Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - July 27, 2009

From: Indian River, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Transplants
Title: Looking for a source of bracken fern seed.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I`m looking to buy "bracken fern"seed. Or can it be transplanted from the wild?

ANSWER:

Lets talk about ferns. Ferns belong to a group of vascular plants (Pteridiophytes) that have been around for more than 300 million years, and were at their height during the Carboniferous Period (the age of ferns). During this era, some fern-like groups  evolved seeds (the seed ferns), but these have become extinct along with most of the ferns of the Carboniferous. There are about 12,000 species of modern ferns in the world today, but none have seeds.

Bracken Fern Pteridium aquilinum (western brackenfern)  is a widely distributed species throughout the world and Michigan, so finding some in the wild should not be too difficult.  Finding a landowner willing to allow you to dig their ferns may be another issue altogether, though.

I have included two sources that can help you learn more about ferns and how to grow them.

The first one has good general information about Bracken Fern.

This one from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has lists of ferns you can select for planting and tips for caring for them.

Finally a word of caution; Bracken Fern is listed as toxic for horses and other livestock in several poisonous plant databases (see below).

Universtiy of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants Database

Texas Toxic Plant Database

Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock and other Animals

 Poisonous Plants of the Southern United States


Pteridium aquilinum

 

 

 


 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Where can I find Ilex verticillata in Maryland?
February 24, 2009 - Do you have any suggestions where I might purchase a winterberry holly, ilex verticillata (with bright orange berries in the winter)? They are on our Maryland State highway on Route 3 (301) heading t...
view the full question and answer

Plants that ducks will not eat
May 12, 2009 - I own a lot of ducks and see a lot of people asking what kind of plants will they "NOT" eat... I know of some through experience.. Anything with shiny leave.. They don't touch my English ivy, rose...
view the full question and answer

Non-native lilacs for wedding bouquet in July in Salt Lake City
May 07, 2010 - My friend's daughter wants to have lilacs in her wedding bouquet, but she is not getting married until July 15th. I realize lilacs are spring flowers, but will there be anywhere in the U.S. that lila...
view the full question and answer

Native lawn grass for Seabrook TX
March 12, 2013 - We want to seed our lawn in Seabrook, Tx.77586 with a Natural Grass replacing our St. Augustine Grass. I think there is one that is drought resistant (only water it twice a month.) and that does not g...
view the full question and answer

Looking for Asclepians texana and other milkweed seeds
December 10, 2008 - Hi. I was wondering where I could find seeds of Asclepias Texana, and other rare or uncommon Milkweeds. I am looking for seeds of all the Asclepias species. I have swamp, Clasping, and butterflyweed...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.