The Sensitive Fern seems to conjure an image of withdrawing from touch or bursting out with tears, but it name refers to its rather touchy nature regarding frosts. I was exploring a field bordering swamp when I fell upon a few patches of this remnant of last year's growth. These fertile spore stalks winter over and it's said they protect the next year's growth. That is, clearing them out in the fall might hurt next spring. I've read that perhaps due to their sensitivity to cold that they will be late comers this spring. And curiously, for all their sensitivity, the appearance of the leaves is not that delicate.
I like the lovely colors in the stalks and the incredible detail throughout all the branching.
I suspect that these specimens are from two years ago as all that's left is a skeletonized structure.