagramma triangularis (gold-backed fern, the small frond in the middle of the photo).

Gold-backed fern always reminds me of my childhood years in California (1967-1970). I used to love to press the fronds against my skin to leave a fern-shaped tattoo in gold dust on the back of one hand or on a forearm. My associations with maidenhair ferns go back to Glen Helen, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, but there we always saw the northern maidenhair (Adiantum pedatum), a rather different plant, with compound fronds resembling a hand with fingers outspread.

1 comment:

  1. I too was pleasantly surprised on my first trip to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. Hiking the trail to Sonoma Creek Falls is really great in the rainy season.


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