|photo by jwp on Flickr|
During this May, we had visited the picturesque village of Ano Poroia in the Belles mountain. The weather was ideal, sunny but not too hot. We walked in a small uphill path, which starts after the last tavern and the trout fish farming unity. This path guides you in the forest under the thick foliages. There I found this beautiful fern. The light was entering in golden rays among countless green leaves. I stopped in front of this wonderful feathery leaf astonished by its vibrancy and freshness. It was distinguished from far by its beauty and elegance. I thought it was impossible to pass by and not to admire this impressive plant with the equally impressive history and symbolism for several traditions.
Both its Greek and English etymology is referred to feather. “Πτέρη (fern) > πτερον (feather)” in the Greek language and in English, the word fern is from the old Anglo-Saxon word “fearn” that means feather. Our knowledge for ferns goes far back in time, about 360 million years ago, and it is evidenced by detailed fossil records. Ferns seems to have survived from dinosaurs during Jurassic period and from cataclysms. They can grow in deep tropical forests, in the flooded banks of streams, or in the windy mountain tops. Their amazing adaptiveness is evidenced by the fact that there are fern species surviving from the hot and rainy tropical climates to drought or freezing temperatures. It’s not a coincidence that among others they are considered as the symbols of life and strength.
In ancient and medieval times, the uncommon way ferns are reproduced had been considered a “mystery” as they have no flowers or seeds. So, several myths had been created for these strange plants in many cultures, like Slavic and Finnish folklore. Some believed that ferns bloom once a year and the one who sees a “fern flower” would become happy and rich for the rest of their life. Other cultures believed that one who finds the “seed” of a fern in bloom on Midsummer night will be guided invisible to the location of a hidden treasure.
Because ferns conceal their beauty in the depths of the forests, they represent humility in solitude. They also symbolize sincerity towards others, fascination, confidence, shelter, discretion, reverie and a secret bond of love. In New Zealand, the koru (Māori for “loop”), a spiral shape based on the shape of a new unfurling silver fern frond, is symbolizing new life, growth, strength, and peace. Its circular shape refers to the idea of perpetual movement while the inner coil suggests a return to the point of origin. That’s why fern loop is an integral symbol in Māori art, carving, and tattoos. In modern times, some species of ferns (boston fern, kimberly queen fern) are considered ideal for homes as research has shown their capability to clean air from some toxic agents. And, for all these reasons they represent a positive element in home and garden decoration.
• wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koru
• wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study