Ferns are very ancient plants.
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.