Ascension Island Parsley Fern Facts
- Firstly, don’t make the mistake of assuming that the diminutive Ascension Island Parsley Fern holds little importance.
- Most notably, it ranks as one of the rarest of all known plants in the world. Moreover, only 4 known individual specimens exist in the wild.
- However, for many conservationists, it represents proof that preservation efforts can successfully make a difference.
- It was also believed extinct until 2010. But over 60 specimens have now been cultivated in several locations, following its rediscovery.
- The IUCN, however, nevertheless classifies the species as Critically Endangered, given the precarious state of its existence.
Ascension Island Parsley Fern Physical Description
With only four specimens existing in the wild, botanists remain uncertain if these represent average examples of the size of the species in its natural state, however.
Also, this tiny fern rarely attains a height of more than 4 in (10 cm) and possesses yellow-green leaves reminiscent of parsley, thus the name.
Specimens grown in cultivation do seem to attain a larger size, however, no doubt due to the extremely harsh conditions of its native environment.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Tracheophyta
- Class: Polypodiopsida
- Order: Polypodiales
- Family: Pteridaceae
- Genus: Anogramma
- Species: A. ascenionis
Ascension Island Parsley Fern Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Firstly, the amazing Ascension Island Parsley Fern has not only an extremely restricited habitat range, but an especilly hostile one.
Most notably, as the common name implies, it evolved as solely native to Ascension Island, 1,000 mi (1,600 km) from the coast of Africa.
To date, the only known specimens in the wild live on the steep, rocky and rather harsh slopes of Green Mountain, and nowhere else.
Like other ferns, this species also propogates via spores it releases. However, the remaining wild specimens inhabit hard, rocky ground, with little hope of spreading.
Lastly, the island has lost a great majority of its native species, including the fern bearing its name, due to the introduction of invasive species.