Thursday, August 19, 2021

A new acquisition at the botanic garden, the Tassel Fern, Huperzia squarrosa

A new acquisition at the botanic garden, the Tassel Fern, Huperzia squarrosa (aka Phlegmariurus squarrosus, Lycopodium squarrosum). It doesn't look anything like the fronds of a fern. In fact it's a living fossil that sits somewhere between a moss and a fern, and first appeared on Earth about 380 million years ago during the Devonian period. This was a time long before the dinosaurs, known as the Age of Fishes, when the sea was dominated by jawless and armored fishes, when the first primitive sharks evolved, and the first lobe-finned fishes began to haul themselves onto tidal flats to become the first land vertebrates. This was a time that marked the first extensive colonization of the land by plants, and without any large land-dwelling herbivores, they thrived.

Don't ask me how much this thing cost, or how long it took me to find one, too much and too long, but I think it's a worthy addition to the botanic garden.

- Dave

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