Mountain Lines


by Nelson Haas


SWEETFERN     Comptonia peregrina

Against a white, winter background, the dark foliage of the sweetfern is quite artistic.

Sweetfern is actually a semi-woody shrub with fern-like leaves and belongs to the Bayberry family. It’s not a fern. It is commonly known for its distinctive aroma, which I would describe as the combination of a fine, French perfume and kerosene.

Sweetfern is a native to northeast U.S. and Canada.  It was named after the Bishop of London, Henry Compton (1632-1713) and the Latin: peregrina, means “foreign”  because it was never seen before.



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