Eastern hay-scented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula)

Eastern hay-scented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) is native to eastern North America. The “hay-scented” part of the common name refers to the fact that, when the plant is crushed, it smells like freshly mown hay. A close examination of the plant reveals fascinating patterns and symmetry. The fronds are bipinnate, meaning they sprout from opposing sides of a central stalk, called a rachis. The fronds are offset from each other, repeating to the end of the rachis. Each frond repeats the bipinnate pattern, except the frond leaflets are immediately opposite one another.