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John T. Mickel

Senior Curator Emeritus, Institute of Systematic Botany

Ph.D., University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1961


Pteridophytes (Ferns and related groups)


Ferns and other lower vascular plants

Research locations

Mexico, North America


My research over the past 40 years has centered on floristic studies in Mexico. Pteridophytes of Mexico – covering just over 1000 species was published in 2004. I have also been conducting monographic studies of two fern genera, largely of tropical America: Anemia, a primitive genus of about 110 species and known in the fossil record for 150 million years, and Elaphoglossum, one of the largest and most specialized fern genera with over 600 species.

In addition to scientific study of ferns, I conduct horticultural research on the cold-hardiness of temperate ferns and work with growers to make more species available to the public.

Interpretation of ferns to the public has been a major part of my career. In this regard, I have been the founder and only secretary of the New York Fern Society (32 years), founder of the American Fern Society’s bulletin, Fiddlehead Forum (20 years as its editor), and long-time public lecturer on fern cultivation.

Selected Publications

Mickel, J. T. 1962. A monographic study of the fern genus Anemia, subgenus Coptophyllum. Iowa State J. Sci. 36: 349-482.

Mickel, J. T. 1979. How to Know the Ferns and Fern Allies. Wm. C. Brown, Dubuque, Ia. 229 pp.

Mickel, J. T. & L. Atehortua. 1980. Subdivision of the genus Elaphoglossum. Amer. Fern J. 70: 47-68.

Mickel, J. T. & J. M. Beitel. 1988. Pteridophyte flora of Oaxaca, Mexico. Mem. New York. Bot. Gard. 46: 1-568.

Mickel, J. T. 1994. Ferns for American Gardens. Macmillan, New York. 370 pp.; reprinted Timber Press, 2003.

Mickel, J. T. & A. R. Smith. 2004. Pteridophytes of Mexico. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 88: 1–1055.