Crested Wood Fern

Crested Wood Fern

Deep within the boggy darkness of woodland swamps, the long vibrant green fronds of the Crested Wood Fern thrive. A species of plant that is more than 360 million years old, the fern gets its name from “feather” or “wing.”

Although rarely eaten today, many Native American elders in the Pacific Northwest, remember “fern food” as a traditional part of their diet.  After harvesting the fern, its pineapple shaped  roots were steamed or baked in a pit. In Kimsquit and Heiltsuk mythology there is a story about how Raven, who was roasting fern root over a fire, wanted goat fat for his children to eat. Raven met Wolverine who had just been given some by goat person. When Raven went to goat-person for goat fat he came away empty handed.

Source: The Journal of Ethnobiology

Crested Wood Fern - Aspidium cristatum  Illustration from Charting Nature's Vintage Fern Collection

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  • Robert Donahue
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