Ferns are non-flowering plants that reproduce via spores. They are an ancient plant group that first appeared about 360 million years ago. Ferns are well represented in our collections because they have fascinated botanists and gardeners for many years. This reached its peak in the 19th century when a craze for ferns, known as pteridomania, gripped Victorians who collected ferns to press in herbaria or grow in their gardens and homes. The Victorians used Wardian cases to grow their ferns indoors. These glazed cabinets, which were precursors to today’s terrariums, helped to protect plants from atmospheric pollution and maintain appropriate levels of humidity for growing ferns. As well as herbarium specimens, enthusiasts collected beautifully illustrated books and bought ferns from specialist nurseries. The herbarium’s selection includes specimens that have been especially curated by Julian Reed of the British Pteridological Society and holder of a National Plant Collection of Polypodium.