Pentagramma triangularis: Goldenback Fern

Sunday, February 25, 2018

This western North American fern is beautiful with golden spores on its underside and bright green five-lobed and triangular fronds.  Penta  means "five" and gramma means "lined", so I will be able to remember the name of this fern. 

If you aren't looking, you might miss it, as they don't get very big, and go dormant in the summer months.  Mine is just now starting to pop up with the recent rains.  The stems are a dark, almost black, color, and are very pretty.

According to Dan Moerman's Native American Ethnobotanical Database, the Karok used the fronds as an analgesic for the afterpains of childbirth, the Miwok chewed the fronds to treat toothaches, and Yurok children would press the goldenback fronds on to their skin to create a golden impression or design.  I am so excited to know about this database, and will be using it often!


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