Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hawaii - Pityrogramma

Another fern we found out on the lava in Hawaii was Pityrogramma austroamericana, a little bright green thing that has an interesting feature common in ferns that live in dry, challenging environments: farina. Farina is a powdery layer on the lower (abaxial) surface of the frond, which is usually white or yellow, and is thought to reflect light and therefore heat, cooling the frond. Many ferns in the deserts of the southwestern U.S. have farina, and it's a defining characteristic of several groups of ferns. This is one of the only farinose ferns in Hawaii.


Aaron said...

Last Christmas my advisor brought some Vandenboschia fronds and rhizome back from Hawaii and I tried to keep them alive in a terrarium. 10 months later I have no Vandenboschia, but I have a couple thriving Nephrolepis sporophytes grown from contaminant spores - and I've discarded dozens of Nephrolepis gametophytes. Those spores are apparently everywhere in Hawaii. You should shake your luggage over some nutrient plates and see what grows!

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