There's a classic fern in the Southern landscape that gets me every time. And if you have ever looked up at an old live oak and seen green front foliage lacing about the trunk and up the branches you've caught a look at it, too.
A Sunday drive down the South's backroads will bring you plenty of oak trees, fern and moss. Growing up in the fertile, wooded bottoms of southern Georgia around the coastal plains, I remember seeing oaks in woods and along roads from my girlhood rides in the back seat of my mom's '68 mustang traveling to the beach and to my grandma's house even further down on rides near Florida. These trees are majestically covered with magical swirls of beautiful green growing plants called resurrection ferns. Landscape and how it's beauty relates to identity and place is something that has fascinated me for a while.
Like the Staghorn ferns that I love so much, the resurrection fern is an epiphytic plant that grows on other plants and trees like, live oaks. The Southern Living Garden Book describes it as "An old Southern favorite that grows about 1 foot high, spreads widely by slender, creeping rhizomes, and is often found on the massive limbs of live oaks."
Let's learn more about the resurrection fern:
CREDIT: DANIELLA DUNCAN, WHAT IS A RESURRECTION FERN, SOUTHERN LIVING
Ain't No Harm.
Lucky for the trees it grows on the resurrection fern does not hurt the branches below. It's a lot like Spanish moss. It isn't parasitic as it uses the moisture and nutrients from everything around it to feed. For instance, it can be nourished from the humidity in the air and rain. This charming fauna doesn't harm a thing.
CREDIT: IF TREES COULD TALK , LIVE OAKS WOULD BE THE BEST STORYTELLERS, DELOACH SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL REALTY
Tell Me Where It Lives.
My world revolves around pretty places and scenery because you see, places and fauna inspire everything. Having grown up in south Georgia I have seen these plants growing beautifully all my life. Resurrection fern thrives in places in the southeastern United States like Tallahassee, Florida and Thomasville, Georgia and Beaufort, South Carolina.
CREDIT: RESURRECTION FERN, CHARLESTON MAGAZINE
What Is In A Name.
This plant is usually identified as a resurrection fern because it has the ability to survive drought. It can survive dry weather on the stingiest amount of water even though it's leaves may be brown, curled and wither-y it's living. It may look dead but it's not. It will turn vibrant green and spring-like upon the next big rain. Hence the name, this resurrection fern. It seems to comes back to life.
"It is thought that these Southeastern natives can live as long as 100 years without water," says Suzannah Smith Miles in Charleston Magazine.
CREDIT: TEN STORIED SOUTHERN TREES, GARDEN AND GUN MAGAZINE
This creeping plant is a vital part of the habitats that provide food and shelter for birds, lizards, insects and mammals. The resurrection fern, which is easy to spot after a rain, has leathery, deeply cut fronds that are scaly on the back. They look good at about 2 inches wide and 7, or so, inches long.
CREDIT: THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
I am fascinated with this plant in nature as it takes me back to the splendor ofchildhood. I believe that when I create terrariums and floral arrangements that I am conserving this beauty in my mind, and going back to what I have always thought is pretty. And, what continue to think needs preserving. I hope that this post and my floral and botanical art and shop will lure folks into a conservation conversation and love of nature. I think we need to look lenses that are respectful of the beauty we have so that we can learn more about it and seek better balance.
Where I am from in the Deep South, a good book, a cold glass of sweet tea and the shade of an oak tree are staples in every day life and a beautiful curtain that backdrops of outdoor get togethers, weddings and events. We make terrariums and living centerpieces in the shop that event look like little forests with fern and fauna.
We have a special appreciation of trees and plants and it transcends into our living and making. If this post inspires you to create something magical with native blooms and leaves then please visit my shop, the Colonial House of Flowers. I hope you will find something there!