New York Natural Heritage Program
Curlygrass Fern
Schizaea pusilla Pursh

Habitat [-]
At the only New York population still known to exist, Curlygrass Fern is found on higher sphagnous mounds within a series of low, wet swales. Historically it was also collected from cranberry bogs (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011). On hummocks in bogs or wet grassy places in acid soil (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Open damp peaty or sandy depressions, sphagnous bogs and low mossy open woods, or even in crevices of ledgy shores, tablelands and lowlands (Fernald 1970).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Coastal plain poor fen*
    A wetland on the coastal plain fed by somewhat mineral-rich groundwater and slow decomposition rates of plant materials in the wetland (and thus develops peat). Plants are generally growing in peat composed primarily of Sphagnum mosses with some grass-like and woody components.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Maritime freshwater interdunal swales
    A mosaic of wetlands that occur in low areas between dunes along the Atlantic coast; the low areas (swales) are formed either by blowouts in the dunes that lower the soil surface to groundwater level, or by the seaward extension of dune fields. Water levels fluctuate seasonally and annually. Sedges and herbs are usually the most abundant types of plants. These wetlands may be quite small (less than 0.25 acre).
  • Maritime pitch pine dune woodland*
    A maritime woodland that occurs on stabilized parabolic dunes. The substrate is wind and wave deposited sand that is usually excessively well-drained and nutrient poor. The community is subject to high winds, sand-blasting, salt spray, and shifting substrate.

    * probable association but not confirmed

Associated Species [-]
  • Twig Rush (Cladium mariscoides)
  • Spoon-leaved Sundew (Drosera intermedia)
  • Slender Blue Flag (Iris prismatica)
  • Canada Rush (Juncus canadensis)
  • (Sphagnum)
  • Large Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)