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Adiantum aleuticum

Adiantum aleuticum
Adiantum aleuticum

The unfurling fronds of Western maidenhair fern in dim, morning light look little like the mature fronds in indirect sunlight.

The distribution of Adiantum aleuticum (map) is a case study in disjunct populations, or populations of a species separated by a wide geographic or ecological distance. Broadly speaking, western maidenhair fern's main distribution range is coastal and inland forests of Alaska south to California. However, as mentioned by the Flora of North America account for the species, it is also “disjunct in wet rock fissures at high elevations in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Mexico in Chihuahua, and it is disjunct on serpentine in Newfoundland, Quebec, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.” Your task of the day is to generate a possible explanation for the pattern of this plant's distribution, particularly for its disjunct populations (the map link above gives a clear overview of the distribution).

Landscape architecture / horticulture resource link: Dr. Peter Del Tredici from Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum has two articles worth reading in the February 2006 issue of Landscape Architecture. The first, titled “Because Plants Are At Stake” (PDF), addresses the importance of having a knowledge of plants in the field of landscape architecture. The second, “Brave New Ecology (PDF)”, tackles the question “Can we ever put the invasive species genie back in the bottle, or are we looking at a future in which nature as we know it becomes a cultivated entity?

3 Comments

The links to Peter del Tredici's work are fascinating. He thinks through common assumptions and marries intelligence with practice. Really inspiring. Thank you!

How interesting - my eastern native ones are just beginning to come up, being the last of five other fern species to break ground and unfurl here.

The stems are blacker and appear less 'succulent' and more rigid. Also the fronds before they unfold (about the stage of this photo) are very dark also - a purple black.

On another note, the native morels have just finished 'blooming', and it was exceptional this year with some as large as my palm.

I consider myself fortunate to have found this site - one is never too old to gain knowledge!

I have recently attended a symposium regarding 'alien' species and protection of natives - it was this botanist's concensus that some groups of natives have several hundred years of familial history within their groups - for my lack of another way to explain it - an untarnished tribe in the wilderness. Most interesting...

Adiantum aleuticum - Z3-8 - A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk

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