Michigan and the Great Lakes

Michigan Ferns and Lycophytes

A Guide to Species of the Great Lakes Region
Daniel D. Palmer
The most comprehensive guide to Michigan’s ferns and related plants


Michigan’s ferns and lycophytes are among the state’s most fascinating plants. The species in these groups exhibit incredibly diverse life cycles and an amazing array of morphology. Some species such as the Bracken fern are widespread and aggressive, dominating forest understories throughout much of northern Michigan, while other species are exceedingly rare and adapted to life solely in harsh niche habitats where little else can grow.

Unlike the well-studied flowering plants and gymnosperms, Michigan’s ferns and lycophytes have long lacked a reliable, up-to-date guidebook, and this book fills that gap. Covering all 120 taxa found in the state, it features detailed keys, species descriptions, and range maps alongside precise illustrations. Readers learn about the etymology of species’ common and scientific names as well as interesting facts about their historic uses by humans and place within the Michigan ecosystem. The book also provides information on the challenging taxonomy of many ferns and lycophytes, with special attention given to the species likely to hybridize and those prone to misidentification. This is a must-have reference for anyone who wishes to learn about these important components of the Great Lakes flora.

“Dan Palmer’s superb, fully illustrated book on the pteridophytes of Michigan at long last puts into the hands of botanists, naturalists, and all plant enthusiasts the key missing field guide to an important component of our state’s diverse Midwestern flora. We have awaited this moment for many years and are now richly rewarded.”
—Michael R. Penskar, University of Michigan Herbarium

​Photos (clockwise from top): Adiantum pedatum, Dryopteris carthusiana, Equisetum hyemale, Dendrolycopodium dendroideum, Botrychium neolunaria. Courtesy of the W. H. Wagner Slide Collection, University of Michigan Herbarium.

Also available as an ebook.

Daniel D. Palmer is a retired dermatologist, past president of the Hawaiian Botanical Society, and author of Hawai‘i’s Ferns and Fern Allies. Dr. Palmer summers in Michigan, where he also formerly operated a tree farm.

Praise / Awards

  • "This is an impressive reference for anyone interested in northern fern floras."

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Daniel Palmer interviewed in MyNorth Link | 10/25/2017

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 392pp.
  • 81 plates, 104 maps, 16 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2018
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03711-7

Add to Cart
  • $29.95 U.S.

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  • fern; ferns; Michigan; Lycophytes; Pteridophyta; Equisetaceae; Ophioglossaceae;