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Anogramma ascensionis (Ascension Island parsley fern)

Clinging to an unstable cliff on a sharp mountain ridge, four tiny plants of the Ascension Island parsley fern, thought to be extinct for over 50 years, were discovered by conservation biologists in 2009.
Anogramma ascensionis on a dry cinder bank on Green Mountain, Ascension Island

Anogramma ascensionis was rediscovered growing amongst exotic weeds on a dry cinder bank on Green Mountain, Ascension Island.

Species information

Scientific name: 

Anogramma ascensionis (Hook.) Diels

Common name: 

Ascension Island parsley fern

Conservation status: 

Critically Endangered (CR) according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Recorded in 1843 on wet rocks and banks at 400-550 m above sea level on Green Mountain, Ascension Island. Rediscovered in 2009 on dry cinder cliffs at 660 m above sea level.

Key Uses: 

None known.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Anogramma

About this species

When he visited Ascension in 1843, the botanist Joseph Hooker (later to become Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) discovered the tiny Ascension Island parsley fern and sent herbarium specimens back to Kew.

Although relatively common in Hooker’s time, the fern decreased dramatically in numbers until the late 1950s. After that, botanists thought that it had become extinct since it could not be found in any areas that provided suitable habitat. When a small population of the fern was rediscovered in 2009, botanists and conservationists made a concerted effort to care for the wild plants until they produced spores and could be brought into cultivation, both on the island and at Kew.


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