Builders everywhere must be cursing the discovery of the very rare hart’s tongue fern (asplenium scolopendrium) on a building site in Terborg. The fern has brought construction work to a halt and added tens of thousands of euros to the final project bill.

The fern now joins the korenwolf, or wild hamster, the knatterjack toad and various kinds of newts as a cause of innumerable delays in building projects throughout the country.
The discovery of three ferns growing out of the wall of a building scheduled for demolition was made a couple of weeks ago. The project to build 40 news homes was immediately stopped, much to the annoyance of locals who were waiting to move in.
Overnight, however, the ferns mysteriously disappeared. Pulled out by the roots no doubt, by someone who thought a new home was more important than a small plant. Work began again on the site without delay. But on Friday a new cluster of ferns was discovered a little further down the same wall.
The builders have now asked the environment ministry for official permission to move the ferns. Whatever happens, the project will be held up for at least three months.
The news agency report on the affair does not say if the ferns will now be under guard to stop the same thing happening again – if the would-be vandals can find them in the first place. ‘You can hardly see them,’ the project developer told news agency ANP. ‘In fact, it isn’t much more than a bit of green deposit.’

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