Governor Laffan’s Fern: back from the brink in Bermuda

Governor Laffan’s Fern (Diplazium laffanianum) is a fern plant that is endemic to Bermuda, but which is critically endangered, being on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Species.

The fern takes its name from Governor Sir Robert Laffan (Bermuda’s Governor from 1871 to 1877), who first sent a living plant to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in England, in 1880, from which the species was first described.

In December 2015, the Royal Gazette reported on an amazing conservation project to reintroduce the fern (which has practically been extinct in the wild for over 100 years, but conserved in laboratories) back into Bermuda’s ecosystem:

Governor Laffan’s family is also of interest for the achievements of one of his sons, the Reverend Robert Laffan, a member of the International Olympic Committee, and a founder of the British Olympic Association.

His life has been described by a sports historian, Steven Bailey, in a fascinating paper which can be found online here:



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