Now this is a festive specimen! This specimen of Polystichum acrostichoides, commonly known as Christmas fern, was collected on December 25, 2008 in the woods in Savage, Maryland by Wayne Longbottom. I assume the collector was also singing carols while putting this specimen in the plant press. Christmas fern is a common fern in our woods and fairly easy to recognize. Its name comes from the fact that it is an evergreen perennial, with green fronds even in the winter, including Christmas.
Check back for more! Botanists at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History share digital specimens from the herbarium on dates they were collected. They are in the midst of a three-year project to digitize nearly 190,000 plant specimens collected in the region, making images and other data publicly available online. This effort is part of the Mid-Atlantic Megalopolis Project (mamdigitization.org), a network of thirteen herbaria spanning the densely populated urban corridor from Washington, D.C. to New York City to achieve a greater understanding of our urban areas, including the unique industrial and environmental history of the greater Pittsburgh region. This project is made possible by the National Science Foundation under grant no. 1801022.
Mason Heberling is Assistant Curator of Botany at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working at the museum.
Check out more holiday plants from our collection!