asplenium abscissum, jackson county, alabama 3

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asplenium abscissum, _jackson_county, _alabama_3, I_AMC7038
© Copyright Alan Cressler 2011

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I discovered cutleaf spleenwort at a highly disjunct location in northern Jackson County, Alabama on May 20, 1989. The main range for Asplenium abscissum, in the U.S., is peninsular Florida. In Florida the species grows rarely in limestone areas along the southeast coast. I would say the largest concentrations of the species are in limestone outcrops and cave entrances from the Citrus to Alachua Counties. The Jackson County, Alabama site is over 300 miles north of the main U.S. populations.

I have checked on site numerous times over the years and the colony remains safe and stable.

The colony is about 25 feet down a vertical entrance pit that is over 150 feet deep. This tropical fern is able to exist in this location because of a cave characteristic called chimney effect. The constant cave temperature in this area 56 degrees F. which represents the annual average temperature for the area. In the winter when the surface temperature is lower than 56 degrees F. the air in the cave is warmer and less dense than the colder outside air so it rises. When it is cold this cave entrance blows lots of nice warm 56 degree air keeping the plants from freezing. The colony is growing on a consistently moist degradated flowstone formation.

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title asplenium abscissum, jackson county, alabama 3
date yyyymmdd hr:mn 2009:06:20 12:21:13
source Flickr
flickr_agent alan_cressler

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