Finding the Hartford fern

Last week Massey Herbarium staff ventured to the Jefferson National Forest in search of Montgomery County’s only population of Hartford fern (Lygodium palmatum). Curator Jordan Metzgar and retired curator Tom Wieboldt re-located this small population on a rainy afternoon. 

All plants at the site were sterile and the population seems to be decreasing in size since it was first observed in the 1980s. 

Hartford fern has a well-deserved reputation for its beauty. This splendor also led to it being one of the first plants protected by law in 1869!

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