This morning I was looking through a collection of photos which appeared on this blog several years ago. They would have disappeared into digital oblivion had Joan Ryan not saved them, as my hard drive failed and I had no backups. These photos were shot in the Hannibal area around 2006-2007.
The first two are of one of my favorite species of primitive fern, the Rattlesnake Fern (one or another species of Botrychium, probably virginiana). This fern has triangular fronds radiating from a central stalk. At the top of the stalk clusters of sporangia unfurl gracefully, resembling clusters of grapes. Another common name for the plant is the Grape Fern.
An overall view:
I like this photo, a close-up of the clusters of spherical sporangia. The sunlight was just right:
Another photo I’m fond of is this one of an oak leaf snatched from the air as it fell. The culprit? An unusually quick-moving shagbark hickory tree. I can imagine the hickory flicking out one of its bark flakes and seizing the hapless dead leaf, which would have rather been free to moulder in peace with its kin. Those hickories can be mischievous when humans aren’t around.