En EspaŅol

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
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
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

Source of seeds or plants for 5 regions of Virginia
August 22, 2015 - I am a teacher and am planning a lesson about regional plants of Virginia. I would like to create a type of planter where we can plant seeds from each of the 5 regions in Virginia (Appalachian Platea...
view the full question and answer

Source for purchase of non-native Tradescantia zebrina
October 04, 2008 - Is there a nursery near me that carries Wandering Jew plants?
view the full question and answer

Source for mulberry trees from Bryan TX
February 24, 2013 - I am looking for suggestions for nurseries from which I could purchase Red Mulberry or Texas Mulberry Tree.
view the full question and answer

Sources of information for design of prairie meados in Georgia
January 25, 2006 - Dear Ms. Smarty Plants, I am designing a prairie meadow in Covington GA (Zone 7) at the edge of piedmont and coastal ecosystems, primarily lower piedmont. I am trying to restore a 1/2-acre site over ...
view the full question and answer

Food value of cultivars of eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
May 21, 2008 - Can you suggest any resources regarding the wildlife value of native plant cultivars? For example, I can only buy an eastern red Cedar cultivar in my region: "Burkii" or "Emerald Sentinel". I w...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center