Evergreen Licorice Fern and Sitka Spruce

From: $65.00

In a dense coast range forest just inland from the Pacific Ocean, a clump of epiphytic Evergreen Licorice Fern (Polypodium scouleri) grows upon an old-growth Sitka Spruce. The Evergreen Licorice Fern is closely related to the more widely distributed Licorice Fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza) but is more typically found within the zone of coastal fog. Located near Heceta Head, the canopy of this mature forest has become closed, and only diffuse light now penetrates to the forest floor.  Without adequate light in the forest’s midstory, the giant Sitka’s begin the process of shedding their lower limbs.  A forest which is actively dropping limbs is a dangerous place to be, and especially so during high winds, or after the first big rain of winter when they suddenly absorb hundreds of pounds of moisture. Hearkening from those earlier days of logging, these limbs are still referred to as ‘widow makers’, and its not hard to imagine a three hundred pound limb falling from 70 feet as being deadly.  I once spent nine days in the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness, when a tremendous first rain arrived in late autumn.  That was a sleepless night, twice feeling the ground shake when nearby, whole trees came down, and in the morning there were freshly fallen limbs deeply embedded like javelin in the forest floor.  From the eminently beautiful, and often overlooked Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon coast Range.

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Image Number: 361-45-489s

Description

In a dense coast range forest just inland from the Pacific Ocean, a clump of epiphytic Evergreen Licorice Fern (Polypodium scouleri) grows upon an old-growth Sitka Spruce. The Evergreen Licorice Fern is closely related to the more widely distributed Licorice Fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza) but is more typically found within the zone of coastal fog. Located near Heceta Head, the canopy of this mature forest has become closed, and only diffuse light now penetrates to the forest floor.  Without adequate light in the forest’s midstory, the giant Sitka’s begin the process of shedding their lower limbs.  A forest which is actively dropping limbs is a dangerous place to be, and especially so during high winds, or after the first big rain of winter when they suddenly absorb hundreds of pounds of moisture. Hearkening from those earlier days of logging, these limbs are still referred to as ‘widow makers’, and its not hard to imagine a three hundred pound limb falling from 70 feet as being deadly.  I once spent nine days in the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness, when a tremendous first rain arrived in late autumn.  That was a sleepless night, twice feeling the ground shake when nearby, whole trees came down, and in the morning there were freshly fallen limbs deeply embedded like javelin in the forest floor.  From the eminently beautiful, and often overlooked Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon coast Range.

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