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Endangered Fern Calls Franklin and Marshall Home

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cliffbrake Fern (Pellaea glabella) at Franklin and Marshall College - Kat Harrold

Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster PA already has a reputation for being green as it sports a large collection of green roofs.  During the installation of their latest green roof on Schnader Hall, a "green wall" was discovered.  Clinging to a shaded brick support wall on the roof a collection of tiny ferns were found.  Upon further examination these plants were discovered to be Pellaea glabella, commonly known as smooth Cliffbrake Ferns.

The Smooth Cliffbrake fern is a small evergreen fern with fronds reaching 2 to 8 inches long.  The Smooth Cliffbrake fern is native to the US and parts of Canada.  True to its name, these ferns are commonly found on limestone cliffs and ledges.  A rather rare species, the Smooth Cliffbrake is also considered endangered in Connecticut and Maryland, and is classified as threatened in New York according the USDA.

This just goes to show that sometimes you don't need a fancy set up to have a green wall.  From a mockery stand point, this "green wall" is maintenance free, requires no fertilizer schedule, or irrigation system, and uses exclusively native plants.  Sometimes mother nature just has the best system.
Comments
Jeff Harrison commented on 22-Aug-2011 04:56 PM
Fascinating story. Might that fern be able to continue to grow along the wall, or is that unlikely?

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