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The Fern Garden, located in front of Jenkins Hall on the Armstrong campus, displays both native and non-native ferns and their allies. Ferns flourished in the warm, moist, swampy environments of the late Paleozoic Era (360-245 million years ago) and thrived on earth for 200 million years before flowering plants appeared. Most of the early fern species became extinct but some survived and developed into one of the 10,000 species of modern ferns inhabiting earth today. Ferns represent a major step in the evolutionary sophistication of plants. Like the mosses, they reproduce by spores but the ferns developed a vascular system consisting of specialized cells for transporting fluids through the plant.