The seventh botanical treasure is Earth's second smallest terrestrial fern.
The world's second smallest terrestrial fern (Amer. Fern J. 88:155-157, 1998) was discovered in 1997 by Greg McKee and Carol Kelloff, NMNH Museum Specialists, while on a collecting expedition in Guyana for the Biological Diversity of the Guianas Program, directed by research botanist Vicki Funk. For the past 20 years, this program has worked to document a highly bio-diverse region of northern South America known as the Guiana Shield. Smithsonian botanists are very active in conducting fieldwork such as this to better understand global plant diversity.
Hecistopteris kaieteurensis Kelloff & G.S. McKee is native to Guyana and Brazil, and grows embedded in moss carpets with only the sporangial portion of the lamina visible. Kelloff found this fern growing in moss on the side of a tree while putting in her study plots at Kaieteur National Park, Guyana. The fronds measured up to 2 cm long but are only 0.5-1 mm wide.