Sweetfern – 5/23/10
Observer: Paul Lauenstein
Observation Date: 5/23/10
Observation Time: 3:00 p.m.
Observation Location: near Gavins Pond
Common Name: Sweetfern
Scientific Name: Comptonia peregrina
Comments: Sweetfern leaves are very aromatic. Edible fruit ripens in July and August. Sweetfern partners with actinomycete fungus that live in its root nodules to fix atmospheric nitrogen, so it can flourish in infertile soil. The soil in the area near Gavins Pond is relatively infertile because fill for the nearby Highway I-95 was taken from this area. It appears on some maps as “Sand Pits.”
The common name, sweetfern, is confusing, as it is not a fern. It is a deciduous shrub, growing to a maximum of five feet tall.
More Information: Wikipedia