Thursday, May 21, 2015



Media contact: Brooke LeMaire
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
305-667-1651, ext. 3392

Thelypteris sancta, a critically imperiled fern, was successfully propagated at Fairchild




Coral Gables, FL, May 22, 2015 – After two years of diligent propagation efforts, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is pleased to announce the addition of two critically imperiled ferns to its living plant collections: Ctenitis submarginalis and Thelypteris sancta. Both ferns were grown from spores collected in Miami-Dade County in 2013. Spores from the Ctenitis submarginalis were collected right before the population crashed that same year, and the small Thelypteris sancta is the only occurrence of the taxon in North America. Fairchild scientists are hoping to conserve these and other ferns and to increase their populations in the wild.


For the past 12 years, Fairchild has led a fern conservation program funded by Miami-Dade County and assisted by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanic Garden. The spores collected from these wild plants are either grown for living conservation collections or sent to the USDA’s germplasm facility. It can take years for a spore to fully mature, and the process requires careful attention to propagation.


“When spores are grown into mature ferns, they become part of Fairchild’s collections or are introduced to a suitable wild habitat in order to safeguard the tiny wild populations,” said Jennifer Possley, Fairchild Field Biologist.

A sporophyte and gametophyte of a native Miami fern


Miami-Dade County is home to 48 native species of ferns, many of which are on Florida’s list of threatened and endangered species. Fairchild currently houses a collection of nearly 20 rare native species and has introduced three species to the wild. More introductions are being planned for the future, and partners in Puerto Rico are now helping with the conservation cause.


“A cooperative program to conserve Miami’s native ferns is gaining speed,” Possley said.


For more info on Fairchild’s conservation efforts, please visit www.fairchildgarden.org/Science-Conservation.


About Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Established in 1938 and comprising 83 acres in Miami, Fla., Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. The world-renowned plant collections feature palms, cycads, orchids, tropical fruit trees and more. Fairchild has the largest education program of any metropolitan area, reaching more than 200,000 schoolchildren each year with environmental programs like The Fairchild Challenge. It aims to inspire a greater knowledge and love for plants and gardening so that all can enjoy the beauty and bounty of the tropical world. Special events include Chocolate, Mango, Orchid and Edible Garden Festivals in addition to an annual art exhibition, concerts, plant sales and more.



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