Sweetfern – 5/23/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/23/10

Observation Time: 3:00 p.m.

Observation Location: near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Sweetfern

Scientific Name: Comptonia peregrina

Comments: Sweetfern leaves are very aromatic. Edible fruit ripens in July and August. Sweetfern partners with actinomycete fungus that live in its root nodules to fix atmospheric nitrogen, so it can flourish in infertile soil. The soil in the area near Gavins Pond is relatively infertile because fill for the nearby Highway I-95 was taken from this area. It appears on some maps as “Sand Pits.”

The common name, sweetfern, is confusing, as it is not a fern. It is a deciduous shrub, growing to a maximum of five feet tall.

More Information: Wikipedia