The fern house was built as a part of the 1895 expansion of the complex. This high humidity room originally displayed acacias, later cacti, and now contains a collection of wild non-hardy ferns, fern allies, and "pre-angiosperms" including some cycads and several species of Podocarpus.
The center bed features two tree ferns: the Australian tree fern, Spheropteris cooperi and another Australian native, the soft tree fern, Dicksonia antarctica. It is only in the tropics that ferns develop this upright growth habit. All of our native ferns grow along the ground. Along the north wall we now have a collection of epiphytic staghorn ferns, Playcerium spp.
All ferns reproduce by means of tiny spores (rather than seeds) often found in clusters on the undersides of the leaves.