A Fern Grows in Brooklyn

Native Flora Garden curator Uli Lorimer checks on a colony of hart's tongue fern that has managed to flourish in the drain. Photo by Elizabeth Peters.
Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum (hart's tongue fern) in the Native Flora Garden. Photo by Elizabeth Peters.

It’s not every day that a federally listed threatened plant establishes itself in a storm drain, but if you peer through the grate on the path leading through BBG’s Lilac Collection toward the Rose Garden, you will see a small colony of hart’s tongue ferns (Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum ). The lush, shiny green plants have been thriving in the moss-covered rocks just below the grate in this spot for several years, says Native Flora Garden curator Uli Lorimer.

In the wild, this fern grows in moist, shady crevices in limestone outcroppings. Ninety percent of the U.S. population of hart’s tongue fern is in New York State, mostly in forests along the Niagara Escarpment, the long limestone ridge over which Niagara Falls flows. Several specimens are growing at BBG in the Native Flora Garden, and spores from those plants likely blew into the drain and found the dark, wet conditions there perfect for germination, says Lorimer. So come to the Garden soon to enjoy the last of the lilacs and the first of the roses—and be sure to look beneath your feet for a peek at this happy coincidence.



Comments

May 22, 2013
thuta

Awsome!!!!!!!!



Add Your Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this article. Comments are moderated and will be posted after BBG staff review. Your email address is required; it will not be displayed, but may be needed to confirm your comments.

Name:

Email:


WeddingsGarden News BlogCalendarOnline ShopPress Room

Hours

Tuesday–Friday:
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday:
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed Mondays

Members’ Summer Evenings: Wednesdays, 6–8:30 p.m.

More Information

Admission

Members Free
Adults $10
Seniors (65 and over) $5
Students with a valid ID $5
Children under 12 Free

More Information

Directions

150 Eastern Parkway
990 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11225

subways

Maps, Parking, and Directions

Join BBG

Become a Member

  

BBG Member Benefits
Free Admission, Special Events,
Discounts, and More!