They made their earliest appearance about 400 million years ago, with the club mosses and scouring rushes. Both were ancestors of the true ferns still with us today, virtually unchanged from their ancient forms.
By the end of the 19th century, many great houses in Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston and other cities had greenhouses where ferns and palms were much-favored plants.
Ferns comprise the highest division of the so-called flowerless plants. They are extensively used as food in some parts of the world.
The new year got off to a frigid start as the Tennessee Valley was hit by the lowest temperatures recorded in 20 years Jan. 7-8. The frigid conditions also prompted a new record for electricity consumption across Volunteer Energy Cooperative’s 17-county service area, which includes parts of Roane County.
Roane County Heritage Commission recently received a $2,500 donation from Ryman Hospitality Properties of Nashville. State Sen. Ken Yager, center left, representing Ryman, presents the donation to Charlotte Branson, center right, Roane County Heritage Commission president, with board members, from left, Janice Black, Stephanie Wright, Bill Milburn, Darleen Trent, Robert Bailey and Junior Hendrickson. Yager told the group Ryman Hospitality Properties plans to make it a recurring donation.