Fern, Interrupted

life_in_maine_interrupted_fernInterrupted fern, Osmunda claytoniana, is common in throughout Maine—this specimen being in our forest. The dark green leaves in the center of the stalk are not actually leaves, but sporangia, spore-bearing structures. Once the plant releases its spores, these structures will wither and fall off, resulting in a gap in the frond, and giving this fern its name.
life_in_maine_interrupted_fern2Click on either image for a larger view.