navigation page


September 18 2021

is the link to the YouTube video of a webinar I gave last fall..

It was an introduction to common ferns in New England, specifically Newton Massachusetts. It was sponsored by the Newton Conservators.


August 26 2021

I have led two walks that were not open to the public, one for Urban Naturalists and one for the New England Botanical Society. I am posting one for next month that is open to anyone, in Newton MA.


April 1 2021

We have taken a year off. No walks, no herbaria, one Zoom class. I'm vaccinated now. Maybe 2021 will be better.

First fern of 2021 has emerged in my yard, Polypodium virginianum.


February 5 2020

I posted this year's free fern walk in Newton MA, Saturday June 6


May 28 2019

I added another award to the list.


May 22 2019

I updated the list of ferns in my garden. I seem to have lost the Pacific coastal Sword fern over the winter. I left the pot outdoors. Everything else made it through OK. The Woodsia obtusa is having babies in the nearby sidewalk cracks.


April 3 2019

I was acknowledged ("Dedicated to") in a new book

Identifying Ferns the Easy Way - A Pocket Guide to Common Ferns of the Northeast

by Lynne Levine, illustrated by Briony Morrow-Cribbs.

Heartwood Press 2019


June 6 2018

Fern walk in Newton's Cold Spring Park this Saturday!

Janurary 9 2017

I replaced the photo of Walking fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum) with one by Richard Barry that shows frond tips starting new plantlets.


September 22 2016

Another photo of a garden visitor.


August 5 2016

I added two classes for October, a horticulture class in my garden and a fern walk in Adamant Vermont.


July 20 2016

Newly photographed garden visitor.


July 7 2016

Two new photos, onion in garden perennials and chipmunk in garden visitors. I intend to add more flower pix shortly.


January 22 2016

I have updated and reformatted the chart of emergence dates for ferns in my garden. I have performed an analysis comparing the average weekly emergence numbers per week for the period 1993-2002 vs 2006-2015, and found that the dates have shifted later rather than earlier as global warming might imply. However my web editor is being balky about uploading the files. Here should be the page allowing access to the new information.


August 23 2015

Added a recent photo of a garden visitor.


July 21 2015

Posted field trip in Rhode Island on September 27


April 12 2015

New photo on the Garden Visitors page.


March 22 2015

I posted my classes for this summer.


November 14 2014

I added my latest article in the Newton Conservators newsletter about evergreen ferns. It's in .pdf format (open with Adobe Reader).


August 22 2014

I finally updated the chart of emergence dates of ferns in my garden, to include the last three years.


August 17 2014

I added a very funny article about botanical nomenclature.


July? 2014

I added a chart about ferns' place in the world. (Just in time for a Discovering Native Ferns class.)


June 28 2014

The chickadee babies left the nest today! The nest was in the old cherry tree; the parents hollowed out the broken trunk. Six? eggs, all but one hatched, at least three babies have taken off. This one was hopping and resting for a while, but it's flying well enough to be gone for now.

All 44 pteridophyte taxa made it through the winter. I have updated the emergence chart and will post it soon.


February 3 2014

I edited and reformatted the Topics section, and included a few articles I wrote for the Newton Conservators Newsletter.


December 6 2013

New county maps from showing new finds of Polypodium appalachianum and P. X incognitum.

Also, the NEWFS classes for 2014 are included now.


February 11 2013

I added a navigation page so visitors can have another way to move around the site.


January 17 2013

I added the list of pteridophytes we saw at Bear Swamp in Ashfield MA last summer and 2011.


January 13 2013

I am adding a discussion of a fern Ray & I found last summer, a new state record for Massachusetts, Simulated Log fern, or Dryopteris X mickelii.


December 18 2012

I have posted the NEWFS class schedule for 2013.


December 5 2012

I added a page for publications, and updated the page of awards, both linked from the home page. This in honor of the publication of our article on the flora of the Middlesex Fells in the NEBC journal Rhodora.


November 1 2012

Saw a new bird in the yard! A sleepy Barred Owl.


February 26 2012

I added a fern walk for June 2 in Webster Conservation Area in Newton MA.


January 15 2012

I have created a new page for projects I am working on (or have done). The latest is a collection of Polypodium taxa from multiple New England counties.


November 21 2011

I posted the NEWFS class schedule for 2012.


June 25 2011

New site list: Wompatuck State Park in Hingham MA


June 14 2011

I have finally updated the chart of fern emergence dates in my garden, and actually linked to the graphical summary.


June 13 2011

New site list: Limerock Reservation in Lincoln, RI


June 11 2011

NEW PIC: Comparison of frond apices of Cinnamon and Interrupted ferns.


June 9 2011

My table of site lists of ferns I have seen was somehow damaged, and half the links disappeared. I think it is functional again now.


May 17 2011

New Link to a display of Rhode Island Ferns that Kathy Barton has organized. It uses her photographs and mine and others, and some identification notes I submitted.


May 5 2011

NEW PIC: Catbird

Spring is good. 39 of 44 ferns have returned so far, and 3 others are coming. Still waiting for Marsh and Purple Cliffbrake.


Februeary 25 2011

NEW PIC: Red-tailed Hawk watching the back yard


January 20 2011

I added a discussion of growing ferns from spores to the Topics section.


January 14 2011

NEW PIC: Junco at back yard feeder.

The Rhode Island workshop is now set for June 12.

Also I edited the Introduction to Ferns section with the help of Melanie Schori. Thanks Melanie.


January 7 2011

Here is the mildest of the photos I took after a falcon visited our back yard yesterday. Poor house sparrow. Lots more where that came from.


December 27 '10

I added classes for 2011. There are five scheduled for NEWFS, and a lecture in August at the Cambridge Library. I will insert any other classes, e.g. another Harold Parker SF hike and a trip in Newton, as they are scheduled.


August 19 '10

I wrote down the introduction I have been using for our fern survey workshops.



August 17 '10

NEW SITE LIST: Delta Institute in Bowdoin Maine


August 2 '10

NEW PICS: Tansy , Mint, and Bee in Mint. Also Queen Anne's Lace.


July 13 '10

I made some corrections to the chart of conservation status of New England Pteridophytes. I inserted Lycopodium (Spinulum) canadense which had been omitted in error, updated Massachusetts entries with revised information from MA Natural Heritage, and updated New Hampshire entries with new information via Alice Schori.


July 8 '10

NEW PICS: Hydrangea and mustard in garden

We had 100 degrees with a dew point of 71. Not nice.


June 21 '10


Fern Walk in Harold Parker State Forest, Andover MA

Wednesday June 30 10AM at the Campgrounds off Jenkins Rd.


June 11 '10

Sunday's field trip to Estabrook Woods has filled, with 15 signed up.


June 8 '10

NEW PIC: Red Admiral butterfly


May 28

I have expanded the Green Award section linked from the home page to include two awards from the Newton Conservators.


May 18 '10

NEW PIX: Mourning Dove and Geraniums


April 26 '10

We're no longer so far ahead of schedule, but a wonderful spring. 41 of 44 fern taxa have started, and flowers are lush this year. Look at our crabapple - it has never done this before.


April 8 '10

Is this global warming? I don't think it's just Allston. At the end of the first week of April, I see 31 of my 44 ferns emerging, with 24 entirely "up". This is two weeks ahead of average. Not that I'm complaining. Yesterday hit 90 degrees, though the coming week is predicted to be under 60, so maybe we'll get back to schedule later this month.


January 13 '10

I added a list of pteridophytes seen at Quincy Bog in Rumney NH with Alice Schori in 2008 and 2009.


December 8 '09

We have decided on the New England Wild Flower Society schedule for 3 field trips and two workshops next year, so I have added them to CLASSES.


November 13 '09

I added a new comparative page for the Polypody complex showing scans of fresh fronds of the three taxa.


October 12 '09

I updated the author page, including mention of the new Newton Conservators Almanac I co-authored.


October 2 '09

I posted a list of the two dozen herbarium donations we have made, including several county records.


September '09

Here's a link to some of the photos I took in Concord for their Biodiversity Day survey July 4. They misspelled my name. Oh well.


September 3 '09

Added our list to date of pteridophytes seen at the Harold Parker State Forest, Andover MA.


August 25 '09

Added a list of the pteridophytes we saw at the White Memorial forest in Litchfield CT when we gave our Survey of New England Ferns workshop there.


August 7 '09

Added our fall field trip to the Blue Hills on September 26 in Classes.


June 29 '09

I added a taxon list for Opacum Woods in Sturbridge MA, site of our recent field trip. The moonworts were impressive.


June 9 '09

I updated the chart of emergence weeks for ferns in my garden, and also the chart of pteridophyte florae of the parks and conservation areas of Newton MA


June 4'09

NEW PIC: peony

In May this site has received hits at an average rate of one every two minutes, which is fairly typical for the last few years. At least 6% of them were from folks  in the Russian Federation. Neat. It is unusual for any domain designation other than .net or .com (or unknown) to exceed 3%. I wonder what the specific attraction was, though the diagram of named parts of a fern frond and photographs of some club-mosses were popular. I am very glad to be of service, whatever the reason.


May 11 '09

I found some Selaginella apoda in the Middlesex Fells Reservation, and added the item to the list for that site.


May 1 '09

NEW PIC: mocking bird


April 28 '09

NEW PIX: violets, small pink flower


April 22 '09

NEW PIC: white lily


April 5 '09

NEW PIC: A robin visited our garden. Now he is on the Visitors list.


March 3 '09

After some battle with my editing software, I have posted a reformatted Key to New England Ferns which includes the species not in Massachusetts.


January 16 '09


I took nice photos of a cardinal and a song sparrow. in the front yard.


December 8 '08

We have settled on our NEWFS course schedule for next year. We start with a field trip to Opacum Woods.


November 13 '08

I finally updated the chart of emergence dates for ferns in my garden.


July 24 '08


And in the sunflowers, another visitor.


July 22 '08

NEW PIC: Sunflower

Not technically a perennial, perhaps, but like violets and mustard they return every year with no effort on my part.


July 21 '08

We set up another field trip with the New England Wild Flower Society, to Mt. Toby in Leverett north of Amherst, on September 27.


July 16 '08

The Boston Globe published an article about Don in the City Weekly section of July 13, relating partly to an award received from Boston's Mayor Tom Menino. A page linking these documents may be found here.

NEW PIC: Helleborine


June 12 '08

NEW PIC: The evening primrose in my garden is blooming now.


June 4 '08

NEW PIC: A 10x photograph of Selaginella apoda by Jason Hollinger, from his "pellaea" flickr site.


June 2 '08

NEW PIX: More garden perrenials chives and comfrey

All but two or three of the ferns returned after the winter. Dryopteris crassirhizoma, clintoniana, and perhaps goldiana are not yet visible.


April 24 '08

NEW PIX: I added a collection of garden visitors. They're not even plants, but some are cute anyway.


April 22 '08

NEW PIC: Here is a photo of the Guinea Hen Flower, Frittelaria, except that this one is all white without the purple checkered look We got some warm weather, and I can see two thirds of the ferns now.


April 17 '08

NEW PIX: I added photos of crocus, scilla, and myrtle to the collection of pictures of perennials in my garden. Spring is a bit late this year, and quite welcome.One third of the ferns are up so far.


November 9 '07

News flash! Ray Angelo fixed his website to work with Mozilla FireFox now! See distribution by county of all of New England's pteridophyte taxa. Information has been recently updated. (It includes several new finds I reported.)

Also I got my real phone # back: 617-A-LIVING


October 9 '07

NEW PIC: Cyclamen (Garden perennial)


September 12 '07

NEW PIC: Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Garden perennial)


August 29 '07

We just arranged another field trip in Newton, along the Blue Heron Trail that runs just south of Nahanton Park, byt the Charles River near West Roxbury.

Also, my phone # at this point is 617-208-8689. I will try to get 617-A-Living back, as I had that # for 40 years, but SunRocket went out of business very abruptly, taking everyone's money and phone #s with them. Grrr.


June 30 '07

I added a list of the pteridophytes seen in the Middlesex Fells, north of Boston. I have been helping Bryan Hamlin with his five year survey of vascular plants. The last thorough survey was published in 1896.


May 31 '07

The "/taxa/listall.htm" page, which has links to the photos and data for all the species, just got its 10,000th hit on this server, where I installed this website 2 1/2 years ago. The version on the old server started 4 1/2 years ago, had another 5,000 hits to that page before I closed it down.

Thank you all for your many visits.


April '07

I added a chart of the optimal time of year for hunting certain species in New England.


December '06

Our 2007 classes and field trips sponsored by the New England Wild Flower Society are now posted. We may add a few others.


October '06

I have finally closed my account at (or

There is no longer a copy of this website at that URL. This is the only version and URL for this website anymore. I hope that anyone with a printed address of the old site manages to find this one via a search engine.


September 14 '06

Added maps of the locations of the less common species seen in the survey of open spaces in Newton Massachusetts.


August 18 '06

Replaced photographs of Dryopteris clintoniana and Equisetum sylvaticum, and added pictures of Vermont Wood fern and fertile Male fern. I compiled a page that shows the sori placement of Vermont Wood fern and both parents for comaparison.


August 8 '06

Updated lists for Montshire and the Hobbs Fern Sanctuary.


June 19 '06

Added a site list for the Montshire Museum of Science grounds in Norwich VT


June 8 '06

Added a site list for Bartholomew's Cobble.


May 10 '06

Updated the two charts concerning the emergence dates of ferns in my garden. Everything pretty much on average schedule, with 45 of 47 ferns emerged to date. Dryopteris dilatata is late; Phegopteris hexagonoptera is due in a couple more weeks. After the serious losses of the previous two winters, with sustained -4 F temperatures, it is a relief to see almost everything return.

I even seem to have a spontaneous infant Asplenium trichomanes in a spot beneath a beautiful plant of that species that died a few years ago.


January 31 '06

Added a chart of the ferns and horsetail in the many parks in Newton MA, as I have joined the Newton Land Management Committee.


November 28 '05

Edited various pages, and added several new DATA pages.


October 6 '05

I added a SiteList for the Middleboro MA field trip we led last Sunday. 33 taxa.


September 2 '05

I just received a copy of the newly revised PETERSON FIELD GUIDE: Ferns of Northeastern and Central North America, second edition.

Besides Boughton Cobb, the new authors are Elizabeth Farnsworth and Cheryl Lowe, of the New England Wild Flower Society, at least until recently.

Many more species are included, the taxonomy and nomenclature have been revised and updated, and there are some (small) color photographs. It should be available in stores as of 9/12'05, I have heard.


August 20 '05

NEW PICS: Stipes of Adiantum pedatum and Deparia acrostichoides

NEW DATA: Dryopteris clintoniana


July 24 '05

NEW PICS: Photographs of Athyrium filix-femina fertile frond showing pinnule shape, and stipes showing scales ("hairy legs").

Also fertile end of Polystichum acrostichoides frond.


May 28 '05

I have replaced the chart of dates on which my garden ferns have emerged with a more elaborate one the includes average dates and ranks them correctly. I have added a summary chart that gives the percent emerged per day for each week.

I seem to have lost four species over this winter, which was milder and much more snow-blanketed than the winter of 2004, which each of these had survived. Go figure.


April 25 '05

I have posted keys to identify Massachusetts fern species, and the non-fern pteridophyte species of New England. I will probably revise them a bit at some point.


April 23 '05

Some spring finally, but still mostly cool. More than half my garden ferns are up, and no real sign I've lost any yet. I have been posting weekly updates of the taxa as they emerge, and will post some analysis this summer. The new Cystopteris protrusa seems to have accepted the colder climate, and the Dryopteris expansa is willing to grow south of its range.

Thanks for the 50,000 hits and gigabyte of photos y'all looked at since September.

Hi to the folks in Japan, Poland, Canada, Romania, and Finland who have accounted for one sixth of the traffic this month.


January 26 '05

NEW PICS: Isoetes riparia and I. tuckermanii

I have added links to images of the megaspores of all the native Isoetes. The photomicrographs are actually hosted on Arthur Haines' new website.


January 9 '05

I have posted our classes for spring and summer: the Massachusetts survey class and two field trips. June 5 we'll visit a rich area near Boston, in the Blue Hills; August 6 we'll see the newly acquired Hobbs Fern Sancuary in New Hampshire.


November 3 '04

NEW PICS: Tokyo Wood Fern and the hybrid Dryopteris x burgessii (D. clintoniana x marginalis) Also a recent photo of the Governor Laffan's Fern babies.

Marge From of the Omaha Zoo brought some of the juvenile Diplazium laffanianum she has been propagating back to Tulo Valley Nursery in Bermuda, where they seem to be doing well enough so far. This is exciting because there are only three adults of this endemic left in the world.

I have noticed that is faster than was. I have also noticed that I get lots of statistics now. Hello to the folks in Sweden, Romania, Australia, NewZealand, Austria, Belgium, Namibia, Canada, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico Japan, Taiwan, Seychelles, and Netherlands who have been visiting. US too.


September 14 '04

I aquired the domain and posted this site at

The new counters are working. All I have to do now is publicize the change, have search engines notice the new placement, and synchronize changes at the two locations, or perhaps phase out site and leave only a forwarding link.


August '04

I added another key, for New England quillworts.


July 17 '04

I posted a key I made for New England horsetails, and a data page for each species.

NEW PICS: Three more detail pictures of horsetails, downloaded from the internet. Thanks.


July 2 '04:

I surveyed the open spaces of Allston/Brighton MA, such as they are, and posted a chart of the 61 stations I found: 9 ferns and a horsetail. Rather pathetic, but at least I found some.

NEWPIC: A silhouette of the lower part of a frond of Dryopteris x benedictii, taken in Lyman NH.


June '04:

Last winter was pretty rough. I seem to have lost 11 plants (5 species) if I count 2 plants that emerged but have since lost their fronds. I've added 7 new plants, and hope at least to break even on the year.

I have updated the bibliography page a bit, adding Arthur Haines' work on clubmosses and firmosses.

NEWPIC: A photomicrograph of the stipe of Dennstaedtia punctilobula showing the two distinct types of white hairs, one long and the other glandular.


October '03:

NEW PICS: A photo of Ray Abair linked from the CLASSES page, new taxon Lycopodium (Spinulum) canadense, and details of the horsetails Equisetum pratense and E. sylvaticum.

The site lists for the Hobbs Fern Sanctuary and the Oxbow Wildlife Refuge include new taxa.

There seems to be a HTML error on the front page (index.html) such that the Bermuda link appears to apply to all the links on the page. On some MacIntosh machines or in Netscape, the link actually works incorrectly, and one must then find one's way around from the Bermuda page. In IExplorer, the link changes to the correct location as you click it. If anyone can explain this error to me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Also, my server has become somewhat erratic. If you can't access this site sometime, try again later (hour or week).


August '03:

I have added a chart showing the conservation status of each taxon in each New England state.

NEW PIC: Fertile Matteuccia struthiopteris in my garden. (I would have added Dryopteris tokyoensis, but Brooks Pharmacy lost my film!)

Thanks to Leslie Duthie at Norcross, I added Rusty Woodsia to my garden, replaced the long lost Hairy Lipfern, and reinforced the presence of Purple Cliffbrake, Roberts Oak, and Broad Beech ferns.


 July 14'03:

NEW PICS: Diphasiastrum sitchense, courtesy of Arthur Haines, and new sporophytes of Diplazium laffanianum that Leslie Duthie has managed to produce.


Late March '03:

NEW PICS: I photographed Thelypteris kunthii, Asplenium trichomanes-dentatum, Blechnum occidentale (2), Ctenitis sloanei, Goniopteris bermudiana, Pecluma pumula (2 more), Phymatosorus scolopendria (fertile), and 4 more details of Diplazium laffanianum. Also, from the web, Azolla caroliniana.

REPLACED PICS: Psilotum nudum, Adiantum bellum, Cyrtomium falcatum, Pteris longifolia

My new photos complete the set of Bermuda pteridophytes.



I added a page about Bermuda and a Topic about Diplazium laffanianum.




I finished collecting voucher specimens from Mt. Wachusett, and delivered the last of them to the herbarium at U. Mass. Amherst.

Two and a half years ago Ray Abair and I visited a site in Lyman N.H. where he had seen Dryopteris goldiana and a swamp with hybrid Wood Ferns. I found another uncommon species, which turned out to be only the third site in the state. The property was recently donated to the New England Wild Flower Society, and it will be the 248 acre Hobbs Fern Sanctuary.

Diplazium laffanianum, or Gov. Laffan's Fern, was endemic to Bermuda. It died out in the wild, but has been kept alive in the Botanical Garden near Hamilton for over 90 years. The remaining 5 plants were transferred to a nursery when the Fern Room was refurbished as an art gallery last year. At my suggestion, a frond bearing spores was sent to Marge From at the propagation laboratory at the Omaha Zoo, in Nebraska. The spores germinated for her, but the tiny plantlets have been growing very slowly. As a backup, she sent some spores to Leslie Duthie of the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary in western Massachusetts. She too has now achieved germination. Perhaps soon, for the first time in a century, there will be a new plant of this species.



NEW PIC: Huperzia appalachiana



NEW PIC: fertile Cystopteris bulbifera

NEW DATA: Asplenium trichomanes 

NEW SITE LIST: New Hampshire



NEW PICS: Lycopodiella x gilmanii (appressa x inundata), Dryopteris x dowellii (clintoniana x intermedia) and detail, Salvinia sp.

REPLACED PICS: Toad Lily perennial, Asplenium platyneuron, Dryopteris erythrosora

I believe this makes 149 images of 150 taxa. Only 13 still have no image (though more taxa could be included), and 11 have two or more images.



I added alternative labels to the pteridophyte images from my photographs, or which are otherwise unavailable on the Web. This should make it easier for image search engines to find them. But since visits resulting from such searches will probably bypass the front page counter, I may never know.

 NEW PIC: fertile Onoclea sensibilis, Dryopteris marginalis



REPLACED PICS: Phegopteris hexagonoptera, Gymnocarpium dryopteris



NEW PICS: Equisetum pratense, Equisetum scirpoides, Botrychium rugulosum, and Dryopteris x uliginosa. These pics are from the web, not my camera.



NEW PICS: Trichomanes intricatum diagram, Lycopodium lagopus, fertile Pteridium aquilinum, Equisetum variegatum, Isoëtes echinospora and detail, Diphasiastrum sabinifolium

 REPLACED PICS: Diphasiastrum tristachyum



NEW PICS: fertile Woodwardia virginica, Polystichum polyblepharum, Davalia

 REPLACED PICS: Woodwardia virginica, Cyrtomium falcatum


8/27'02: Added link to Connecticut Botanical Society. Great new site! Also updated link to FERNET listserver.


 8/14'02: This page is new. People who have visited the site before can check in here to find recent additions.

I now have images for 123 of the 147 pteridophyte taxa included on this site. A few taxa have multiple images.

Our survey class and 2 field trips went well (though first trip in heavy rain drew one diehard soul). We have added a trip October 6 to Bolton Lime Kiln.

NEW PICS: Cystopteris protrusa, Dryopteris celsa

REPLACED PICS: Adiantum pedatum, Adiantum radianum, Athyrium japonicum


July '02:

NEW PICS: Lycopodium dendroideum, Dryopteris crassirhizoma, Cryptogramma acrostichoides


May '02:

NEW PICS: Lycopodium hickeyi, L. obscurum detail, Botrychium dissectum f. dissectum; Plum and Wisteria perennials

NEW SITE LISTS: Horn Pond Mtn., Woburn MA; Bolton Lime Kiln, Bolton MA

New diagram of frond morphological terms in "TOPICS"


March '02:

NEW PICS: Adiantum aleuticum, Polypodium appalachianum

REVISED PIC: Lycopodiella appressa

"TOPICS" section rebuilt



NEW PICS: Ophioglossum pusillum (sterile and fertile fronds); Asplenium x ebenoides; Toad Lily perennial