Sweet-fern Comptonia peregrina
Family: Myricaceae (Wax-myrtle)
Branching: Alternate

Sweet-fern is not actually a fern, but a short shrub.  Once learned, it's very distinctive and has a fragrant smell when crushed.  It doesn't really grow much higher than knee-level but can form dense thickets.

Winter twig of Sweet-fern

Twigs are usually a little hairy

Closeup of a lateral bud.

Sometimes leaves are retained through the winter.  They are slender and lobed (they look a little like
fern fronds, hence the common name)

Back to the main page

copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
please email me with any questions, comments, or errors