The workshop will be led by Carl Rothfels, curator of ferns at UC Berkeley’s University Herbarium.
Become fern fluent! This workshop will be a crash-course introduction to the ferns of the world, with a focus on species that can be observed in the wild in California. We will learn the basics of fern morphology (What is an indusium? Is a frond just a leaf by another name?), fern ecology (including the spectacular desert ferns of the southwest), fern development, and fern evolution (are ferns “ancient” plants? What are their closest living relatives? Why did all the Cheilanthes in California just become Myriopteris?). We’ll end the course with a trip to Bidwell Park to observe some of the profusion of ferns growing there. The goal is to turn all course participants into skilled fern-observers: when next you see a fern you’ll understand what is, what it does, how it does it, and where it came from, evolutionarily-speaking. Participants are encouraged to bring any mystery ferns they might have (e.g., photos, leaves, or potted plants) to test the group’s new-found identification skills.