Endangered Fern Found In Bermuda Marsh

Examples of a native marsh fern which became so rare in Bermuda it was listed under the Protected Species Act as being critically endangered have been rediscovered in a Devonshire nature reserve, the bernews.com site reports.

In the winter newsletter of the Bermuda Audubon Society [BAS], Alison Copeland says the last remaining individuals of the Ten Day Fern [or Leatherleaf Fern] were known to have occurred in Devonshire Marsh within the Winifred Gibbons and Firefly Reserve.

The current status of the fern was unknown as the BAS reserves had become increasingly overgrown with invasive vegetation in recent years.

“I set out with David Wingate to explore one area of the Winifred Gibbons Reserve where he knew the fern had previously grown,” she said. “Within a few minutes of crossing the ditch into the marsh David discovered the first small specimen growing from a rotting stump and surrounded by other plants such as Cinnamon Fern, Para Grass and Morning Glory.

“We moved about 10 feet further into the marsh and discovered a second specimen growing out of a Bermuda Palmetto, a habit which David had previously observed with the Ten Day Fern. The second specimen was larger than the first, and appeared to have mature spores on the underside of its fronds, indicating it was reproductive.”

Ms Copeland said moving through the marsh was not easy, as the vegetation was very dense, there was poison ivy, and she and former Conservation Officer Dr. Wingate were trying to avoid trampling the vegetation too much; so after discovering our second Ten Day Fern, we turned back.

“A small sample of the first fern was collected and deposited in the herbarium collection at the Natural History Museum at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum & Zoo, along with photos of both ferns.

“This trip into the marsh was very informative, as we were able to confirm that at least two specimens remained at this location,” she said. “We also got good images of the fern to aid in future identification and raising awareness.”

For the original report go to http://bernews.com/2011/12/endangered-fern-found-in-devonshire-marsh/

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