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  • Back from the dead: Tropical tree fern repurposes its dead leaves

    James Dalling in the plant conservatory on the U. of I. campus

    Plant biology professor James Dalling and his colleagues discovered that some tree ferns recycle their dead fronds into roots. The researchers call these repurposed fronds “zombie leaves.”

    Photo by Fred Zwicky


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  • Editor’s notes:  

    To reach James Dalling, email  

    The paper “Zombie leaves: novel repurposing of senescent fronds in the tree fern Cyathea rojasiana in a tropical montane forest” is available online.

    DOI: 10.1002/ecy.4248