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Book Review: “Identifying Ferns the Easy Way” by Lynn Levine

By Nancy Patch, CHC Vice Chair & Co-Founder

First published by Forest Stewards Guild on July 16, 2019

I recently had the pleasure of obtaining a copy of this little book and field guide by Forest Stewards Guild member, Forester, and Ecologist Lynn Levine. There are several things that stand out in this book, which I would like to elaborate on here, but the book’s most important aspect is its accessibility. Lynn makes it easy and a pleasure to seek out and learn about the common ferns in our woods. I must say, this is no surprise as Lynn has been educating landowners and citizens for 40 years as a forester and owner of Forest Care Consulting.

But to the book. It is a thin compact book that can be taken directly to the field for discovery. There are 28 ferns beautifully described with precise drawings and information about each fern that will help in identification. Each page has information on where the fern is found (rocky faces, wet ground, limestone, etc.; several tips on form, height, and specific things like “the blade tears easily"; which other ferns may be similar or add confusion and, my favorite part…interesting notes. One such note on the Interrupted Fern states that its fossil record is more than 200 million years old, three times earlier than the dinosaurs’ extinction.

The book starts out with extensive information that will help both beginners and experienced woods walkers/botanists. It starts with, How to Start, how to look at the woods and where the fern is growing, how to observe, how to look at the basic structure and silhouette of the fern. Lynn breaks down the fern by using simple groupings of leaf or frond morphology, and clearly defining botanical terms. Another favorite part of the book for me was the description of what a fern is, its incredible geologic history and the unique and amazing reproductive life cycle. Simply fascinating!

All lovers of the woods, plants, and the earth should have this book. You can easily learn these 28 fern species with Lynn’s help. Wow yourself and your friends with this new knowledge about these unique plants in our backyard.

This book is available through Heartwood Press now!