Discover Nature: Learn to Identify Christmas Ferns in Missouri's Landscape

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December 13 - December 19 Discover Nature this week as you learn to identify the Christmas fern in Missouri’s landscape. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Christmas ferns will be most visible on woodland slopes this week. Most ferns are annual in Missouri, though the Christmas fern overwinters and adds color to our winter season. Knowing the anatomy of a plant is the first key to identification. Leaves of ferns range from quite large to very small. The above ground stem portion is called the stipe and the expanded portion is called the blade. The stipe and blade together form the frond. The fronds of Christmas ferns grow to 60 centimeters tall and arch out from the center of the plant, like a typical fern. Christmas ferns tolerate more sun and less water than others, and can be found on shaded, rocky wooded slopes throughout Missouri, though less common in the northwestern counties. If you want to deepen your plant identification skills, you can keep an eye out for

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