A common fern can thrive on big amounts of arsenic and could possibly be put to use soaking up arsenic from contaminated land and water, according to a study published today in the journal Nature. The fern, a nonnative plant that grows in the Southeastern U.S. and California, is the first known plant to do well on a diet of the toxic nasty. Lena Ma, who led the study team at the University of Florida at Gainesville, said, "When I take people to my greenhouse to look at a fern with 8,000 parts per million of arsenic, they can’t imagine it’s toxic waste." This being America, a company in Virginia has already bought the rights to market the fern commercially.

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