Who doesn't love the first signs of spring in New York? Seeing these in the forest will make this time of year even more magical.

Credit - NYS DEC
Credit - NYS DEC
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Fiddleheads are a frizzly little furl you can find all around on the ground in the forest. These are young ferns that will eventually unroll into a full frond. Almost every fern will go through this stage in its growth.

The "fiddleheads" actually get their name because of their close resemblance to the coiled end of a string instrument. It only adds to the folklore and tall tales behind the fern.

James Ahlberg on Unsplash
James Ahlberg on Unsplash
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Legend has it, fiddleheads possess their own magical qualities, mysteriously sprout across the forest floor every spring. Since the ferns don't have flowers, it makes people wonder how the plant reproduces "invisibly". The real answer isn't magical though, it's simply science.

The ferns reproduce by releasing the spores found underneath their fronds. They have been doing this for over 300 years, which is far before even the dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Linda Pomerantz Zhang on Unsplash
Linda Pomerantz Zhang on Unsplash
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It is important to note fiddleheads are a protected species. They should NEVER be dug up or taken from the forest, unless you are given approval from the landowner. This way the species can continue to grow and thrive in the wild.

Though it should go without saying, the DEC is also reminding people to NOT EAT the plants. You should never ingest something in the wild you are unsure of or haven't had approved by an expert.

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