Odyssey: Ferns in the Forest

More than 250 million years ago, long before the rise of dinosaurs and seed plants, ferns dominated the landscape. The nonflowering ferns (including the related horsetails and club mosses) grew to the size of trees and were a major part of our ancient forests. These prehistoric plants formed the basis of today's fossil fuels. Their present-day descendants are small, delicate, and often overlooked, but under closer inspection ferns provide the naturalist with many exciting discoveries and challenges.

This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to Maryland's native ferns, including ecology/natural history, basic identification, ferns in the garden, and propagation from spores. The indoor session will review fern anatomy, terminology, and life cycles using slides, preserved specimens, and live examples. We will also examine the unique history, folklore, and ecology of these "primitive" plants. On the field trip to a local environmental area you will be able to practice your skills as we search for and identify numerous woodland species.

914.578.01 Two sessions
Lecture: Wednesday, Sept. 21, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Homewood campus
Field study: Saturday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to noon, Irvine Nature Center. Rain or shine. Cost: $67

JHU full-time faculty/staff are eligible for tuition remission. For registration information, please call 410-516-8516. You will be unable to register online and receive the discount.