Sunday 19 May
Fern (Xiphopteris ascensionensis)
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Fern fact file
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- Polypodium ascensionense, Xiphopteris ascensionense. Top
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- A plant that uses another plant, typically a tree, for its physical support, but which does not draw nourishment from it.
- A small, gamete-producing structure that germinates from certain spores.
- Microscopic particles involved in both dispersal and reproduction. They comprise a single or group of unspecialised cells and do not contain an embryo, as do seeds.
IUCN Red List (August, 2012)
- Gray, A. (2003) Red List Assessment Form. Ascension Conservation.
- Pers. obs. from image.
- Ashmole, P. & Ashmole, M. (2000) St. Helena and Ascension Island: a natural history. Anthony Nelson, England.
Australian National Herbarium (September, 2003)
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Ferns are ‘primitive’ plants that spread by releasing spores rather than by producing flowers and fruits. The distinctive frond stage of the fern lifecycle is asexual; spores are released from the fronds, which then germinate into minuscule heart-shaped structures known as ‘prothalli’. It is here that the sexual stage of the lifecycle occurs; male and female organs on the prothallus produce sperm and eggs respectively. If the female eggs are fertilised successfully, a new fern plant will begin to grow and the cycle starts again (5).Top
This fern grows in association with mosses, often with Campylopus smaragdinus and Calymperes ascensionis (4). It is found either on moss-covered rocks or on bamboo trees (2), in the mist zone of the upper mountain (4).Top
Xiphopteris ascensionensis is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Although the population of Xiphopteris ascensionensis appears to be relatively stable at present it may face long-term threats from the spread of introduced moss species such as Alpinia zerumbet, with which it appears unable to grow (2).Top
The population of Xiphopteris ascensionensis is being monitored by Ascension Conservation (2).Top
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