Florida Fauna & Flora – Resurrection Fern
Resurrection ferns are found from Florida to New York and west into Texas. It is an epiphytic fern that grows on the surface of another plant or structure. This fern is an air plant; it does not steal nutrients or water from its host plant. It reproduces by spores that are housed in structures called sori located on the underside of its green fronds. In Florida, resurrection ferns often prefer to grow on oak trees.
Why the name resurrection fern? It may lose up to 75% of its water content during dry periods and shrivel into a grayish-brown clump of leaves. When exposed to water again, the fern regains its healthy green fronds and comes back to life as though it was never dead. It’s estimated that during times of extreme drought, some resurrection ferns may survive losing 97% of their water content. Most other plants can only survive losing 10% of their water content.
Fun Flora Fact: The resurrection fern is a space traveler. In 1997, it was taken into space on the Space Shuttle Discovery to study its resurrection in zero gravity.
Source: The National Wildlife Federation
Read the full August 2021 SECO News online.