Ontario Ferns website

Here is a list of books about ferns. The list starts with books that are best for newcomers to fern identification. Please note that most of these books will contain some fern species not found in Ontario.
The "must haves"
The Ferns of Grey & Bruce Counties
Bruce-Grey Plant Committee (Owen Sound Field Naturalists)

An excellent book for identifying ferns of Ontario. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, EXCELLENT for newcomers. This is THE book to have for identifying ferns in Ontario.
Even though this book focuses on the ferns of the Grey-Bruce region, most (but not all) of the ferns of Ontario are included. Features photographs, silhouettes, and descriptive text on each fern species. 120 pages.
Info on how to obtain this book: www.osfn.ca/pubs_osfn.html

Peterson Field Guide to Ferns, Second edition:
Northeastern and Central North America
(2nd edition)
Boughton Cobb, Cheryl Lowe, Elizabeth Farnsworth
published by Houghton Mifflin

This is the second edition of the definitive field guide to ferns, and an EXCELLENT job has been done updating it! All the original drawings have been preserved, lots of photographs have been added, and many species have been added that were not included in the first edition.


Other great resources
Ferns of the Northeastern United States
Illustrations and Descriptions of all Known Species in the New England and Middle Atlantic States

Farida Wiley
published by Dover Publications
An excellent book for newcomers to fern identification, simple and easy to use. The subtitle says it all. It's a small pocket-sized book, easy to take along in the field. Includes a range map for each species. Originally published in 1936. 108 pages.
Fern Finder
Anne C. Hallowell & Barbara G. Hallowell
published by Nature Study Guild

Another good book for newcomers. Many drawings highlight the pertinent features of the various species. Small, easy to carry. 62 pages.

A Natural History of Ferns
Robbin C. Moran
published by Timber Press

Superb new book (2004) with detailed short articles (chapters) about various aspects of ferns. It's scientific but nevertheless very accessible and understandable for the average intelligent reader. The author successfully brings the science to the ordinary reader. If you like reading intelligent natural history books, you will find this book absolutely fascinating! 300 pages.

The Illustrated Flora of Illinois: Ferns; 2nd edition
Robert H. Mohlenbrosk
published by Southern Illinois University Press

An excellent reference book, very detailed and scientific. Even though it is about the ferns of Illinois, it is still relevant for Ontario as Illinois is not all that far away. Not for beginners. Somewhat pricey but very good. Part of a detailed series on the Flora of Illinois. Illustrated with excellent detailed drawings. 240 pages.

How to Know the Ferns
Frances Theodora Parsons
published by Dover Publications

This book is out of print. If you can find a reasonably priced used copy, grab it. Originally published in 1899, this is a very detailed book, written in the style of writers in 1899, when they included interesting stories and information about each species.

Ferns and Fern Allies of Canada
William J. Cody & Donald M. Britton
published by Agriculture Canada

The definitive reference book on ferns of Canada. Scientifically oriented, it of course includes ferns of areas outside of Ontario. Inclusion of western species may cause confusion if you're trying to use this book for fern identification. It may be out of print. 430 pages.

An excellent book, the definitive reference for Canada, but not for beginners.