The woodland area around Myllylähde is typical is of fern groves, whose undergrowth consists of both larger and smaller fern species.
The area’s most common large fern is athyrium filix-femina, the lady fern or common lady-fern, which usually grows abundantly in humid fern groves by springs, brooks and shoreline woodland. The lady fern has lace-like leaves and lends a feminine grace to Finland’s forest, growing all over the country, often associating with large buckler ferns. The lady fern is sensitive to frost, so it generally grows in the depths of the forest. The species has also been used medicinally in foot baths to relieve rheumatic pain.
The buckler fern
The buckler fern is the most common fern in southern Finland. It is a fern found in dry forests, herb-rich forests, moist forests, the edge of dense woodland and alongside streams. It has also been used medicinally as a remedy for tapeworms. The ancient Greek Dioscorides mentioned this in his writings roughly 2000 years ago. However, keep in mind that the buckler fern is also toxic, so it should not be tried on its own. The species can also be recognised in winter as it is an evergreen.
The oak fern is the most common fern found in the environment around Myllylähde. It flourishes in a variety of forest environments ranging from woodland where fresh blueberry grows to lush groves. Its vegetation covers large areas and has adapted to grow in shade and amongst acidic spruce needles. Most ferns have their own habitat requirements and therefore are well suited to acting as a guide to the type of woodland you are walking in.