Ferns in New Zealand and the World

By Bill Malcolm ’57 and Nancy Malcolm. In Shakespeare’s time, people thought that ferns were magical plants, and they even believed that just by dusting themselves with fern spores they could become invisible. Modern scientists dismiss the idea that ferns are magical, but they’ve shown that ferns are unique among the world’s plants. In some ways the ferns seem primitive, yet they’ve thrived for more than 300 million years, all the while deftly fending off hordes of aggressive competitors plus legions of voracious leaf-eating and sap-sucking predators. This book shows how ferns differ from other plants, what they look like on the outside and how they’re built on the inside, explains what goes on during their eventful lives, recounts the uses they’ve been put to by Maori and other cultures, and relates the mythology that’s grown up around them over the centuries. Illustrated with 400 colour photographs, microscope views, drawings, and diagrams.