Ferns & Dinosaurs

By Georgia Sumner

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Ferns, more to them than you may have realised

Did you know that ferns have survived since times when Dinosaurs roamed the Earth? They were a main food source for plant-eating species such as Stegosaurus and Diplodocus (Jurassic) and Triceratops (Cretaceous). 

They are living fossils all the way from the Devonian period – at least 360 millions years old – existing before humans, mammals, birds and fish!

 Ferns have a unique way of reproducing. There are spores beneath the leaves that waft into the air, so they don’t need other species to survive as they can reproduce themselves. It’s probably how they overcame previous mass extinctions in that levelled forests and killed off dinosaurs. 

There are many different types, found all over the world, and you may well have one already. If not, with the kids summer holidays fast approaching, this could be a great project to stimulate little imaginations!

Easy to grow and care for, indoors and out, ferns require little light, so are quite happy in shady spots. They do best though with plenty of moisture. You’ll reap the benefits though, (indoors), as they will clean the air of many pathogens.

There is much to see on the internet, on a rainy day (eg. Fern Canyon, California or Southport’s Fern House), but even better would be to visit somewhere local, and see what other cool facts you can unearth!

Definitely a fun plant!

Southport Fern House, 1969

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