En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Smarty Plants on thousand year old interrupted fern

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 03, 2005

From: Roanoke, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Ferns
Title: Smarty Plants on thousand year old interrupted fern
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We recently built a new home in the mountains of western Virginia. I am told by the local Botanist that there is a patch of "thousand year old interrupted fern" that runs through, among other places, my yard. Is it possible for fern to actually be 1000 years old? I was under the impression that this fern is perennial but it reseeds itself by spores. Of course, I am not a botanist so this is why I am writing to you. I understand that this is a very common fern and am nervous that this guy is going to try to stop me from otherwise keeping my property attractive and snake free for my family to enjoy. I don't want to destroy the environment and I surely don't want to kill any 1000 year old plants. What are your thoughts?

ANSWER:

Interrupted fern (Osmunda claytonia) is a large, common widespread fern. Its distribution includes all the states east of the Mississippi River except Louisiana and Florida. it is very doubtful if any of your individual ferns is a thousand years old. However, the colony of ferns on your property may have been in existence for 1000 years or more. Since the ferns themselves are not endangered and you have no intention of destroying the entire colony, it seems reasonable for you to be able to trim and control them to make them attractive and your surroundings safe for you and your family. For purposes of neighborhood harmony, however, you might want to learn if your neighbors are concerned about your cutting down the ferns and to reassure them that you have no intention of destroying this ancient colony of ferns.
 

More Ferns Questions

Tropical looking plants for pool area in California
November 14, 2008 - I am looking for small tropical looking plants, groundcover, and 2-small trees for around my pool. They have to be non-toxic to dogs,cats, and people. They can't attract bees/wasps, or have a root ...
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for Texas native plants for memorial
June 30, 2005 - A dear friend of ours has passed and we would like some ideas of a native Texas plant we could plant in memory of her. It will be grown in the hill region near Houston. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

transplanting Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)
October 25, 2011 - Behind our house is a huge grotto with a spring flowing through it that runs into a creek. Because of the constant flow of water, there are many of the Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris). I ...
view the full question and answer

Pool-side ornamentals for south Louisiana
May 07, 2012 - We live in south Louisiana and are re-doing the plants around our pool. What are some low maintenance, small shrubs (flowering) or other ornamentals that would be good in this area?
view the full question and answer

Yellowing fern houseplants from Lancaster PA
April 10, 2013 - I have fern houseplants about 9 to 12 months old and they are turning yellow. I don't overwater and they get good light. They are growing well but I don't understand the yellowing and falling off! ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center