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Parsley Fern (Anogramma Ascensionis)

7 July 2023


The curly leaf of a Parsley Fern. Photo taken by Matt Stritch.

The Anogramma ascensionis, more commonly known as the parsley fern is an endemic to the steep slopes of Green Mountain.  The tiny fern, reaching no more than 4cm in length, has delicate lime green fronds which appear similar to small sprigs of parsley.

The fern was first recorded in 1842 by an amateur botanist, and then officially described and named by Joseph Dalton Hooker. Another specimen was recorded in 1889, with few to no reports of specimens again until 1958, when a British scientist collected one on the north slope of the mountain.

Further searches were conducted throughout the years but were unsuccessful, and in 2003 it was officially declared extinct. Until 2009, when during an annual plant census it was rediscovered by local and visiting botanists. It is now classified as Critically Endangered.

The main threat to the Anogramma is competition with invasive plant species; over 200 non-native plant species have destroyed much of the original habitat and flora on the mountain. Its presence is now limited to a single location on the mountain but we continue to cultivate these plants in the lab and in our shade houses with the hope to restore this native population.

Conservation and Fisheries Directorate