A quick google search for desert ferns actually reveals a surprising diversity of desert and semi-desert ferns. Wait...what...ferns in the desert?
|Chihuahua Mexico.Various desert ferns. Kirkland (c) 2006|
Often referred to as chelanthoids, desert ferns are true xeric ferns showing a variety of adaptations towards reducing water loss. These adaptations include smaller leaf size, fewer and sunken stomatal crypts, waxy covering, hairs, curling during dry spells and the ability in some species to completely desiccate and return to life with favorable conditions. Found in both the old and new world, a hotspot of diversity for chelanthoid ferns is the southwestern deserts of North America.
|NPS. Cookie Ballou (c)|
|Astrolepsis cochisensis on limestone ridge. Mineralarts|
And diversity was one of the key selling points for the recent naming of a genus of cheilanthoid fern after Lady Gaga. That and the bisexual nature of the ferns reproductive mode and that this species DNA base codes spell out G-A-G-A.
|Lady Gaga and fern gametophyte. Duke Univesrsity (c)|
Krkland, James. Fruita Paleontological Area. 2006. New Mexico Museum of Natural History Bulletin.
Fern spore diversity and abundance in Australia during the Cretaceous
Support me on Patreon.
Like antediluvian salad on facebook.
My other blog southlandbeaver.blogspot.