Tropical Ferns and Tree Ferns

Numerous tropical ferns grow in the Warm Fern House. Graceful selaginella alternates with bizarre club mosses (Lycopodium), giant aspleniums with dainty maidenhair ferns (Adiantum) or stag-horn ferns (Platycerium), which grow on other plants. As well as the ferns, palm ferns also thrive here (Cycas, Zannia and Lepidozamia), which belong to the gymnosperms (i.e. the seeds are carried naked). The gymnosperms are, phylogenetically speaking, a relatively old group of plants.

The huge tree ferns live in the cool Fern Cupola House, also known as the Tree Fern House. With their spreading filigree fronds they form a harmonious and homogeneous whole with the historical cast-iron construction of the glasshouse from the century before last. The horsetail (Equisetum) is also to be found in the department with the fern plants. The gymnosperms on show here  - the monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria), kauri pine (Agathis) and podocarpus  - are all to be found in the southern hemisphere, like the "living fossil" only fairly recently (1994) discovered in Australia, Wollemia nobilis. Many of the gymnosperms originated in the times of the dinosaurs and provided them with food.