Friday, August 23, 2013

Sweet Fern at Alford Springs, Alford

Sweet Fern along the trail at Alford Springs, Alford.
I love the smell of Sweet Fern! Whenever I find it, I lightly rub my hands together with some leaves in between to release a delightful scent of new-mown hay. I remember when I was a child how excited my father would be as he shared with me the wonderful aroma of this plant.

Although the distinctive leaf somewhat resemble a fern, it actually is not a fern, but a low shrub that sometimes forms a ground cover as in the photo above. Native Americans used Sweet Fern tea for various illnesses. Today, some rub the leaves on their neck and ears to keep the bugs away and use a strong tea for skin rashes including poison ivy. One year, my sister and I dried some and used it to make sachets for Christmas presents.

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