We steal as in a castle, cocksure; we have the receipt of fern-seed, we walk invisible.
Nay, by my faith, I think you are more beholding to the night than to fern-seed for your walking invisible.
~Shakespeare, Henry IV Part 1, Act II, Scene i.
These ceramic tiles of ferns are based on the botanical watercolors done by Albert Robert Valentien between 1898 and 1918. There are eight.
Ferns are said to be among the most magical of plants. In folklore, fern seeds were believed to convey invincibility, should one have the luck and skill to collect them: Their gifts are invisibility, love, chastity, and protection from evil, and unlocking doors that would otherwise be closed. The "wish seeds" of ferns break free in the dead of night, attracting good fortune to whomever finds them.
Note: Ferns to do not propogate by seeds, but by spores that are invisible to the naked eye. Fern spores are single-cells with a very tough external wall.
The Five-Finger Maidenhair,a cold-climate fern, grows abundantly on damp forest floors and cliffs in northern California, the Northwest, and across the Rocky mountains. In maidenhairs, the spore-bearing tissues lie beneath the rolled-under edges of the fan-shaped leaflets.
The Coastal Wood Fern is a large plant with somewhat leathery, deep green leaves that are 1 to 2.5 feet long. The leaves are in the form of a feather, with leaflets arranged along each side of a central stalk.
Fronds of the Giant Chain Fern can reach as high as nine feet. It is found only near streams, seeps, and springs. The indigenous peoples of California used it for thatching and basket weaving.
The Coffee Fern gets its name from its leaves, which are about the same size as coffee beans. It has leathery leaves and favors dry, rocky canyons from the northern coast of California into Baja.
California Polypody is found in the lush fern banks on shaded canyons and streamsides. The leaves curl and break off at the base in anticipation of seasonal rains. Its knotty extremities on the rhizomes are its "many feet", hence the name Polypodium Californicum.
Silverback Ferns grow in rock crevices or in dry soil in Woodland areas (Pentagramma Triangularis).
The Gridscale Maiden Fern. Maybe. Thelypteris Patens var. Patens, though found and painted by Valentien on his travels through California and the Northwest, has since been removed from the CalFlora index and is listed as "not native". Perhaps it was misidentified. This painting, however, is of the plant he found.
The petioles (leaf-steps) of the Western Sword Fern are densely scaly and its leaves, sword-like. New leaves appear from the crown in spring as little curled frods that later unfurl upward.
Also known as the California Blackberry, Rubus Ursinus grows throughout California and Oregon. They are eaten by songbirds, deer, bear, squirrels and is larval food for the western tiger swallowtail butterfly and others. Some Native American peoples used it as a medicinal plant.
Western Wood Strawberry. The Wood Strawberry is found in partial shade in forests. Although not shown, it's fruit is what you would expect, although smaller than cultivated varieties.
The fruit are small, but the thimbleberry has no prickles. It's found throughout California and Oregon.
Oregon Grape is particularly prominent in the Pacific Northwest, with shiny, holly-like leaves. It is most common in mountainous regions trough the Northwest and California.
Western Wild Ginger is native to the rich moist forests from British Columbia to California and as far east as western Montana. The flowrs are almost orchid-like, hairy and brownish-purpose to yellow green and are often concealed by its leaves. It isn't closely related to store-bought ginger, with a much milder taste, but was drunk as a spicey by Native Americans and European invaders since 1600.
Toyon is also called Christmas Berry or Christmas Holly and Hollywood was named for this plant. Easily growing to 8 or 10 feet tall, the flowers are a favorite of butterflies as well as mockingbords, robins and waxwings. Bears and coyotes also liek the berries.
These ceramic tiles of California and Pacific Northwest wildflowers are based on the botanical watercolors done by Albert Robert Valentien between 1898 and 1918. I am currently working on this section. Coming: Wild Ginger, Western Azalea, American Vetch, Checker Mallow, Oregeon Oxalis, Hound's Tongue, Chicory, Cow Parsnip, Kinnickinick (Whiteleaf) Manzanita, Mountain Lady Slipper, Bleeding Heart, Fawn Lily, Mount Hood Lily.
The Pacific Bleeding Heart, which Valentien calls the Oregon Bleeding Heart, has pink to purple to red and white flowers and grows as far north as British Comumbia and into the western slopes of the Slierra Nevada into the Coast ranges and central California. The subspecies we know as Oregana, is rare and has pale yellow or cream flowers. It grows in a small area of northwest California and southwest Oregon.
Valentien's Western Azalea is white, but the pink and white variation is more common.
Checker Bloom is a small native mallow that grows from Washington to central California and even parts of Baja California, but is limited to the Western US.
Mountain Lilac is attractive to pollinators and thrives in well-drained soil with little to no summer water.
Blue Elderberry is native from Oregon to Baja California and as far east as Texas. Its berries are one of the most importat food sources for birds in California and the Pacific Northwest.
Deer Brush is native to Arizona, New Mexico, California, Oregon, and Washington. The flowers are usually white or blue, and far less often, the pink that Valentien's specimen displayed. It grows in mixed forests, west and east of the Cascades and in the Columbia River Gorge, as well as into California.
Monkey Flower grows along the banks of streams and seeps in Western North America and through Oregon and California. It is well-beloved by hummingbirds and pollinators.
Showy Milkweed is native to much of the western US. A perennial, it grow sto about 4 feet tall. It is crucial to the survival of the endangered Monarch butterfly. Alkaloids in the plant make the caterpillars taste bad to predators.
Western Columbine is native to Western North America, from Alas to Baja California and east to Montana and Wyoming. It prefers moist locations such as stream banks and needs summer water and light shade in the afternoon.
Lewisa Cotyledon is named after Merriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark expedition. This pant can be found clinging to rocky outcrops, wedged into crevices, and in cracks on canyon walls. Its candy-stripe flowers rest against dark green leaves. It's a threatened species in northern California.
Shooting Stars are native to North American valleys and mountains where consistent moisture is available. They are a favorite of deer and elk.
Title: California and Pacific Northwest Ferns and Wildflowers
Tile: Ceramic or Tumbled Marble Stone
Size: 6 inch square tiles
*Also available in 4.25 inch tiles (ceramic) and 4 inch tiles (tumbled)
4.25 inch square tiles: $44 each
6 inch square tiles: $55 each
8 inch square tiles: $73 each
4 inch square tiles: $62 each
6 inch square tiles: $77 each