Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Ferns of the Atlantic Rainforest


Unlike the majority of other vascular plants, ferns do not bear flowers, fruit or seeds, but instead reproduce via spores. These are produced en mass and are easily transported by wind. This makes ferns good colonisers and therefore form part of the pioneer forest vegetation.

The Atlantic Rainforest has a magnificent diversity of ferns, ranging in size from those with leaves just a few millimetres wide to tree ferns several metres tall.

Fern species found in the Atlantic Forest include Adiantum raddianum, the Maidenhair Fern. It is an epipyte which grows on tree branches, but has become a popular house plant.

Other species include Anemia sp., Blechnum sp.(Hard Ferns), Campyloneurum sp., Doryopteris sp.(Elephant’s Ear Ferns), Microgramma sp., Osmunda regalis, Pleopletis sp. and Thelypteris sp.

Tree ferns can reach up to 20m in height and have thick woody stems which look like trunks. Tree ferns include species such as Alsophila setosa and Dicksonia sellowana. The later of these has been heavily over-collected and is now endangered in the wild.

Threats and Conservation

WLT is actively involved in Atlantic Rainforest conservation in Argentina (Misiones Province), Brazil (REGUA Reserve) and Paraguay (San Rafael). To help save Atlantic Forest habitat, please support these projects.

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