The first fern fiddles are emerging from the ground.
The Japanese Holly fern, Cyrtomium falcatum, is always first.
Fronds are specialized leaves growing from underground stems.
They roll out from the base to protect the tiny new leaflets.
Other protection involves scales which drop off after the young fronds emerge.
They are also covered by hairs for defense.
Once these fronds mature, they will be tough enough not to need scales and hairs.
Mature fronds produce spores on their undersides for reproduction.
Here are spots where sporangia were last season. The spores have been released.
I find fern fronds fascinating.