Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
2 ratings

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 Transplants Questions

Transplanting birdwing passionflower in Canyon, TX
April 17, 2009 - First, thank you for all your help! Second, I have two bird-wing passionflowers that are growing next to the house. I'd like to move them because this is the area where I want to put in some raise...
view the full question and answer

Dwarf golden cypress outgrowing their space
December 28, 2008 - I planted two dwarf golden cypress on opposite sides of a dwarf alberta spruce in a small bed by the front door. After 4 years I have to severely prune back the dwarf cypress in spring as they will sp...
view the full question and answer

Pest on leaves of native Texas persimmon in Laredo, TX
February 20, 2009 - I have a transplanted a Texas persimmon tree from the wild. It has some globes in the leaves. It seems like some pest injected something from underside of leaves. Any suggestion? What is happening t...
view the full question and answer

Why doesn't my Possum Haw have berries this year?
May 20, 2010 - A possumhaw holly has no berries as of mid-May. I planted this possumhaw last summer - it had lots of berries. Why would it have no berries this year? This spring I have two yaupons with lots of b...
view the full question and answer

Survival of native yaupon in The Woodlands, TX after hurricane
September 25, 2008 - One of my large native yaupons trees (8ft) fell away from a group during the hurricane. I have uprighted and tied it off for stability. Now the leaves are all brown and falling. Is the tree dead or...
view the full question and answer

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