Cuplet Fern chapter was carved-out from the breakup of the large central Florida chapter called Tarflower chapter back in 2010 when administrative liason to Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) State, Karina Veaudry, devised the Seminole county chapter. Rick Ehle, the first President of our chapter, was asked to help initiate it. Initially, the chapter was going to be called the Bald Cypress chapter. It was due to Rick, and his study of the cuplet fern, that our chapter received its name.
The first Cuplet Fern meeting in 2010! With Rick Ehle, Permelia Ehle, Estelle Hurwitch, Sherry Williams, Susan Angermeier, Charles Miller, Graham Williams, Shari King, Richard Poole, Christine Brown, Neta Villalobos-Bell, and Gabrielle Milch (among many others).
Cuplet fern, or Dennstaedtia bipinnata, is naturally occuring rare fern vouchered only from 3 counties in the entire mainland United States- all found in Florida. Unfortunately in one of these counties, Palm Beach county, this fern has been thought to be extirpated (locally extinct). So, now it's down to only 2 counties- both in Central Florida. It is, however, grown commercially. The pickyness of this plant's preferred natural habitat- wet, mucky areas, partially shady, with a constant source of nearby water- makes this plant a very rare find in the wild and challenging to grow in urban spaces. Dennstaedtia bipinnata has a larger presence in South America and the Carribean, but Florida is lucky to be it's home in a few, very special places.
To read a short, but highly descriptive excerpt about the cuplet fern species, we recommend the plant genius, Gil Nelson's, book titled 'Ferns of Florida' for arguably the best description readily found on the web. Excerpt below courtesy of Gil Nelson and Google books. Page 75. It's best viewed and read through a tablet or larger screen.
The fern is a large, terrestrial, creeping fern 3'-4' in height and is also called the hay scented fern as when the leaves are crushed, they exude a pleasant smell reminiscent of hay. It is called the cuplet fern because of its cup-like indusia- or sori (fern pollen) holding vessels- that are present on the underside of their smooth, large, feather-like leaves. Cuplet fern is a very attractive plant when spotted in the wild. It's very rarely found- one could say that it's the unicorn in the forest. Admire it- take only pictures, leave behind only footprints.
Ferns fall into an ancient lineage of plants that have a different, complex life cycle. They predate the advent of flowering plants by millenia. If you are science-driven, feel free to geek yourself on this educational video courtesy of the literary publication giant, McGraw Hill:
Here's a great video that serves as a cursory introduction to the diverse world of ferns and fern allies courtesy of Go Botany and the New England Wildflower Society. Please note that we are a native plant enthusiast group- our hobby includes all types of native plants. Our chapter simply happens to be named after a fern.