Skip to main content

Full text of "Pteridologist /the British Pteridological Society."

See other formats

Volume 2 Part 1 





Officers and Committee for 1 990 

President: Dr B.A. Thomas 
President Emeritus: J.W. Dyce 

J.A. Crabbe, Dr RE. Holttum, A.C. Jermy, R. Kaye, G. Tonge 

Honorary General Secretary A.R. Busby, 'Croziers', 

16 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 

(Tel: Coventry 71 5690) 

Assistant Secretary (Membership); and Miss A.M. Paul, 

Editor of the Bulletin: Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, 

Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD 

Treasurer: Dr N j Hards 

184 Abingdon Road, Didcot, Oxon, 0X11 9BP 

Meetings Secretary: A.C. Pigott, 

43 Molewood Road, Hertford, Herts. SG14 3AQ 

Editor of the Fern Gazette: j A. Crabbe 

Material for publication should be sent to J.A. Crabbe, 

101 Magdalen Road, London, SW18 3NW 

Editor of the Pteridologist: M.H. Rickard, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, 

Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2HP 

assisted by J.W. Dyce 

Committee: P.J. Acock, P. Barnes, J.H. Bouckley, J.M. Camus, C.R. Fraser-Jenkins, 

JM. Ide, Mrs M. Nimmo-Smith, N. Timm, Dr T.G. Walker, J.R. Woodhams 

Fern Distribution Recorder: A.J. Worland, 1 02 Queens Close, Harston, 

Cambs., CB2 5QN 
Spore Exchange Organiser: Mrs M. N.mmo-Smith, 201 Chesterton Road, 

Cambridge, CB4 1AH 
Plant Exchange Organiser: Mrs R Hibbs , 30 London Road/ 

Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 3BW 
N.A. Hall, 15 Mostyn Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 5HL 
Booksales Organiser: j. W . Dycej 46 Sed|ey Rjse Loughtorli Essex# , G 10 1 LT 

Trustees of Greenfield Fund: 

'iSSHS! PTER| D9 L0GICAL SOCIETY was founded in 1891 and today conti, 

wides a wide range of information about ferns through the mediu 

has a SI mpmhS : P Z X e * chan 9es, a spore exchange scheme and fern book sales. The Society 
professional Th* w'1 Wh ' Ch mc udes gardeners, nurserymen and botanists, both amateur and 
SnS? rh P S?„rJ : r J ° U Ptendologist and Bulletin, are published 

ZptJn^!^^ P „ ub ' Shes matter ch '*% of specialist interest on international ptendology, 

1st JanuanT parh „«» interested in ferns and fern-allies. SUBSCRIPTION RATES (due on 
Gazette £ 7 5C T^frill m U . Pers ° nai Members £10, Personal Members not receiving the Fern 
cateqofvTsan^ri,^ J^T^ F ^''y membership in any 

(address" above - 


JUL 24 1990 

What is man? A question debated variously by theologians, philosophers, biologists, 
anthropologists, and also chemists, who have assured us that we are a sophisticated 
system of compatible chemicals. Again, there is another group who teach we are co- 
ordinated electrical impulses. Some would have us believe that we are the sum total 
of what we eat. Are vegetarians less aggressive than carnivores? What is the link between 
fast food and the increase in mugging? How do we relate to the image of the ferocious 
pre-historic tribes, the contents of whose stomachs appear to have been largely seeds 
and berries? At what fearful and agonising cost did experiment and experience discover 
the edible from the deadly, the delicious from the colic-inducing vegetation which grew 
on their territory? 

Obviously the major successes, such as grains, fruits, roots and green vegetables were 
recognised and subsequently cultivated. They remain the staple diet of twentieth century 
mankind. Others have slipped into oblivion, appreciated only by the less sophisticated 
and less accessible countries, and by a small number of gourmets. Among the forgotten 

At the present time the media has focused the spotlight of publicity on every possible 
aspect of diet. The bewildered and unsettled British public might turn gratefully to 'greens' 
which have no preservatives, and are raised without cruelty or exploitation. Moreover, 

1 the part of the home-caterer to introduce ferns 
menu, that is initiative. Initiative to collect your raw product, initiative 
l appetising dish, and initiative with which to inspire confidence among 
i for the meal. 

For those who believe there is more nourishment in food eaten raw, the Encyclopaedia 
of Ferns (Jones, 1987) lists five species from which to choose. They are 
Drynaria rigidula - grown and eaten in Celebes 

Cerapteris t 

Stenochlaena palustris 

Diplazium esculentum. 
This last fern is especially enjoyed in the Philippines. Such dignified names would be 
impressive on any menu, but a warning might be added in small print that whereas 
the young croziers are crisp, as they mature, they develop a mucilaginous texture. Chewing 
the cud is a prolonged operation. Few people today have the time to linger over meals. 
The careful cook might play safe by serving them softened up Either way the impact 
would be sensational. 

Equisetum arvense is listed among the fern allies that are said to taste of asparagus, 
if lightly boiled or steamed. The preparation is simple. The best results are from the 
young fiddleheads, which are washed, and then all the scales and hairs removed. Either 
steamed or boiled, the water should be salted, the fiddleheads can be either whole, 
or sliced like runner beans. The time given is from 30 to 60 minutes, until they are 
"soft enough to eat". The conscientious cook will not leave this to chance, but taste 
for texture at intervals, since the time-range is considerable. That would depend, of 
course, on the toughness of the ferns, and whether they were boiled or steamed, and 
whether intended to be served as asparagus or spinach. Melted butter might be a good 
'naps there is a recipe book available in the U.S.A.? A pamphlet 

2 Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

has been published by the Food and Nutrition Branch of Agriculture and Rural Development 

of New Brunswick. One dish is made with stir-fried chicken. I assume, therefore, it 

has the stamp of official approval. 

The nourishment stored in ferns is for the benefit of the plant, but it is in a form of 

starch digestible by man, very rich in carbohydrates. Although modern diets reduce the 

intake of starch to a minimum, it is, after all, a principle source of energy, and is necessary 

to maintain a reasonable standard of health in man, animals and vegetables. 

It was predictable that prehistoric man should have discovered ihat the tree-ferns offered 

a source of food. With primitive axes or knives, slices were shaved off the caudex, skilled 

work for the hunter-gatherers who wandered through the primaeval forests. 

The Encyclopaedia lists the tree-ferns still included in the diet of the less sophisticated 

Cyathea spinulosa parts of India 

C. medullaris New Zealand 

C. canaliculata Madagascar 

C. contaminans New Guinea and the Philippines 

C. australis Australia 

C. viellardii New Caledonia 

Cibotium chamissoi 

Dicksonia a 

s still the norm, several species of 
untainous districts. The Encyclopaedia is careful 
) lacking", but we do know that it is the upper part of the 
k that is collected, and either boiled or roasted. The same procedure must be followed 
Tor the meat course. Whether the ferns are cooked separately, or braised in the pot 
around the joint of flesh from some four or two-legged game must remain a matter 
of conjecture for me, at least until I hear a traveller's tale from some intrepid explorer. 
Species of Angiopteris and Marattia were popular with a number of ethnic groups. The 
large, fleshy stems of A. evicta were roasted and eaten as a vegetable in the Pacific 
Islands. The Maoris cultivated Marattia salicina around their villages. In many tropical 
countries the rhizomes of Blechnum indicum were collected where it grew abundantly 
m swamps. The aborigines of Australia prepared it by roasting. In general, this seems 
to be a more popular method than boiling, and would, I imagine, be more tasty. Several 
familiar species are still part of the diet of isolated peoples. In North America, Dryopteris 
campyloptera is cooked by the Indians. In Alaska, the Eskimos supplement their diet 
of whale blubber with boiled rhizomes of D. carthusiana. The rhizomes of several other 
ferns are recorded as edible, mostly strange to Europeans, but among the familiar is 
Polypodium vulgare. Some carry a word of caution. Drynaria quercifolia is collected only 
in times of famine. Food for thought there. Nephrolepis cordifolia has little fleshy tubers 
on its roots, they are scaly, and said to be as appetising as new potatoes. But they 
are only eaten in Nepal, and that after roasting. I have seen N. cordifolia 'Compacta' 
growing on dry stone walls on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean. It is a most attractive 
fern, but conscience forbade me to dig it up to look for the tubers, although there would 
have been a chance to roast them along with the lobsters at the barbeques on a palm- 
fringed beach, washed down with jugs of wine. 
Plants and man must both adapt to long droughts in Australia. Marsilea 

drummondii flouris 

ground dries out so does the 

'ing a mass of hard, woody sporocarps at the base of the withered fronds. 
J picked by the thrifty aborigines, ground into a yellowish flour, and then baked 
s. There is a note here, to the effect that the natives found them "good fare". 

Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

Nor were ferns ignored in Europe, although the taste for them is localised In Norway 
Dryopteris filix-mas is cooked and served from choice, not merely because of its 
anthelmintic properties. A few species of ferns can be used as an alternative to tea. 
In California the favourites are Pellaea ornothopus and P. murconata, which is aromatic. 
Our native Blechnum spicant is another. More popular in Europe is Dryopteris 
fragrans, but the most generally preferred across the globe is Adiantum capillus- 
veneris. As members who have read Ferns in Medicine (Graham, 1 989) may remember, 
maidenhair is well endowed with medicinal properties. Two pots, at least, of this valuable 
fern should be in every household. Should you feel bold enough to make an intoxicating 
drink, try fermenting the starchy caudex of one of the Angiopteris species, or, if you 
brew your own beer, experiment by using bracken instead of hops; it is claimed that 

Pteridium aquilinum, (P. esculentum), along with the wolf and the snake, ha 
name long before the media focussed its insensitive curiosity in that direction T.\ 
programmes have presented the wolf and the snake in a more kindly light, 
bracken has incurred a very bad press. In spite of being known to contain carcir 
properties it is still eaten in several countries. In New Zealand the bracken is first 
and then pounded until a starchy powder is obtained. The end product is like ar 
and the Maoris make it up into a dough, and bake into something like bread. 
Bracken is also included in the diet of the Filippinos, but whereas in these two c 
not in Japan and the N. American 

it is abnormally high in Japan. I have seen photographs of two brands of canned f iddleheads 
(see opposite page 8), one by a firm called McCain, and the other, Belle of Maine. I 
think they are Canadian products, but Fiddleheads is not specific. Most likely they contain 
the Shuttlecock/Ostrich feather fern. It would be no harm to open a tin, IF they are 
on sale over here, and inspect the contents. 

My closest encounter with bracken was sharp, painful and harmless. I cut my finger 
very badly indeed, by stupidly trying to break a tall frond. The blood poured out in such 
quantity that I laid a trail back to the car, which aroused the curiosity (or was it compassion?) 
of a passing Samaritan who came to see what was going on. The wound healed by 
first intention, and was exceptionally healthy. I have no first-hand experience of tasting 
inent entymologist who is a close 
during the Second World War. 

they would not repeat the experiment. BUT, neither had any lasting effects, and both 
are in good health fifty years later. 

Stella Maris Turk (Turk, 1989), whom I know personally to be well qualified to voice 
her views, wrote of the extreme danger to man or beast coming into contact with bracken 
She quoted Poisonous Plants in Britain, and their effects on Animals and Man, published 
by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food as having stated that some toxic qualities 
persist in the fern, even after cutting and drying. Her advice is to avoid it at all costs, 
and control it by an annual cull before the spores ripen in early June. 

Dr Elizabeth Sheffield of the University of Manchester replied to Mrs Turk ( 

1 990). She confirmed that Matteuccia struthiopteris is edible, and agreed that bracken 

was dangerous, but that the tests of the Ostrich fern had shown it to be free of carcinogens. 

4 Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

developed an abnormally high incidence of tumours, including leukaemias. Researchers 
in other countries agreed with this, while yet again pointing to the high rate of stomach 
cancers in Japan among those who enjoy the young shoots as a delicacy. Dr Trotter 
writes that there is plenty of bracken in his own garden, and ponders that his wife 
and gardener both died of cancer, and that both handled bracken regularly for winter 
mulching. He does point out how variable is the vulnerability of species, animal, vegetable 
and human, to carcinogens and suggests the same method of limiting the risk of infection 
as Mrs Turk, that is by cutting down the bracken before the ripening of the spores. 
He adds that the reapers have been advised to wear masks as they set about their 
hazardous work. He also admits that he has not yet eradicated Ptehdium from his own 

I cannot think that a plant which covers such great areas of land, in so many continents, 
can be lethal to man and beast. At least, the danger cannot be compared to aerosols, 
toxic waste, pollution by chemicals and sewage, or the felling of the tropical forests. 
If these precious trees are decimated, it is an invitation to plants, such as bracken, 
to take over. Man has never mastered his environment, but it should not be beyond 

problems must lie in the search for a viable constant, wherein the scales are held in 
a perfect equilibrium. It is the vision of Being, benign and timeless. Today men seem 
aggrieved to discover that nature is not slanted to make their lives cosy and free of 

I hope I have stirred the enterprise and curiosity of even the most conservative memoers 
to seek new epicurean delights. If I could choose but one such experience, it would 
be to join a party of plant-hunters in the high Himalaya, where Moonwort is cooked 
on the open camp fires, to listen to the Sherpa's tales, and from them learn a little 
more about the imponderables of Life. The atmosphere would be propitious to the sighting 
of an Abominable Snowman. 

There is much evidence today on the importance of widening our horizons, scarcely 
less on a healthy diet. Here is an opportunity for the British Pteridological Society to 
become a trend-setter. Ancient peoples have fed on ferns over the millennia and survived. 
It remains for us to endorse or reject their customs. 
Bon appetit - at the consumer's RISK! 

GRAHAM, B. 1989. Ferns in Medicine, Pteridologist, Vol. 1, Part ( 

JONES, D.L 1987. Encyclopaedia of Ferns, London. 

SHEFFIELD, E 1990. Fiddlehead Food. Pteridologist, Vol. 2, Part 1 


Please send articles, notes and reviews for publication 
cover). Material should ideally be typed and not longer t 
of 4 sides in print. Please follow the style of this issue. 
The deadline for copy is the 31 st of December each ye 

Ptendologist 2, 1 (1990) 


The title SPORE EXCHANGE is misleading. Although it may have been originally conceived 
as a scheme for exchanging spores (and also for exchanging plants, a plan which has 
only recently become operational), in practice it is a spore distribution service The spores 
are donated by about 30 different people but over 100 people request spores. There 
is, however, an important difference between our Spore Exchange and the seed 
distributions offered by sister organisations such as the Alpine Garden Society, Hardy 
Plant Society, etc. These schemes operate in early winter with a finite date for applications 
each year and at the end of the season they dispose of all surplus seed. The Spore 
Exchange, on the other hand, operates throughout the whole year, the spores being 
held as a spore bank, although the main bulk of requests are received in the early 
spring after the publication of the new list. Spores are also received throughout the 
year, not just in the autumn, and are kept for 2 to 3 years if they are of tropical origin 
and 3 to 4 years if they are British native species or cultivars. Fresh spores are despatched 
whenever possible, but not all items are received every year. Spores requested from 
Botanic Garden seed lists are often a year old by the time they reach members. However 
many spores are only available through these sources, and the Society is extremely 
grateful for the opportunity to try items not available otherwise, being regarded as a 
worthy recipient of scientific material. 

The Exchange was started in 1 972 by David Russell. Richard Cartwright took over shortly 
afterwards and built it up to its present size until he retired from the job three years 
ago. It is now probably the largest list of spores on offer in the world This vast list 
is only made possible by the small body of members who give most generously. About 
15 British members contribute regularly. Otherwise, spores are received from half a 
dozen European botanic gardens (none British) and from overseas members living in 
Europe, America, South Africa and Australia. The Australians are particularly generous 
with very large quantities coming from Mike Young at Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens 
and, this year, from Roy and Yvonne Kalmo who have taken over the running of the 
S. Australia Fern Society Spore List. New sources are being continually sought, particularly 
of anything new, rare or unusual. If members are seeking particular ferns not listed, 
it is sometimes possible to acquire them by diligent search. A recent development with 
the encouragement of the National council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens 
(NCCPG) has been the establishment of National Collections of ferns in Britain. Collection 
holders are making use of the Spore Exchange and in future it is hoped they will be 
a good reliable source of supply. Another possible source are plant expeditions to the 
wild, but unless the spores are collected by pteridologists the results can be disappointing. 
Please could our members who are going on such trips remember the Spore Exchange. 
Any surplus will be gratefully received and it would also be possible to operate a scheme 
to monitor the results of trying to raise new introductions. 

The most requested ferns are small hardy species, especially woodsias. Adiantum 
monochlamys and A. renforme are also current favourites There also seems to be a 
steady interest in ferns for the alpine house, such as Cheilanthes. Other foregin species 
likely to be hardy are popular, as are good varieties of British natives, and there is 
a steady demand for tree-ferns from both overseas and British members, especially the 

i arrive in a variety of different packaging materials - from tiny plastic capsules 
>res to large "botanical envelopes' made from scrap exercise paper, (interesting 
) doubt, if one had the time!), containing whole fronds. It really doesn't matter 
ome provided the packages don't leak en route. One member has sent beautiful 

6 Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

clean spores in tobacco paper which is actually quite a good material to handle. Overall 
the best packaging is the 'botanical envelope' which has the versatility of being made 
to any size and out of any paper, although a reasonable quality writing or airmail paper 
is optimal. (If any member would like to learn how to construct these envelopes please 
write to the Spore Exchange Organiser). 

Spores are repackaged for distribution into glassine self-seal envelopes which are 
convenient to use but have one major drawback. Tiny amounts of spores can be lost 
by adhering to the self seal gum. However, it is hoped that this problem has been overcome 
by enclosing them in a slip of airmail paper inside the self-seal envelope. Recipients 
should cut the tops off the envelopes they receive before sowing, rather than opening 
the self-seal and loosing the spores to the gum. 

Luckily, unlike the equivalent amount of seed which would require a large filing cabinet, 
the spores can be stored in six 4" by 12" boxes. Many spores remain viable for a 
considerable period of time; refridgeration should prolong their life. Some spores are 
of such short viability that they are not included on the list. Matt Busby sends out Osmunda 
spores, when fresh, directly to members. This service could be extended to other species 
where viability is a problem, but it would need definite offers from donors. This year, 
Todea barbara has been sent as fresh green spores from overseas for immediate sowing. 
Each autumn the major task is to compile the new list. This is now done with the 
help of a computer. The list is sent to two experts to check the names for spelling, 
synonyms and authenticity. The naming of plants, whether ferns or not, always causes 
problems and disputes. However, it is very important that the spore list should, as far 
as possible, have the correct up-to-date names as it is seen by all major fern growers 
and many botanists. Last year, for the first time, the botanical authorities for the names 
used on the list were available to members. However, ferns seem to be particularly 
prone to name changes which confuse the amateur who has only just come to grips 
with one name when confronted with a quite different one. There is one item on the 
list which has appeared under a different name each time for the past three years! 
This list is produced primarily to encourage people to grow ferns. It is hoped that more 
information could be made available to members on synonyms and name changes in 
a handy form. Richard Rush's Guide to Hardy Ferns is very useful in this respect, but 
■ guide to tropical and sub-tropical species is needed. Another problem is that 
•ers are at work - taxa that are at least horticultural^ distinct may be 
submerged into one loose species. This is a great pity from the gardeners' point of 
view and in such cases perhaps some kind of distinct name could be retained. 
Peter Barnes wrote in the Pteridologist (The Horticultural Nomenclature of Ferns, 
Pteridologist, Volume 1, Part 5, 1988) proposing a new system of names for British 
fern cultivars to bring them into line with the International Code of Nomenclature for 
Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). If implemented, this would bring a totally new look to the 
list. The Plant Finder, published by the Hardy Plant Society, has already partially adopted 
this system, but its application appears somewhat arbitrary. It is noted that Chris Philip 
and Tony Lord, the editors of The Plant Finder, hope that the BPS will follow suit. 
However, when all this is said and done, what the recipient requires is that the spores 
should be accurately named. Unfortunately, this cannot be guaranteed, as the reliability 
of the names is only as good as the donor's knowledge; the spores are received in 
good faith that they are what they purport to be. It is to be hoped that the majority 
of spores have been correctly identified, although even the most august institutions 
have been known to be in error and mistakes may occur in this way and be perpetuated. 
It is interesting to receive feedback on this subject, from members who have grown 
spores which turn out to be incorrectly named. 
Three further problems for the grower are whether he or she is actually receiving any 2, 1(1990) ' 

spores within the packets, contamination with other spores and whether the spores 
are viable. In an ideal world only packets which contained fresh pure spores would 
be sent out, but in practice it is often necessary to send out packets containing mostly 
dross in the hope that spores are present. Although this may be extremely frustrating 
for the grower, most people would probably prefer a small chance of success to none 
at all. Also, there is the excitement of exotic interlopers. Contamination is an ever-present 
hazard, which may occur when they are first collected, repackaged or, of course, most 
likely when finally sown. Viability is dependent on several factors, including storage 
and the natural life of the spores, and has already been mentioned. It should also, perhaps, 
be mentioned that, when raising fern cultivars from spores, only a proportion are likely 
to resemble the parent plant, and great care should be taken to select only the best 
forms. For instance, sporelings raised from Polystichum setiferum 'Plumosum Bevis' 
may yield only the straight species, but may also produce something exciting. In either 
case, they should not be called 'Bevis'. 

> who have given me such tremendous help and 
encouragement over the past three years. I have found this very rewarding work, 
particularly as I have corresponded with many interesting overseas members for whom, 
often, the Spore Exchange is their main link with the Society. 

Finally, WHERE NOW? I would like to know what members would like - greater variety, 
less variety but better quality, more new rarities, more good old cultivars, fresher spores, 
more information on synonyms, hardiness and cultivation requirements of the items 
on the list. I would like to develop the side of sending out very fresh spores, such as 
the osmundas, but would need definite sources of donors. I am also intending to build 
up a data bank of information about the spores, including synonyms, some indication 
of hardiness and country of origin. I am always very pleased to correspond with members 
about any aspect of running the Spore Exchange and, of course, welcome the receipt 
of correctly named spores at any time. 
(This article is based on a paper read at the BPS autumn meeting, 1989). 


The Past and the Future 

In the Weekend Telegraph for Saturday 20 January 1 990 the following paragraph appears 

in an article by Stephen Lacey - 

"The polystichum called P. aculeatum pulcherrimum "Bevis" is apparently the absolute tops, 
and fern-lovers boast of it as if it were a Rolls-Ro, jusl bought a 

Bevis" they say. "How on earth are we going to keep up?" Its offspring cost £1 50 each. 
Part of his information is very much past history - the fern is now known to be NOT 
Polystichum aculeatum but P. setiferum and the variety name is Plumosum Bevis'. Looking 
into the future, it is possible that one day a plant of 'Bevis progeny' may set you back 
£150, but, at present, the only ones likely to attract that price are two exceedingly - 
repeat exceedingly - rare variations which are possessed only by less than four or five 
dedicated fern growers. Completely barren and more than obstinate in the production 
of side crowns, it is most unlikely that they will ever become nurserymen's stock for 

I wish I could get £150 each for my many other 'Bevis progeny' plants! I could, indeed, 
be quite well off! 



E SHEFFIELD, Department of Cell and Structural Biology, Williamson Building, 
University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL 

In case any ex-dinner guest of mine became alarmed at the news that "... "fiddleheads" 
contain' high concentrations of carcinogenic agents ", I felt I should write and clarify 
points raised in the last issue of the Pteridologist. In her article on bracken (Pteridologist 
1. 6, 267), Stella Maris Turk made reference to people in Japan, America and Canada 
eating "this dangerous plant" While I would quite agree that bracken should be considered 
dangerous, and have heard of Americans and Canadians eating it, the "fiddleheads" 
(see photograph opposite) more commonly consumed, and indeed considered by some 
to be quite a delicacy, are the young fronds of Matteuccia struthiopteris (see phtograph 
opposite) This plant is usually referred to as the "edible fiddlehead" (or "Ostrich fern") 
and its fronds have been tested and pronounced free from carcinogens. Indeed, a thriving 
industry is based on the harvesting, canning and freezing of Matteuccia fiddleheads 
(low in both calories and salt!) in Canada (see photographs opposite). The fern grows 
throughout much of the northern hemisphere, and can be cultivated in Britain It is 
an attractive plant, with a strong "shuttlecock"-shaped growth habit impossible to confuse 
with the solitary fronds of bracken, and although I must admit to being rather unimpressed 
by its flavour, I would hate to deter future dinner guests from sampling this member 
of my collection 

VON ADERKAS. P 1984 Economic history of Ostrich fern, 
fiddlehead Economic Botany 38, 14-23 

The Fiddlehead A pamphlet containing recipes such as " 
)duced by the Food 
i Rural Development. 



2 The Dell, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 1JG 

In his article in the 1980 BPS Bulletin, Jimmy Dyce pieces together some of the hist 
behind what is perhaps the most remarkable variation ever encountered in our nat 
species - Athyrium filix femma Victonae'. Queen of the Lady Ferns The early p 
of the story, dating from its discovery near Loch Lomond in 1861, is now well-knov 
lure, in the progeny from this find, ever to achieve I 

stature, symmetry < 

f secondary crossing of the pinnules exhibited ii 

of the original plant. Having been frequently disappointed by the results of purchasing 
A ff Victonae' plants as "selected sporelings" or "from a good original" on offer from 
several sources I set out to fill some of the gaps in the more recent history of the 

My search clearly had to start at Buchanan Castle itself (see photograph on p. 9), close 
to the site in Drymen of the original discovery, and where part of the plant is known 
to have remained for many years. Presumably Druery, who wrote of a visit to Loch 
Lomond shortly before the turn of the century, had been of the same mind. My first 

to the local vegetation and wildlife as the woodland surrounding it, was a set-back 
Worse still was the realisation that a small estate of modern bungalows built within 
the Castle grounds and bearing the street name "Castle Gardens" had recently been upon the Site Of the Old walled C-ardPn wh.rh hnucoH tho ™inin*l Vfafnriaft'. 

Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

Athyhum filix-femina '\ 



Athyrium f.lix-femina Victonae'. Close up showing secondary crossing of F 2, 1 (1990) 9 

However, I had the good fortune to meet the local officer of the Nature Conservancy 
Council who, having read the 1980 article, had himself taken up the search for what 
has locally become known as the Buchanan Fern. John Mitchell, whose assistance is 
gratefully acknowledged, related his success in locating three such plants in the Drymen 
area in one of the local Naturalist journals, although a fourth (subsequent) find in a 
nearby village cast doubt on the originality of the first three finds 

The subsequent find therefore appeared to be the most promising lead and my first 
opportunity to inspect this plant occurred in January 1989 Clearly this was not the 
best time of year to study a Lady Fern, especially when the plant had been "tidied 

the fronds were fully unfurled 

A second visit in late summer removed all doubt - this was not merely a seedling f 
the original. The fronds reached 3ft 9ins from crown to tassel tip, and the three dimensional 
quality of each frond made for a superb display. The secondary crossing of the pinnules 
or "percruciate" character was also very evident. (See photographs opposite). 
The proud owner of this magnificant specimen recounted the history of his plant, the 
scarcity of which he had been unaware of until now. In 1956 his father, having been 
widowed, moved from Drymen to live with his sister in nearby Killearn and the plant 
was transferred to the son's garden in a hamlet not far from Killearn where it stands 
today. For its earlier history there are two equally probable theories to explain how 
the family may have come to grow this plant. 

The first goes back to John Mason, of Mason's Nursery at Drymen who, in the late 
1920s had obtained a piece of the original find and had grown this in order to raise 
sporelings for sale. Several seedlings found in the Drymen area undoubtedly are from 
this source. The present owner's father, however, was a keen plantsman and was a 

good friend of Mason through the local volunteer fire service - such local brigades were 
common at the time, and both men served in Drymen. Through this friendship a piece 
of the original was possibly passed on in the mid '30s. 

The second, and more simple, theory stems from the fact that the present owner's father 
was a professional waller and worked on the Buchanan Estate. The work would necessarily 
have brought h.m into regular contact with the walled garden and stone built fernery. 
As a fellow member of staff, contact with the Head Gardener would also have been 
on a regular basis. 

Whichever theory is correct must remain a mystery, although one thing 
we are indebted to the present owner's family for the part they have played i 

i/mg piece of pteridological history, which r 
; original 'Victoriae' I 

played in preserving 

e most substantial clump 
although it is possible that similar discoveries 
nave st.ll to be made. Through the generosity of its owner, and on the understanding 
that every effort will be made to distribute the plant and thus to ensure its preservation 
pieces of the plant have been obtained and distributed to members of the Society covering 
d,stnb u 7on Cat ' 0nS S ° ^ t0 6nSUre a WidG 9 e °9 ra P hic ^^ and to encourage further 
ion as vegetative propagation becomes possible. Moreover, it is anticipated that 

spores from these offsets will be freely available vi 
will hopefully ' 

spore exchange scheme and 
hybridisers in their quest for new departures 

DYCE JW 1980 Athvrium fr t 

'92-94. Tiiix-remina Victoriae'. The British Pteridological Society Bulletin 2, 

MITCH 6 EL 9 L 7-io 8 ; MASON ' JB ' 1981 The BuChanan Fern F ° rth """">»* *"d H.storian, Volume 


HistwSoTJtl T ene f N °r 1 84 PP - 1989 - Somerset Archaeological & Natural 
incl pp) Y ' ° n CaSt ' e ' Taunton ' ^merset TA 1 4AD. Price £2.50 (£3.00 

duL^t'n h ttle b °,°^ 3ttemptS t0 g,ve you a " V° u want t0 know on ferns < no 
wrth sXu tt r eta ,IS,9r0win g inSome ^t.Detai.softhespeciesincludedescnptions 
with silhouette illustrations, habitat notes and a 

SomeVset^Thr ,,,uai, * l,ons ' naD,tat note s and a brief comment on their U13l „ 

The book should enthuse local amateur natural historians to take more of an interest 
of tlTrn" '^^ W " h n ° thing more < a P erson cou| d become acquainted with most 
purchase T h p° n a SPeC,eS °! ^ ln the area However ' even though I recommend its 
easv to riictin ! a u nUmber of im P r °vements that could have been made. It is reasonably 
dPt«ik »n I !. Sub - s P ecies of Dryopteris affinis, so I would not have left such 

as PoIIVh ^l , iX SimNar,y ' ' WOuld have liked ^ see mention of hybrids, such 
the^ The T X e// "' WhJCh 9re 6ither kn0Wn from the area ° r vet might be found 

,!' S ^ a f ^ W i i nnacuracies of terminology that might mislead beginners 

— « " icw miicujuracies 

he e Iow„r?r e,t ,? e,eSS thG b ° 0k iS effective as a beginner's guide and I suspect 
the low pr,ce w.ll qu.te nghtly attract a large number of buyers. 

Pteridologist 2„ 1 (1990) 11 

account of the life of William Williams the 'Botanical Guide' 


Bod Orwel, Ffordd Llanllyfni, Penygroes, Gwynedd, LL54 6LY 
As mountaineering gained popularity during the first half of the 19th century the saga 
which has evolved from that 'golden age' appear in such books as Edward Whymper's 
'Scrambles Among the Alps' and John Tyndall's 'Hours of Excersise in the Alps'. From 
literature such as this we learn of the vital role that local guides played in early 
mountaineering and botanical expeditions. Not only did the visiting climbers and botanists 
benefit from the locals' intimate knowledge of their native mountains and valleys, but 
it was fashionable in those days to hire a guide. 

There were many guides operating in Snowdonia during this period, and although they 
never attained the same level of publicity as that of the romanticized Alpinists, they 
form an important chapter in the history of the mountainous region known as Eryri. 
One of the busiest guides of this period was William Williams of the Royal Victoria 
Hotel, Llanberis, a man who was known locally as 'Will Boots'. In addition to the normal 
services provided by guides in conducting visitors to the summit of Snowdon, Williams 
was also a specialist. He was familiar with the localities of the rare plants of the district, 
with a particular interest in the rarer ferns, and occasionally ascended Snowdon three 
times in one day; his clients mounted on sturdy ponies while he walked. 
William Williams was born in the parish of Llanfwrog, Denbighshire, in 1805 and entered 
service as a groom when 13 years old. He worked for M. Turner, Abbots Bromley, 
Staffordshire for 4 years, and then in the White Lion, Rhuthun, and also the Black Lion, 
Mold as a driver. He later moved to Bangor, working in the Liverpool Arms and the 
Penrhyn Arms. During his stay in Bangor he attended school for 6 months, the fees 
being paid by himself. This was the only course of formal education he ever received. 
He came to live in Llanberis in 1832 and worked at the Dolbadarn Hotel before moving 
to the Royal Victoria where he gained reputation as the 'Botanical Guide'. 
There is no evidence to show how or when he first became interested in botany, and 
according to one source, another local guide, his first interests were crystals and insects. 
It is almost certain that Williams' knowledge of plants was restricted to the rarities, 
and that he profited from this knowledge during the fern collecting era. 
He was known to many of the leading botanists of the day, and it is certain that he 
benefited from his acquaintance with Charles Cardale Babington (1808-1895) who later 
became Professor of Botany at Cambridge. Babington was a regular visitor to Snowdonia, 
missing no opportunity to see in their natural habitats the plants about which he taught. 
When Edward Newman (1801-1876) published his classic book 'A History of British 
Ferns' we see from a passage on page 77 in the 1 854 edition that he also was acquainted 
with Williams. "William Williams, an active and intelligent Snowdon Guide is but too 
Snowdonian station of both the Woodsias: I don't think he 
\, but he is subject to such constant solicitations from 
botanical tourists to be conducted to the localities..." - further proof of the demand 
on Williams' services during the Victorian fern craze. William Pamplin (1806-1899) was 
another friend of Williams; born in Chelsea, he came to live in Llandderfel, Merionethshire, 
where he tried to establish the North Wales Central Botanic Gardens. Pamplin spoke 
of Williams with respect and praise, but this is not the case with all the botanists who 
came in contact with him. In an article on the plants of Snowdon by John Barton of 
Cambridge which was written in April 1857, the author accuses Williams of deliberately 

Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

misleading him. Barton and a friend had ascended Snowdon from Beddgelert and saw 
Williams in one of the summit huts. The guide had come up the pony track from Llanberis 
with a gentleman to see the sunrise. Later, while Barton and his friend were coming 
down the zig-zags' from Bwlch Glas they saw Williams climbing up one of the cliffs 
of Clogwyn y Garnedd. "We had little doubt", says Barton, "that he was engaged in 
withT" ^ SOme / ar f u plants < as he had the reputation of being well acquainted 
with almost every men of the whole Snowdon district." Barton's curiosity got the better 
ot him and he went across to meet Williams at the foot of the cliff "He came down 
to us with a magnificent specimen of Aspidium lonchitis which he had just obtained 
from the heights above." During the conversation which followed Williams agreed to 
accompany them to where the Woodsia was to be found, but Barton was still not satisfied, 
w tl T nowea us a ver y sma " P' ar, t of what he declared to be Woodsia hyperborea, but 
had LV n T ,nen H eSS «°/ WhJCh ' C ° Uld n0t VGntUre t0 V0uch ' as a " the mature fronds 
wit 1 T!Tt^ ° r the gratificat 'on of some greedy fern-hunters. The plant itself 
Tver t Td w y n ^ ^ " piece ° f r0Ck ' S0 that we had before talked almost 
over it, and Williams informed us, with a grin that it was his usual nrartirP Pithpr 

Z^z: p a " ,h d e p,ams of woodsia h - ^xszzxzz %z 

other writP accust °med to give wrong habitats when applied to by Newman and 

tothr^nZlZ'rT 8 ^ thG localities of rare species." Williams then led the party 
■ • 7il V D ° ' al ° nQ thG ridge t0 Bwlch Coch - and dovvn through Cwmglas 

Lanber.s Pass, seeing such plants as Saussurea alpina, Polystichum lonchitis, 


Lloydia serotina, Asplen* 

Woodsias. "Williams' intention evidently was 

and he concludes his article by stating "I v 

exptorers in those regions to trust to nothing t 

of the various geological strata while searching for plants' 

Pamplin, on the other hand, speaks highly of him in a k 

January 1858, in which we c 

tne mountains. The party left the Rectory ax Llanberis at 9 
Zll >!^ 6riS PaSS aS <* a * ^nt y CS 

account of Williams leading a botanical ramble i 

e h a e s a te h r!y I'cZrZl^ZV^T™?* * ^ *"* Fr ° m here they t0 ° k 3 n0rth ' 
follows an mtPrl ? 9 ndQe ° f Braich * Gribin down towards Cwm Idwal. Here 

Uoydia serotinTZ? ° f j he P ' antS that William s showed the party, among them 

wiC *z ^z°r: a ; d Dryas octopetaia - h was interesting to ,earn how 

Pampl.n I have nlpr ,1 Po^chum lonchitis and Woodsia ilvensis to give to 

</-n S ,s i qute SC arc in n th S ' n9e 'T * * *""*"■ '" Cwm ' dwal itSe,f and **** 
assuring that as wld v L r T** ^ C ° nC ' UdeS by praiSing Wi " iamS ' effortS in 
thedavs walk A . , tY ° f P ' antS as DOSsible wa * seen during the course of 

by Humphreys oiCaLZn^T ^^ in 3 Sma " guide book to Snowdon pubHshed 
"We are I! ! " dUrmg the 1850s followed by a footnote which reads: 

Guide to SnnwHn , m® abOVe Ust from th e Visitors Book of Mr William Williams, 
umae to bnowdon from Llanberis." 

i The Gardener's Chronicle of 

Williams h 

July 11th 1863, 

"strict. MostVrooa;; 3!^!^ ^eTnchomanes specosum in the Snowdon 

1 Planted Irish specimens c 
Plants ever sJ^^^rTeiT " £ ? ^ "' " "* <* °" T^' 

™;oaZ\ dunn9visi,s,osn= "' a ™-- 

There is no aupqtinn oc- ♦ 

Snowdonia, and he ?eoarL th ***" f W ^™ S ' know,edge of the plants of 
regarded the rarer ferns with a distinct possessiveness, and would 

r date Herbert Stansfield also reputedly 

specosum into wild localities in North Wales (Hawkins, 1928)). 

Ptendologist 2, 1 (1990) 

with a flair for gaining publicity and wore a fur cap bearing the words "Botanist Guide" 
in bold letters. The following lines which were sent for publication to the North Wales 
Chronicle a short time after his death, is said to be the guide's own work. 

William Williams, guide to Snowdon, 

Anxious that all those who 'bode in 

England, Scotland, or old Ireland, 

Should place their feet upon much higher land 

Than ever was in those parts seen 

By young or old that e'er have been. 

Gives notice, that if here they'll ride, 

He, with much pleasure as their guide, 

Will show them quarries, lakes, and mines, 

Snowdon, and the place he finds, 

Plants that nowhere else abound, 

And which by him alone are found: 

The house where Margaret Evan died, 
St. Perry's well and all beside: 
Anglers too, who with a boat 
Can be supplied and when afloat, 

Within the range of Snowdon view 
Excepting one, which he declares 
To bring folks to he never dares, 
Not being on the best of terms 

"The Dev 

it's Kitchen", it is named, 

And by sc 

>me tourists is much famed; 

Tis here, 

we're told, the king satanic 

Allures his own by means botanic, 

But there 

t parts and master too. 

And folks 

who wish to go with these, 

Can walk 

the road with greatest ease; 

To guide elsewhere, 'midst many millk 

There's n- 

one so good as William WMlia 

At 10 am 

on the morning of 

June 13th, 1861, Williams 

o conduct a lady am 

j gentlemen to the summit c 

to Beddgelert. During the course of the ascent Williams left 

plants and 

rejoined them later 

on. After reaching the sum 

j couple to go and collect 

time to collect specimens of Woodsia alpina for his clients. On this occasion he failed 
to return. Meanwhile his clients, who were waiting for him in one of the summit huts, 
decided to continue their journey guideless down to Beddgelert. Word soon got around 
about Williams' disappearance and subsequently a search party was organized. His body 
was later found at the foot of a precipice on Clogwyn y Garnedd and, according to 
a report in one of the local newspapers, the accident occurred as a result of a broken 

Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 
tombstone is marked 











Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald. June 22 1 861 . 
Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald. April 1 1910. 

DESMOND, R. 1 97 md Irish Botanists &c. London. 

HASKETT SMITH, W.P. 1 895 ,/es. Vol 1 1 . 

HAWKINS, EH. 1928. Tribute to H. Stansfield. Br. Fern. Gaz. 5:220-221. 
HUMPHREYS, H. (pub.) Guide to the Summit of Snowdon. Caernarfon, n.d. 
JENKINS, D.E. 1899. Beddgelen -..lore. Porthmadog. 

JONES, D. 1988. Old Guides and Woodsias Pteridologist, Vol. 1, Part 5. 

on/c/e. June 20, 1861 
NEWMAN, E. 1854. A History of British Ferns. London 
North Wales Chronicle. June 22, 1861 . 
North Wales Chronicle. June 29, 1861 . 

The Phytologisi 

The Times. June 25, 1861 . 

Yr. Haul. 1939 re. William Pamplin. 

WILLIAMS, J Lloyd. 1945. Atgofion Tri Chwarter Canrif. Cyf. IV. London. 


by Frank and Libby Thome. Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Vermont 05091 
USA. $14.95 (p&p $2.50). 

This book, more than any other I have read for a long time, illustrates how an enthusiastic 
amateur can do so much by discovering and describing fern hybrids. Written as a tribute 
to Henry Potter by two friends and fellow amateur pteridologists, the book gives 
descriptions, key factors in hybrid identification and photographs of the 21 hybrids in 
northern New England and eastern New York. Henry Potter (1 891 -1 986) was a Vermont 
farmer who studied his local natural history for most of his life and spent many years 
later studying fern hybrids, especially of Dryopteris. The book is said to have been written 
to complete his work and his wish to publish a field guide. The way it is written will 
ensure its usefulness in field identification and in the herbarium. The book is clearly 
of value to anyone interested in the American ferns but it should also, hopefully, stimulate 
others to search for hybrids as thoroughly as Henry Potter did. THOMAS 

Ptendologist 2, 1(1990) 


Although this fern is named 'Divisilobum Bland' it is, in fact, a true plumoso-divisilobum 
It was a wild find, made about 1 910 by J H Bland of Tobarcooran, Carmoney, Co Antrim, 
on Carmoney Hill a few miles from Belfast About 1914 the finder sent the fern to 
a Mr Bensted of Detling, near Maidstone in Kent. Mr J E Austin of West Court, Dethng 
acquired it from Mr Bensted and in 1920 a plant was sent by Mr Austin to Dr F W 
Stansfield who named it Polystichum angulare (now setiferum) 'Divisilobum Bland'. 
It is not only the best divisilobum ever found wild but is, undoubtedly, the finest pure 
divisilobe in cultivation, notwithstanding the number of other beautiful forms found wild, 
and the still greater number raised from the spores of the Jones-Fox and other strains. 
It is in every way superior to 'Divisilobum proliferum Bagg' (Henleyae) which Col Jones 
(of Jones' Nature Prints fame, - see Pteridologist, Vol 1 part 6, pp 262-264) thought 

lower pinnules are very long, overlapping c 

inate when well-developed The ultimate segments are spiny and very slender, 
fronds and the plant a very open and airy appearance. The pinnules in the 
f of the frond are tripinnate only and much shorter. The variety is a good 
fertile and produces spores freely, as well as bulbils. Right from its early 
jltivation the bulbils have been found to be not very easy to grow on into 
I this has been proved so by me, except on a very few occasions when we 
verv wet summers. In addition, my plant has been very loathe to develop 

(Dr F W Stansfie 

i never had an offset from ; 

i-law) gave me 1 

plant - whereir 

I was lucky in that the plant I 2, 1 (1990) 17 

Greenfield in 1950 showed a small offset the same year and I was able to detach it 
from the parent two years later and grow it on successfully. In due course it was presented 
to another fern grower. I have never had another offset since 

In most years my Bland produces a large crop of bulbils and in wet summers these develop 
into tiny plantlets. When this happens, hopefully I peg down some of the fronds on 
to fine compost and, for a time, they seem to do well, but eventually the young plants 
die off, confirming the experience of the early growers. Very rarely, a few reach the 
stage when I can plant them out separately but they have only survived successfully 

I have never seriously attempted to grow this fern from spores. Looking back through 
my old records I note that I made a sowing in 1952 which successfully produced a 
host of tiny plants. These were planted on but following records do not mention them 
and I presume they were given away - or, more likely, died! I still have only the one 
plant, growing as strongly as ever, a fern to be greatly admired. In addition, I am lavishing 
much attention on a 1988 bulbil which has lived through the 1989 drought and, with 
luck, may become my number two plant. 

When I submitted this article to our Editor for his approval he promptly wrote back, 
telling me that he had made a successful sowing some years ago from Bland spores 
which he had received from me. He sent me twelve fronds from the plants he raised, 
ranging from exceedingly plumose varieties to some with very simple development in 
the pinnules. I was most interested in them and depict some of them here. They are 
the first progeny of Bland I have seen or known about (see Fig. 2). Compared with the 
parent (see Fig 1 ), the progeny demonstrate excellently the wide range of form, including 
some plants with their division much more elaborated. This can be expected when sowing 
spores from a good variety which has already diverged greatly from the species form. 
At present, all my ferns, including my plant of Bland, are being moved to our Editor's 
garden - sadly, I am getting too old to look after them properly. Any members, interested 
in P. setiferum 'Divisilobum Bland' and wishing to "try their hand" with its spores, can 
probably obtain some from Martin Rickard this summer and, with some luck and proper 



51 Belmont Road, Bangor, Gwynedd 

Equisetum x font-queri Rothm., the hybrid between E. palustre L. and E. telmateia Ehrh., 

was first noticed in July 1989, during a visit to the small area of dunes at Traeth Lligwy 

on the east coast of Anglesey, v.-c. 52. This was formerly an attractive place with plants 

such as Sanguisorba minor, Galium verum, Anacamptis pyramidalis, an abundance of 

Rosa pimpinellifolia and much Equisetum. However, increasir 

past thirty years and especially the construction of two lar 

end of the bay, has resulted in the destruction of a large part c 

The hybrid was found on the stable dunes furthest from th 

dense and continuous stand for over 65 metres along the i 

metres inland under the fringe of Grey Sallows which bord 

The plant was conspicuous by the large size of its shoot 

tall, and their pencil-thick stems (cf. Page, 1982) with 

internodes. These features, as well as the presence of c 

indicated that it might be the hybrid between E. palust 

sent to Edinburgh was confirmed as this hybrid by Dr. C.f 

Ptendologist 2, 1(1990) 
had all the features of the previous finds except for the somewhat longer branches 

-equently more than 20 cm long) g.ving the shoots a bushier appearance and often 

i overall outline closer to that of E telmateia. 
addition to the conspicuously pale internodes of the main shoots, other characters 

hich slow the influence of E telmateia are the long teeth on the main-stem sheaths 

id the shallowly biangulate branch ridges. The similarity to E palustre can be seen 
the extended branchless tips of the main shoots (often 10 cm or more) the more 

robust branches, the broader whii 

te margins to the teeth of the branch sheaths, 

sin shoots, 

orphic habit < 

When the colony was first found, many of the cones had already been lost but examination 
and r^rilrTh ^T 1 th8t m ° St ° f the Sp ° reS are abortive ' bein 9 small < deformed 
as Dr Page remarked ^ ^ h3Vin9 " rudimentar y thou 9 h inoperative elators" 

^1V^T eSte ? U 7 C T 0l0ny (R ° bertS & Page ' 1979 > which has nafther parent in 
met es of ' on V 't C h n i' * J™* ^^ hybnd haS E P a,ustre 9™wing with ' n a few 
wh ch h/j °? 1 ' 0Wer - |ym 9' wetter sa "dy soil close to the stream, Afon Lligwy, 
aw v at th P n Th S T Whi ' e " t6lmatela ° CCUrS ,n abundance about 250 metres 
aTuLo . nf hh t r K end ° f the dUneS ' 9r0win 9 on a heav V' Poorly-drained loam with 
of both nllf r ° Wn ClaV denVed fr ° m Triassic tiM < Rober ts, 1958). The presence 

of bo h parents suggests that, as in the case of the Shropshire colony Page & Busby, 
pec" s Mo^Th ^ T ,0CaNy * thiS Site b * hybridisation between the parent 
for 1 1 consTdrab" time 9 "" * ^ C °'° ny *"*»- th « * haS been eStab " Shed here 

Ind d a Ss°t f nt. X f °T qUerl t0 ° CCUpy a Wide ran 9 e of habita ts from roadside banks 
descr bed/P^nJ 107? i'I ° f adj3Cent m °° rland on the ls,e of Sk V e ha * alread y been 
chTp ( Z in 121 ^^ WOrCe ? rSh ' re —V grows among coarse Nmestone 

Shropshire S ^ Sa^h lo^Z' ^ & Pa96 ' ^ Wh " e ^ 
of an adiaront h \T T oase-rich soil alongside a canal towpath and at the bottom 
them in bL?nn f 7 ^ & BUSby ' 1985) The Anglesey colony differs from all of 
cZ 2 Z 1 T T, StabNiSed ca,careou ^ dune sand overlying a layer of boulder 
and r b ' e n0t far bel0W the surface - But here, too its vigorous spread 

and E LT c T r V!** jt apP6arS t0 have dis P' a ced the other horsetails, £ arvense 

helDfuTrnlln^A, '^ PaQe f ° r readin 9 the note in manuscript and making some 

P comments. Also to Mrs. M.R. Davies for her help in the field. 

PAGE, C.N., 1973. Two hybrids in Fn„ c , 

PAGEi'CN.! & BUSBY A R i985 W ^ tUra ; iSt "*?"* C °" inS 

PIGGOTT, AC 1 984 'Cmo I Equisetum * font-quer, in Shropshire. Pteridologist 1 :72. 
ROBERTS, E i 958 The^ouT%TT ° n a C °'° ny ° f &»"«*««" x font-queri. Ptendologist 1 :37. 
ROBERTS, R^P^E^S^^^V^y^*^- H M S ° London . H ts 

addition to the f.ora FernoTu, 6," 62 "**"* '" ^'^^ " ^^ 

Ptendologist 2, 1 (1990) 



The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2HP. 

At one of Fibrex Nursery's shows in London during 1989 our member, Stuart \ 

noticed bulbils on Polypodium vulgare agg. 'Elegantissimum' Knowing my in 

polypodiums Hazel Key of Fibrex Nurseries drew my attention to this and she 

some plants covered with bulbils. 

The bulbils are produced direct from the sorus and take the place c 

a phenomenon known as apospory. Each sorus produces a tuft of several young fronds, 

all simple, exactly like the first leaf of a polypod sporophyte when produced via the 

normal sexual process. Virtually every sorus is given over, at least in part, to these 

aposporus growths with primary leaves at all stages of development. 

I had never heard of bulbiferous polypods and therefore excitedly made inquiries to 

some of our more knowledgeable members, but they too had never heard of anything 

like it in polypodium. 

I was left to wonder why plants at Fibrex should have behaved so unusually; surely, 

if it happened in 1989 it must have happened before? Sure enough, a search of that 

unsurpassed mine of all information pteridological, The British Fern Gazette revealed 

several references to bulbils on P. vulgare agg. 'Elegantissimum'. 

In 1 91 5 no less an authority than C T Druery commented: 

'...the fern (Elegantissimum') is additionally interesting as a producer of dorsal bulbils on 
the more dissected fronds under favourable cultural conditions, but our own attempts to 
raise from them have so far failed. These bulbils appeal a spore heaps, 

a rare but not unique phenomenon' (The British Fern Gazette, Vol.3, p9, 191 5) 

Later, in 1971, Druery again wrote on this subject: 

'...soral bulbils have been recorded as occurring on Adiantum capillus-veneris Daphnites' 
and 'Imbricatum' and on Polypodium vulgare 'Elegantissimum', while most of the superbum 

find. In all these cases the bulbils are seated on the soral sites, and are us 
by sporangia grading from imperfect and aborted ones to perfect ones witr 
of perfect spores which germinate freely and yield fairly typical plants (see S 
1988). In the case of the polypodium, such bulbils occur only on the moi 

I think, to aposporal tendencies. The s 

, Vol. 3, pi 96-1 97, 1917) 
j plants from his bulbils 

in this direction'. (The British Fern Gazette, Vol. 6 p299, 1934). 
It is interesting here that Herr Kestner found bulbils on Trichomanoides' and 
'Cornubiense'. Unfortunately, due to confusion in nomenclature within this group it is 
difficult to know which varieties he meant but it is possible that either of these two 
varieties, common law 'Cornubiense', and what we today call Trichomanoides' could 

20 Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

I believe that bulbils on 'Elegantissimum' have been seen only rarely because the plant 
needs to be grown in optimum conditions under glass - rarely available to growers 
these days. In future, however, it might be worth growing some of these plants under 
protected conditions in the hope that bulbils will be produced in sufficient quantity to 
allow some success in their propagation. 

To date Fibrex Nursery have pegged out several fronds on a heated mist bench and 
I await with great interest the outcome of their experiment. 


An idea for growing Polypodiums 

Polypodium australe, the Southern Polypody, is scarce in the British Isles. It is largely 
le Iberian peninsula 
I dry and limestone is common. P.australe obviously 
thrives in such situations, enduring the hottest months in a dormant state, not flushing 
its new fronds until August or September. 

Transferred to the garden this character of summer dormancy is a nuisance. At a time 
when most garden plants are at their peak P.australe and its cultivars can look a mess, 
with only old dying fronds or, at best, a bare patch of soil. 

In my garden where I grow quite a lot of polypodiums, this phenomenon is a big problem. 
Entire beds are non-events for the three best summer months. One way of counteracting 
the problem on a small scale is to plant clumps of polypods as isolated patches. This 
I have done with some success but recently in the garden of Robert Bolton of Birdbrook, 
Essex, I came across a more novel way of growing these fascinating plants. 
Here polypods have been planted as a strip around the edge of an island bed. This 
strip is only about 1 foot (30 cm) wide. The centre of the bed has been filled with 
other plants of choice. The beauty of this design is that in summer the bare edges 
of the bed containing the polypods is inconspicuous, while at other times there is a 
3 fringe of beautiful green fronds - right through the middle of winter, of course. 

Having seen Robert Bolton's garden I have tried out the same idea. So far I am encouraged 
that it will be a success. Time will tell! 

Footnote: If any member would like to see Robert Bolton's border for themselves please 
contact Robert Bolton at any reasonable time (Daytime: Ridgewell 246, evenings or 
' " : Ridgewell 258). 

Ptendologist 2. 1 (1990) 21 



National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Republic of Ireland 
Ferns do not have an especially prominent place in early manuscript herbals whtch 
were essentially encyclopaedias of medicinal plants rather than regional floras or field 
guides. Those ferns believed to be efficacious were figured and noted among the flowering 
plants, mosses, fungi and other simples, but very few of the surviving hand-painted 
mediaeval herbals contain pteridophyte illustrations of the quality displayed by Ms Egerton 
2020, now in the British Library, London - Blunt & Raphael (1979) reproduced the 
wonderful Viola odorata (violet) and Vitis vinifera (vine) by the anonymous artist who 
worked in Padua about 1400. The meticulous portrayal of violet and vine by the master 
of Egerton 2020 contrasts starkly with the work, one century later about 1 500, of another 
anonymous Italian who illustrated a herbal now in the University of Vermont (580 9 
M31-45.716) - in Blunt & Raphael (1979) some folios are reproduced including that 
which shows 'polipodio'. At least it is possible to agree that the object is a fern, of 
the genus Polypodium, but this particular portrait has none of the lucidity of the earlier 
artist's work. I contrast these two merely as exemplars of the chaotic state of European 
botanical art during the mediaeval period: just as today there were highlights and nadirs, 
plants were not usually depicted accurately, and a substantial proportion of the portraits 
were entirely ficticious. 

general remarks. It is a fifteenth century botanico-medicinal manuscript preserved today 
in the Royal Library, Albert I, Brussels, and coldly labelled Codex Bruxellensis IV 1024 
(Opsomer 1 980, 1 984). 

The text of Codex Bruxellensis IV. 1024 is a compilation mainly derived from Matthaeus 
Platerius's De simplici medicina (otherwise known as Circa i 
the manuscript can be called Livre des simples medecines. It 
whereas the text is the work of a single scribe, the 457 miniatures (almost every page 
is embellished) clearly were added by more than one artist. The illuminations are of 
three general kinds, perhaps by three artists. Thirty-four of the miniatures portray 
contemporary scenes, each one more or less relevant to the paragraphs that it illustrates: 
there is a townscape with two chimney-sweeps, one wearing a straw boater, his green 
tunic covering an ample stomach (f.90r); a glass-maker with a shield over his eyes (f.205r) 
blows a globe; a man smelting copper in a furnace (f.116r) is assisted by two others 
working bellows; a housewife with a broom swats huge spiders (f.200r) as her daughter 
and the cat play around her feet. There are groups of animals in some of the miniatures: 
the elephant (f.184r) is amazing; on its back is a castle, secured by two buckled leather 
straps, in which stand two knights in full armour holding scarlet lances Elsewhere 
there are lions: one (f.147v) emerging from a dark forest frightens a man; another 
wonderful lion (f.123r) firmly restrains a most efficacious "LeontopodiunV 
sp.) with his paws, as the text declaims: 

Leontopodium is a herb called pie de lion (lion's foot)... It grows in open fit 

and near ditches..., a married man who is unable to have intercourse with 

wife should gather this plant which has 7 branches when the moon is wani 

he should cook it in water and wash the whole of his body in it. On the f 

night he should make a fumigation of aristolochia in front of his bedroom, tl 

go in to his wife, and he will do his duty. 

Three hundred and ninety-four botanical miniatures add to t 

IV. 1024 which has been published in facsimile (Opsomer 1980) with an accompanying 

volume of essays that explain the herbal's origins, and a complete English translation 

of the quaint text (Opsomer 1 984). William Stearn has contributed an essay on mediaeval 


plant names and illustrations, in which I 

ficticious and real plant portraits indicates 

are indeed superbly portrayed - Hyoscyamus niger (henbane, f.105r), Geum i 

(wood avens, f.96v), Anthemis cotula (stinking chamomile, f.62v), Cichorum intybus 

(cichory, f.183v), Agrostemma githago (corncockle, f.96r), and Euphrasia sp. (eyebright, 

f.82v) are a few of the best. The ficticious portraits are crudely imaginative. 

One of the company of artists who painted the miniatures evidently lived in a city with 

crumbling walls. He was a most observant person, noticing and painting the gaping 

cracks between the bricks and stones - the chimney-sweeps (f.90r) are seen against 

a background of well maintained houses, whereas the furnace for one coppersmith is 

m a very rickety building (f.78r). What is most obvious in this particular artist's work 

is his portrayal of the plants of the decadent city. He saw that there were ferns rooted 

m the crumbling mortar, and faithfully portrayed them in these habitats - Adiantum 

ruta.murana (f.44r - the editors of the facsimile dubbed this portrait 'ficticious' because 

it accompanies the text about 'Capellis veneris' but it is surely a 

of wall rue), Asplenium adiantum-nigrum (f.65v - a trifle crudkTand" supposed "L ~ 
Leteracn ofi,c,narum), Asplenium trichomanes (f . 1 69r) and a thoroughly accurate Phyllitis 
scolopendrium (U92 V ). Are these, perhaps, the earliest portra.ts of ferns in their natural 
naDitats.' He also depicted ivy tumbling over a doorway, with its stems creeping through 
tTrtnr Pm l 5^ '" the C ' ty Wa " S (f82r) ' and Sedum acre < f 208v ) and Sempervivum 
TrZT \ ' 9rOWm9 ° n Wa " S Alon 9 side the paragraph on 'polipode' in Livre des 
simples medecmes ,s another lovely fern portrait but the plant is not shown growing 
rJL W h VA SUbJGCt (m ° St probab| V Oreopteris limbosperma) does not occur in such 
rocKy nabitats anyway. This particular picture was perhaos not oainted bv the artist 
who loved walls but by another v 

Ias V to 9 H nal T X a ^ COmpan y in 9 the min.atures .s in Latin, and the archaic script is not 
mJmpJfhK? U V he he ' pful translatj on (Opsomer 1984) allows us to savour the 
mediaeval herbalists lore. Thus of polipode'. we may learn that it cures 'gripes'. 

makPnn.' 1 *? C °° k ?' ° f C °° k itS P ° wder with scented S P' C ^ and use it... (to) 

sumcien v P ° Sn Y ^ "* f '° Ur and e " S and eat them The V '-sen the belly 

sufficiently, sometimes too much. 

'Scolopende' (hart's 

i find some i 

tongue fern) was also cooked, this time in water ar 
lieve pain in the spleen and 'to clear the liver passage'. 

sunny place, make pancakes of it with flour and give 
st. It is very good because this plant makes one urinate 

iHus. a ionisstaTna' mM - vam ' a 9 ains < «"'*■ <" wells and damp places', and the 
to the mid! r k " ma,denhair sPleenwort with crowded pinnae distinctly 'attached 
P achyrach,s!) MoreovenhTfeln' , "f ^ <1989) "" Asplemum <**°™"« su ^ 

butThaVnot uJh\ "* ° f a ' m ° St any manif estation of pains in the neck, methinks, 
ui inea it even on a pteridomaniac. 

S™' mern^^r 5 ' mPaled ° n barbed ™' a ,an -s o, hawthorn bushes should 
memory the invaluable receipt inscribed under 'File*' (not illustrated, but 

Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

identified by the editors as Polypodium vulgare). 

in the flesh or in the body. Mix together fennel and fern root, add a suffice 

quantity of honey, boil all these together in an iron saucepan until the mixti 

takes on the consistency of a plaster, and apply this, it is wonderfully effective 

No advice is given on what to do while you wait for the miraculous plaster to 

but remember to pack an iron saucepan, fennel and honey in your vasculum i 

next out fern-hunting. 

As an example of fifteenth century European I 
medico-botanical treatises. Codex Bruxellensis 
The quaint cures regaled in it are entrancing, t 
growing on walls is probably the most fascinat 
I use that pronoun deliberately - was no unworldly recluse, and \ 
humour is very evident. To illustrate grain froissie (f . 1 0Or) he created a vignette in which 
a man is using a pestle and mortar; behind him stands a naked woman who has covered 
his eyes with her hands; the modern editor suggests that the lady has just surprised 
the miller, playfully quipping "Guess who?" Even more illuminating is the scene in a 

face mostly hidden, outside the dairy but so determined to play that he has stretched 

both arms through the window and is groping the maiden - there can be no other 


And thereby, dear readers, my title. What modern flora c 

insight into pteridophyte ecology and the lust for life? 

BLUNT, W. & RAPh ,oln, London. 

OPSOMER, C. (EDITOR). 1980, 1984. Livre des simples medecines. Codex Bruxellensis IV. 1024. 
A 15th-century French herbal. De Schutter, Antweq tion, translation 

and commentaries by Carmelia Opsomer, Enid Roberts and William T. Steam 2 volumes 
vol 1 (facsimi es)294pp.) 

and Asplenium trichon 


For the attention of holders of Volume 5 of Ferns: British and Exotic by E J 
Lowe purchased from BPS Booksales. 

I have found among my books in BPS Booksales some loose pages, 139-142 together 
with two colour plates - LI - Diplazium thelypteroides and Lll - Diplazium pubescens 
belonging to Volume 5. This small section must have been loose and dropped out without 
being noticed before the book was sold. Please check your copies and I will be happy 
to send the pages to the member who lacks them, along with my apologies. 
New acquisition 

BPS Booksales announce that the following book is now available - C J Goudey, A 
Handbook of Ferns for Australia and New Zealand. 1988, Lothian Publishing, Melbourne, 
Australia. £9.95. Send orders to: J W Dyce, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT. 
(This book was reviewed in Pteridologist, Vol. 1, Part 6, 1989). 



J W DYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

The following extract is from an article by Robin Page which appeared i 

Telegraph on Saturday 29 July 1 989 - 

the conservation world that only eco-fre< 
studying the rear l< 

I make no excuse for extracting the above paragraph from its context because it has 
a strong application, in the world of ferns, to the collecting of varieties - repeat VARIETIES, 
from the wild. I hasten to add that the criticism does NOT apply to ALL conservationists. 
I know many whose thinking is clear and logical, and who appreciate that wild varieties 
of any plant, be it daisy, fern or heather, etc., are very different from wild species. 
Unfortunately, they seem to belong to the silent kind of conservationist, and the ones 
who do the shouting and make all the protests are those with closed minds on the 
subject, who will not take the trouble to find out the facts about fern variation in the 
wild, - in other words, the kind so well described in my above extract from Robin Page's 
article in the Weekly Telegraph. If we listened to them our gardens today would be 
very much the poorer. 

A large number of our wild plants, and not only British wild plants, have contributed 
many f.rst-rate varieties which have been conserved, I repeat conserved, by their removal 
into gardens where they give pleasure to many - "conserved" in the wild they would 
have disappeared from our ken long ago. Very few varieties have the stamina to live 
i°"? T !^ Wlld u U " 9 ! 8 . m . com P etltlon Wlth the stronger-growing normal species forms. 
to demonstrate - that they seem to be incapable. 

few exceptions, of 

reproducing themselves in the conditions prevailing i 

i protected 

conditions of cultivation they flourish and reproduce themselves. 
I shall now confine the rest of this article specifically to ferns, the plants with which 
I am most familiar. Several of the fern varieties we grow today are now well into their 
second century of life, and over the years have reproduced themselves generously, not 
only in their own form but in vastly improved forms, for it is a recognised fact that 
a tern plant which has mutated and broken away from the normal species form can 
elaborate the difference even more in its progeny, and this can be continued through 
several generations to finish up with superb plants which bear little resemblance to 
tne simpler outlines of the original break. How very much our gardens would have lost 
during the past 150 years if our ancestors had been "conservation-minded"! 

win g,ve some examples to illustrate the point I am trying to make, all of them first- 
rate plants well-known in the fern world and widely grown. 

In 1861, in Stirlingshire in Scotland, a fine variety of the Lady Fern, named Athyrium 
T ''' x - te ™ n *', was found by a student named Cosh growing by the roadside 

ear Buchanan Castle. It was a most remarkable plant and quite unique in the way 
-t oinered from the species shape. (See photographs opp. p 9). It was a fully-grown 
Plant upwards of 36 inches (90cm plus) high with a few crowns which the finder 
cnstnbuted. one of them going to the gardens of Buchanan Castle. Here the fern prospered, 
was propagated and distributed widely. That original clone is still with us today - I possess 
moult U h nf t ° rtUnate, y- none of *S very numerous progeny quite approaches the or.ginal 
■n quality, but it ,s very widely grown, not just in Brita.n. 

fh^!!" ^ 0W n Lady Fem wi " produce annually well upwards of 1,000,000,000 (one 
thousand m.ll,on) spores. (See my article in the Bulletin, Vol 2 No 5, 1983, pp 247/ 

26 Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

248.) The normal species, in the wild, will spore-propagate like weeds, even in the most 
unlikely habitats, but 'Victoriae', a fully-grown fertile plant which, over its years in the 
wild, must have scattered trillions of spores, never succeeeded in establishing any progeny 
in the wild. Yet, in cultivation, it is one of the easiest of ferns to grow from spores. 
After its discovery many of the fern hunters of the day, including C T Druery, closely 
searched the area for miles around for any sign of a fern resembling 'Victoriae' - not 
only did they find none but, strangely enough, not even a normal plant of the Lady 
Fern could be found. Had 'Victoriae' itself been left in situ, would it still be there today, 
almost 130 years later? Your guess is as good as mine! Conservation for that fern meant 
getting it out of the wild into the protective conditions of a garden. Those of us who 
know the fern and grow it, and we are many, realise that our gardens would be very 
much the poorer without it. 
I -can cite many such examples 
in the wild, all similar to the 'Victor 
them, like 'Victoriae', unique finds. 

In 1876 a farm worker named Bevis noticed, in a Dorsetshire lane, a fern which seemed 
very different from the surrounding plants. Knowing that a well-known fern collector, 
Dr Wills, lived near by, he dug up the plant and presented it to the Doctor v 
recognised it as one of the finest fern varieties he had ever seen. At 
thought to be a variety of Polystichum aculeatum because of its i 
glossy pinnules but now it is known to be a setiferum a 
Bevis'. For 30 years the fern was thought to be completely sterile but was generous 
in its production of side crowns which were distributed widely among fern growers. 
Finally, spores were found but they consisted of single sporangia which could only be 
seen with the aid of a magnifying glass. Sowings of the spores produced sensational 
results and I illustrate here fronds from the parent and some of its progeny (see Fig. 
1). Again, as a fully-grown plant in the wild it had not reproduced itself in any way 
and, if it had not been found by an observant man who knew what to do with it, it 
is mosf unlikely that it would be alive today in the wild over 1 10 years later, and another 
great gap would have appeared in the history of fern variation. Again, sensible conservation 
saved an unique fern from oblivion. 
My third example is another find which has been repeated only once, again a fertile 

any of them surviving to grow into ferns. Yet, in cultivation it has given us a large 
selection of good forms, similar to the parent, from its spores. It was a Lady Fern, originally 
found over 130 years ago in 1857 in Ireland by Mrs Frizell and named Athyrium rf&f- 
femina 'Frizelliae' (see Fig. 2). Fronds depicted here show the remarkable way the pinnae 
are curled up on themselves to resemble small green shells. Without having seen this 
fern no one could conceive of any fern adopting this shape, and again our gardens 
would have been much poorer if Mrs Frizell had been a "conservationist" and left the 
plant in the wild to linger on - for how many years? 

One wonders how many other unique fern variations have had their little day in the 
wild and faded away before some observant individual could stumble across them and 
conserve them for posterity. Yet, the conservationists, with muddled thinking, would have 
us leave them to perish. First-rate finds continue to be made today by enthusiasts in 
our Society and some day another unique variety of another unimagined shape will 
be found - but not if conservationists of the wrong kind have their way 
I finish with the statement that nothing I have written here should be taken as referring 
to normal fern species, particularly the rare ones. 

Ptendologist 2, 1 (1990) 

28 Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 



Division of Biological Sciences, University of Lancaster, Bailrigg, Lancaster, 

Today, many large decomposer animals such as earthworms, woodlice and millipedes 
are found mainly in moist but not waterlogged, non-acidic soils containing nutritious 
plant remains. In these soils decay is rapid, the animals playing an important part in 
breaking down plant debris, and earthworms, in particular, in mixing the fragments with 
underlying soil. Fossils of some major groups of large decomposers are scarce or absent 
in deposits dating from the time when pteridophytes were dominant land plants, but 
the distribution of these animals today suggests that they may nevertheless have been 
present in ancient soils, assuming that early land plants provided an adequate source 
of food. 

To examine this experimentally, the acceptability of a variety of modern ferns and horsetails 
to woodlice and earthworms was assessed. The common grey slater, Oniscus asellus, 
readily consumed most dead pteridophyte materials, especially when the plants were 
rapidly decaying. Earthworms quickly burrowed into and consumed soils containing dead 
fern and horsetail fragments, and the lobworm, Lurnbricus terrestris, rapidly dragged 
pieces down into the soil, especially when decomposition was underway. Asplenium 
scolopendrium, Dryopteris dilatata and Athyrium filix-femina were especially palatable, 
• moderately palatable, while Polystichum 
t preferred by the animals, probably because of its tough, spiky nature. 
The generally high acceptability of these modern pteridophytes to large soil animals 
i which dead fern and horsetail fragments 

t pteridophytes were as palatable to 
soil animals as these modern ones, then it seems reasonable to suggest that large 
decomposers and well-humified soils may have been common in the "Age of Ferns" 
in moist but not waterlogged areas on base-rich rocks. Because of the rapid rate of 
decomposition in such soils fossilisation would have been rare, so that only peaty soils 
formed in the wetter regions have survived in abundance as fossils. However, further 
investigations are clearly needed into the acceptability of a wider range of pteridophytes 
to decomposers, and also into the kinds of soils and soil animals to be found under 
living pteridophyte vegetation. 
(This note is a summary of one of the papers read at the BPS Indoor Meeting in October 


Tamarisk Cottage, Albecq, Catel, Guernsey 

In 1860 George Wolsey added the Land Quillwort (Isoetes histrix) to the British Flora, 

when he discovered it on Guernsey. It also occurs on Alderney where it is very scarce. 

It is unknown in the other Channel Islands, but is locally plentiful in Cornwall. Elsewhere 

m Europe it is recorded from the west coast of France to the Mediterranean, as tar 

east as Turkey. This small flowerless plant grows flat on the ground; its narrow wiry 

green leaves arise from the base, and usually curl in a clockwise direction. 

Nine populations of Isoetes histrix have been found near the sea on the north and west 

coasts of Guernsey and its immediate offshore islands. They occur in peaty soil on slightly 

sloping ground, either with underlying gran.te or more rarely in very short turf on sandy 

Ptendologist 2, 1 (1990) 


■ pl.iPtS 

soil. In both cases the ground is very wet in winter, anc 

the land dries out, usually by the end of May. Most of the \ 

to the sea to get wind-blown spray. 

During 1 988 the estimated numbers of Isoetes histrixiound in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, 

which includes Alderney's 30 or so plants, was 10,700. The largest concentration of 

plants is in an area of 1 7 metres x 1 .5 metres, which is in a secluded part of a headland 

little used by people. 

Plants associated with Isoetes histrix vary slightly according to the habitat, but moss 

is always present, usually together with Chamaemelum nobile and Plantago c 

In one lowlying site subject to flooding in winter, with a slightly different < 

of plants, the leaves of the Isoetes histrix can sometimes be 8-10 cm long. 

The following plants are among s 

t common found growing v 







Aira praecox 

Anagallis arvensis 

Anthoxanthum odoratum 

Armeria maritima 

Carex flacca 

Chamaemelum nobile 

Erodium maritimum 

Festuca rubra 

Juncus articulatus 

Luzula campestris 

Ornithopus perpusillus 

Plantago coronopus 

Poa annua 

Ranunculus flammula 

Scilla autumnalis 

Trifolium ornithopodioides 

T. pratensis 

T. repens 

Acrocladium cuspidatum 

Campylopus sp 

Ceratodon purpureus 

Eurhynchium praelongum 

Hypnum cupressiforme 

Pseudoscleropodium purum 

SITE 1 Lowlying, subject to flooding in winter 

SITE 2 Damp peaty ground 

SITE 3 Very short turf, mainly moss. 

SITE 4 Drier patch, nearer rocks. 

Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 



180 Granton Road, Edinburgh, EH5 1 AH 

An unusual colony of Equisetum hyemale (Dutch Rush) was discovered by R.E.C. Ferreira 
1 habitat on calcareous sand-dunes near the village of Embo 
i-east of Scotland. The shoots throughout this colony are more 
typical British form which is much thicker and more 

upright. This decumbent form 

adapted sand 

oune ecotype. It is not known from anywhere else in Britain 

Page (1 988: 118-119) noted the resemblence of plants at this site alone to Danish material 
which grows in similar habitats in Denmark. 

While Denmark is geographically not very far away, the distance is perhaps too far 
!? rSTf Ct 9 fragments of E hyemale to survive. Experiments by Page and Barker 

(1985) showed that fragments could survive for up to three days in sea water and still 
grow thereafter. Evergreen horsetails in particular do grow very readily from vegetative 
Tragments, but it also seems possible that this could be an ancient introduction. A reference 
by Thomas Pennant in his Tour of Scotland in 1 769, opens an interesting line of speculation 
as to its introduct.on. He referred to a battle at Embo in 1259 between the Earl of 
Sutherland and the Danes (p. 168). During this period there were, of course, repeated 
attacks by Vikings, including the Danes, all round the coast, but especially in the north 
ana west. This particular battle came near the end of a long series of raids in the immediate 
area which allows for many possible introductions. This, therefore, raises the possibility 
mat the plant could have been thus introduced directly by this route from Denmark. 
But why, one might ask, would the Danes want to carry quantities of E. hyemale? It 
for , V US6S DUrm9 the M ' ddle Ages tne Dutch Rusn wa s imported from Holland 

or use in scouring and polishing (Page 1988:24). It was used like sandpaper and one 
had ^«? PS ,T ,Sa9e th8t jt WaS USed for the necessary restoration of blades which 
easilv Jm! . a d8mP Sea -J° urne y Discarded fragments thrown overboard could 
easy survive long enough to be washed ashore and take root. As Embo is on the east 
shnrti , LIT , PS P U ' t0 ' magine that tne E hyemale may have been freshly gathered 
shortly before eav na Denmark anri h^ „ * u , ■_ u i~ot 

the ahilitu tr, i ' uenmark and had not been in transit long enough to have lost 

ULS2&K.2" mav accoum ,or i,s absence f ™ < he west ^ there are 

A further possible u 
travels ( P 339) whe 

Another use of horsetails waiter staunching wounds Equisetum arvense was the usual 
at a'ba^r.t. th ' S purpose but E hyemale may have been pressed into service especially 
introduced WeT ^ ° ^ Wi " pr ° bably never know exactl V how the plant W8S 

was killed Tl 'T 391 " 6 S ° me 0f the Danes escaping, without their leader who 
Sd^nd onTv h erm9 h a9memS ° f Ehyemdle aS they fled 0r P erhaps they WerG a " 
itself at h„ m ,o d'u WaS left t0 rot amon 9 the sand-dunes while £ hyemale made 
IS own casu^ T ^ h9d been an OCcasion when a raiding ^ had bUned 
supply of E hyem a t\n TL^ ^ th0Ught a PP ro P riate t0 leave the slain with 8 
The colony arow P thG ' r SW ° rdS in the afteMife < thus P |anting jt for P 0Stenty ' 

it may be that some of Tl n ^ T^"* ""^ lf there had been an earMer setXie ™T 
species S colonised the area and deliberately planted the 

^;o h n y Ut and d D e l a n l,ed F"* COm P arison a ™re precise link between this anomalous 

above means t 

3 shoots took root a 

i Danish influence became incorporated into the l< 

PAGE, C.N. 1988. Ferns Their Habitats in the Britisl 

London: Collins. 
PAGE, C.N. and BARKER, M.A. 1985. Ecology and geography c 

horsetails. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 86B, 265-272 
PENNANT, T. 1774. A Tour of Scotland, 1769. Warrington: Eyres. 


240 pp., 62 colour plates. Viking, London, ISBN 0-670-80688-9. Prices £35. 
As the title says this book covers north-western Europe as well as Britain In fact this 
means very little extra: Marsilea quadrifolia (illustrated) and Diphasiastrum complanatum, 
although D. tristachyum should also have been included as it is in Denmark at least 
The author omits Norway and Sweden which one might have expected to be included 
There is some general chat about fern structures and life-cycle, and keys to the mam 
groups (usually families) and then to species. Some larger genera (Asplenium, Dryoptens 
and Equisetum are keyed out separately; close segregates may not feature in the keys 
but their diagnostic features are referred to in the text. Thumbnail sketches showing 
frond shape are given appropriately in the margins throughout the keys and make them 
easier to use. The main text is interspersed with 12 very fine plates of the majority 
of species, drawn mostly by Lura Mason. Unfortunately the excellence of the colour 
as seen on the originals has not been achieved by the printer and on the whole the 
plates are too yellow. For the most part they are accurately drawn although I believe 
the two filmy ferns have been mixed up: that labelled Hymenophyllum wilsonii has the 
broader and more yellow frond of tunbrigense a I be it with perpendicular indusia of wilsonii. 
Polypodium is illustrated by one species only - said to be vulgare but looks more like 
interjectum. This is a case where all three species could have been illustrated with 
good effect. 

The text itself is adequate and emphasises diagnostic characters in upper case. Hybrids 
are for the most part omitted, although well-known ones like Equisetum x moorei and 
Asplenium x alternifolium are mentioned. The nomenclature is mixed, following neither 
one nor other of the standard works. Thelypteris thelypteroides has been resurrected 
incorrectly and a new name coined for Dryopteris submontana: D. villarii subsp montana, 
a typographical error, I suspect, but very misleading. Francis Rose admits in the 
Introduction to not following standard English names and to creating suitable names 
for non-British species. He had forgotten that the standard vernacular name given in 
Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act for the protected species Equisetum 
ramosissimum is 'branched horsetail' which is a more acceptable name than Rose's 
Boston horsetail'. 

As the name of this book indicates ferns are only part of what the author and his artists 
are portraying; they are less than one sixth of the book - approximately £1 per page. 
I could argue that some of the colour illustrations are indeed worth that and if the 
book was priced £1 2 I am sure many fern enthusiasts would buy it. It is not, unfortunately, 
i 200 pages on these other fascinating groups, 
saying this to the readers of the 
Pteridologist. If you are garden-minded just look at the variation and attraction of many 

T the plants illustrated here and their potential for landscaping. If you are a botanist, 

need say no more: you will want this book. 


Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 



46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IGW 1LT 

Lineare or Linearum is a kind of variation which can be found in several fern species 
It is characterised by extreme narrowness in the pinnules but, unfortunately, is closely 
associated with depauperation in the fronds (see Fig. 1), which makes the majority of 
such varieties worthless. When this article was submitted to our Editor he sent it back 
with some suggestions - he usually does! - along with the pressed frond (Fig 1) It 
was received from our member, Bridget Graham of Par in Cornwall, and is from a plant 
found m 1988 by Gillian Mathews. It represents a very typical form of lineare in 
Polystichum setiferum with very characteristic deficiencies. However a few varieties 
do retain sufficient control to keep the fault, more or less, at bay and such plants have 
to be looked at very closely to discern any irregularity. 

In the 1860/70s J Moly, living at Hawkchurch in Devon was a very prominent and 
successful fern hunter in the West Country. Among the many good varieties found by 
mm was Polystichum setiferum 'Lineare Hirondelle' which was considered by him to 
be one of his greatest prizes. So highly did he regard it that he never parted with any 
offsets - that unforgivable attitude adopted by so many possessors of unique plants, 
who fail to recognise the truth of the saying - to keep a plant give it away. The more 
are plant is propagated and spread around among other growers, the better are its 
chances of survival Shortly before his death Moly disposed of his fern collection to 
rolLt ■! * *T etV ' S P resident from 1920 until his death in 1947 - and another 
collector who did not believe in giving too much away. As the old fern collectors died 
ne Dought up their irreplaceable collections but made no provision for their survival 
Rova. Hit" 3 '!;' "Tc fr ° m What CaP bG termed a " token collec " on " bequeathed to the 
nTl^ U l U ' al S ° Ciety ' S 9. arden * Wisley ^ Surrey. This was a mere drop in the 
ist size of the fern collection he had amassed, and the ferns 
lis death) did not include any of the superb renowned varieties 
been acquired by him. Also, no provision was made for the collectors in 

selected for Wi 
which had I 
our Society 

ytx me opportunity to save them for posterity. This happened in the 
arowinn a e nH°f.!~ War u yearS When food was scarce ; the 9 arden w as acquired for vegetable 
lateTbefnrp ! area W9S flame -9unned by the new owners. It was some time 

wasamono th 6 ,""* ^ had ha PP ened - w * must assume that 'Lineare Hirondelle' 
of ,t survS™ ♦T! , t,tU ^f ° f Umque plants which were destroyed, since nothing is known 
from SZ?^ 9 d ° kROW th9t Cranfield had the fern and that jt bred tme 
depTcted n th r I™" Sh ° Wn hGre <"»■ 2 > was from one of his s P° relin 9 S - !t W3S 
40 odd via,-! h"K S u Fem GaZGtte ' VoL 3 ' P a 9 e 249 ' of March 1918 " ln s P ite ° f the 
when I LZ Zi! elapsed since the collection was destroyed, I still "see red" 

■=" i imriK OT that wantnn conc n i^„ j ._. _.■ 

f that wanton senseless 


t-frond in Figure 2 that 'Hirondelle' was a very graceful 
uny -justifying Moly's high regard for it. The name is the French for swallow and 
■well-chosen, for the pairs of opposite pinnules do closely resemble swallows 

in MolT S n?H 90 h OUr Ed ' t0r ' Martin Rickard , found a lineare variety of Polystichum setii 

DrP^nlw? nQ 9 r ° Und S. (Bulletin. 19fiO n7fil A rr™,n frnm this D lant 

presented to me and at the 
to some degree 

riety finds need 

grounds. (Bulletin, 

egarded it as merely a rather nice lineare type, 
ng 'Hirondelle'. However, it should be noted that most good 

show their 

I some years to settle down in cultivation before they begin 
see among mvP^p P ,l ent,al ' ^ thiS year ' nine ^ ears later ' ' was rather startl ! d |( t0 
to me - but whp Th S * VGry 9 °° d llneare which strongly suggested 'Hirondelle 
1 ' 1 come from? The label had got mislaid during the years since 

Pteridologist 2. 1 (1990) 

(Lineare group) Caruggatt'. 

I memory flooded back. The r 

had faded. A phone i 

> (Fig. 3, 

my plant and Martin's respectively. The slight differences result from differing growing 
conditions. To our knowledge this is the nearest approach to 'Hirondelle' we have in 
cultivation today. 

Really good specimens of lineare are far from common in P. setiferum and I know of 
R n nL 0n r 0t H er ' n0V \ deceased ' which us *d to grow in the fern border in the Oxford 
it was noticeably depauperate with many missing parts. Martin's 
lite acquisition to our collections. 

t completely regular througho 
lot up to the 'Hirondelle' standard. 

t the pinnae (Fig. 3a and 3b) s 

sam P neavier ,n its build, with slightly wider and non-tapering pinnules but with the 
tn h . serrated ™ r 9' n s- The fern is very soriferous with large round sori which tend 
TarlZl r < 1 mar9inS ° f thG narr ° W Pinnules ' emphasising their serrations. This 
character can also be seen quite clearly in the 'Hirondelle' illustration. 


Athyrium filix-femina (Setigero-percristatum group) 'Majestic' 

develoDmpm nfThTTT V fem garden three vears a QO. I feel it is really an exciting 

percnsLm gVoup" MaLt"" SELSE * "^ Athyrium ***"*- (Srtige, °- 
of A fill* foJL «c Majestlc ' Ma Jestic because it appeared not far from a small group 
(75 cm )lZ tt T rUm Cor * mbiferu ™' which, however, does not exceed 30 inches 
(20 cm) abwrn Th ^ ^ " GW Vanety reacheS 43 inches < 1 07 cm) by 8 inches 
tt^^^ 'Set-gerum Percristatum' appears in 

not produced son I lift h i 9 mCheS (45 Cm) talL So far my plantS h3Ve 

after dividinn it t , , tne on 9 |nal clu ™P recently and transferred it to another bed, 

<"^^^^™:s^z^ ■*- ■- ■— - reddish 

No other se.igeroas sporelings have appeared in my garden so far. 


In the British Isles tree-ferns are only reliably hardy in the sheltered parts of South 
West England, West Scotland and around the coast of Ireland. In these areas many 
gardens boast specimens with huge brown fibrous trunks 3 metres (10 feet) or more 

referred to as Dicksonia antarctica; however, very often, the English name is given as 
either Australian or New Zealand tree-fern, presumably indicating the origin of each 
plant. Unfortunately, this is immediately an impossible contradiction in names. D 
antarctica does not grow wild in New Zealand, it is an Australian species. Therefore, 
if 'New Zealand tree-fern' really was imported from New Zealand it has to be either 
D. fibrosa, D. lanata, D. squarrosa or one of several Cyathea species, but certainly not 

D. squarrosa can also be easily eliminated because it has a black narrow trun 

15 cm in diameter (4-6 inches), often bearing lateral buds Leaves are quite d 

with a rough, reddish brown stipe. This can be seen at Trebah and Trengwam 


Finally, cyatheas can also be easily ruled out, as species grown out-of-doors in E 

have broad leaves with scaley stipes and non-marginal sori quite different fror 

hardy Dicksonia, and Cyathea spp. with trunks are very rare out-of-doors in the f 

Unfortunately, very few, if any, books give a reliable means of distinguishing I 
the two species. The European Garden Flora, Walters et. al. (1986) could ha 
more helpful and the dichotomous key separating the two species is of little hel| 
with very ma 

The trail of trying to sort out these two species started to clear for me when, during 
a visit to Savill Gardens in 1 987, 1 saw mature labelled specimens of both species growing 
side by side in the Temperate House. With permission from John Bond, Keeper of the 
Gardens, I picked a pinna from each specimen and kept them for reference. Apart from 

finger on any key difference between the two samples. 

Since Spring 1986 I have been growing a dicksonia in my garden. Th.s fern was given 

to me as a young trunkless specimen by gardeners at Glendurgan in Cornwall. It has 

nved but as it was slow to produce a trunk I actively searched all possiDie sources 
' a specimen with a trunk at least two feet tall, as such a plant would reputedly 
hardier. In this I drew a blank as most outside populations had suffered badly in 
e winter of 1986/87. Fortunately, one of our British Pteridological Society members, 
iristopher Fraser-Jenkins, took up my quest during a tour of south-west Ireland. At 
e garden, Kelts House by the shores of Dingle Bay, he was successful and very kindly 

jting fronds of two of D.cksonia. Both plants in cult.vation 2, 1 (1990) 

collected a magnificent specimen of Dicksonia with < 
(c 80 cm). (Fortunately, he drives a Volkswagon cam 
a normal vehicle; with leaves and roots the whole pack; 

The Glendurgan plant has narrow leaves anc 
overlap, while the Kells House plant has I 
that alternate pinnae 

two specimens (see illustration) with New 
Crookes, 1952) and books of pressed ferns make 
D. fibrosa. The broader specimen similarly matches 
with D. antarctica in Australian literature (e.g. Bailey, 1892), as well as with the Savill 
Gardens' plant of this species. 

In the light of the above it is clear that both D. antarctica and D. fibrosa are grown 
in gardens in the British Isles. At the moment I can only say that D. fibrosa is grown 
at Glendurgan, but I suspect many other Cornish specimens will turn out to be D. fibrosa 
and hence so will many young plants bought in nurseries Conversely, are all Irish 
specimens D. antartica? I doubt it, but at present it does seem that there is a better 
chance of finding D. antarctica in Ireland. 
Suggested features for separating D. fibrosa and D. antarctica: 

Dicksonia fibrosa Dicksonia antarctica 

Frond: Narrow Broad, particularly in the 

Ratio, length: breadth 


(based on fronds 1 73cm 

BAILEY F.M. 1892 Lithograms of the Ferns o 

DOBBIE H.B. & CROOKES M 1952. New Zealand Ferns. Whitcomba 

FIRTH S, FIRTH M & FIRTH E 1986 Ferns of New Zealand. Hodder and stougr- 

WALTERSS. M et al 1986 The European Garden Flora Vol. 1. Cambridge Un.vers.ty Press. 



Moniaive, 19 South King Street, Helensburgh, Dunbarton GB4 PU7 
'In the spring of 1843 I received a small portion of rhizome some five or six 
which I placed in a bell-jar about fifteen inches diameter. In December 1846 
the glass, and in that month I removed it into a case 3 feet 10 inches by 2 f 

The Killarney Fern (Trichomanes speciosum) is not easy to grow and, like rr 

it can, for no apparent reason, begin to sicken. It is also not easy to fin 

it likes; being so rare and with its localities closely guarded secrets, you < 

it in the wild and inspect the rocks, humidity and light levels to check if yc 

these right, and it is, of course, heavily protected by law. It may reach its r 

point in Argyll and, from what I have heard travellers say, it is more common in France 

and Spam. It obviously enjoys an oceanic climate, but from descriptions of it in cultivation 

it has been grown in a wide variety of humidity and light levels. The Victorians commented 

on how it did not spore in cases but often grew more luxuriantly due to the congenial 


I noticed what looked like the beginnings of fertility on one frond on my plants in December 
1988, tiny dots at the vein ends, which gradually swelled and darkened. Over the next 
few months further fronds followed while the earlier ones looked as if tiny cigars grew 
on them. By April 1989 it seemed that almost all the fronds of one clone were fertile. 
I he bristles resulting from the development of the sporangia are not easy to see. 
I have grown Trichomanes since about 1 963 when Reginald Kaye sent me a bit (originating 
rom the Chelsea Physic Garden) and about a year later I got a large sheet of trimmings 
from the filmy fern house at Glasgow Botanic Gardens, which was very different from 
Heg s. His is slower to increase, more prone to sudden collapses and has narrow upswept 
* h - Glasgow plant (origin unknown but we like to think it might have come 
' Loch Fyne-side) is very fast growing, more robust and almost foliose. 

rJ °n ? ag ° acc ^ uired a very small dense form originating in the old Liverpool 
Botanic Gardens (now no longer existing); this did poorly but when put in a carboy 
p!1 S ?u 3 ^ ay and b6C0me more like Re 9' s wh 'ch could be var. andrewsii of Newman. 
Both the Glasgow plant and Kaye's have kept their characters in a wide variety of 
conaitions. (See photographs opposite page 40). 

My first case had no earth-box. A handyman ran it up from red cedar and plate-glass, 
IZ i! k a Q,ant penci| - box < the roof being the lid. A life-boat buoyancy tank (you 
would be surprised at the things for sale in Scotland's first container nursery!) made 
but rather deeo earth-box. The same man made my second case, an oak-framed 

nature plant nursery in Essex. 

a south-facing bedroom along its west wall wi 

light but shielded from the glare by the curtains. They incre, 

sufficients for the overflow to go into a carboy. In those days you could buy a 

est areen glass, not like the unsatisfactory too dark bottles sole 

shillings (£3.65); now, in the Glasgow area at least, they 

n the carboy the Glasgow fern flouris 

i lucky e 

a chunks of i 

sandstone I got from here and there along t 

Ptendologist 2, 1 (1990) 39 

coast, till one day a visitor said I should seal the top. The lid consisted of a wine glass 
broken at the top of the stem, set right way up in the neck of the carboy, by no means 
a tight fit. What possessed me to listen to this advice I do not know. I had to be away 
for two weeks and returned to a disaster. The seal had been too much for three large 
earthworms that I did not know lived in the bottle; their deaths made gasses and the 
ferns were very sick. I had to wash them along with the rocks and begin again It took 
many years for them to recover. 

I moved out of town to a cottage which had a generous space in the bend half-way 
up the stairs, with a large skylight over it. This north light with glimpses of the morning 
sun pleased the Thchomanes in the carboy and the frond size increased to about 8 
inches (21 cm) with little watering and again with a broken wine glass seal. The fronds 
were constantly beaded with moisture from the enclosed humidity and were a source 
of interest to visitors walking upstairs. The main colonies I moved into a real wardian 
case, or perhaps it should be called a warrington, being a hybrid aquarium/plant case 

having the fern so close to my bedside, as having it visible from my pillow made me 
aware of how true Dr Ward's views on encouraging invalids must have been by giving 
them a few ferns under a dome or a mini-case at their bedsides. I think any fern lovers 
forced to be prone for a few weeks would enjoy such a sight The only other fern I 
tried with it was the Sea Spleenwort (Asplenium marinum) which lived nine years before 
it died. This fern was one recommended by Victorian authors as a companion plant 
for the Killarney Fern. 

When I moved back into Helensburgh about eight years ago the fronds were starting 
to touch the glass of the warrington case but I had a wonderful replacement to hand 
The cottage had a vast sash-window in the (north-facing) kitchen and I had a reproduction 
window-case made of galvanised steel to fit over the lower half and all the plants did 
well due to overhead light. The kitchen gets morning sun but only in heat-waves do 
I need to protect the ferns with a yellow-green net window-curtain. They seem able 
to tolerate mobile gas heaters though these are not used much. They do not mind the 
glass being cleaned with Windowlene, but if the case had to be repainted I would move 
them back into the oak-framed case. They are a lot less sensitive than Leptoptens which 
expires at a puff of gas and cannot bear tobacco smoke or household chemicals - I 
know, I lost a couple! 
I do not think the Killarney Fern is much bothered about composts as long as they 

the base well with broken clay pots, hump side up, then add a layer of sphagnum moss 
or fibrous peat to stop the compost working down Pieces of charcoal and sandstone 
are mixed with the compost, more or less as recommended in Kaye's Hardy Ferns. I 
think this fern prefers to creep over rocks rather than soil; at least in my experience 
it does, so initially I tie the rhizomes with sewing-thread on to chunks of sandstone 
gathered from the coast. These have been left a good many months in the garden in 
case they are impregnated with anything, such as salt spray, which would upset the 
fern roots. 

Until I read Chris Page's book The Ferns of Britain and Ireland I did not know that 
the Killarney Fern liked acid conditions. The sandstones of the^ Clyde 
m their pH, which may explain the odd sudden < 

This happened 
Slowly the tips of the fronds 

» year after my plants had been settled in t 

vent brown and crisp and I thought possibly the rhizomes were sick and would r 

o be started up again with fresh rocks and compost. When I tried to h ^ a ^ ar 9 e ^°' 

>f the Glasgow plant up it was as firmly atl 

hey were only given a few new rocks and < 

The dead parts \ 

off and they seemed to improve very rapidly. A problem the books say nothing about 
is some rocks exude salts such as you find on old clay pots and the Killarney Fern 
dislikes meeting them. But getting stuck-down rhizomes off rocks to put in fresh ones 
is not easy as they stick hard and are brittle. I do not syringe the ferns; usually when 
the rocks are dry I use an atomiser set at "jet" as the rock surfaces become almost 
waterproof. In high summer, if the whole case looks dry they get a house-plant can 
of tepid water (acid and lead-enriched!) all over. The Killarney Fern does dislike being 
in stagnant water so I encourage the rhizomes to go along the upper surfaces of the 
rocks where they do best. I have noticed that rhizomes creeping too low do a lot less 

i right; ferns first, house long way behind! 

KAYE. REGINALD, 1968. Hardy Ferns, Faber, London 

WARn^p ^liJ h X FemS ofBritaln ™<* Ireland, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 

London "^ ^^ °* P ' 3ntS '" d ° Se ' y 9 ' 3Zed C3Ses ' second edition ' Van VoorSt ' 



MaZtester ^ 9 Structural Biolo 9Y> University of Manchester, Oxford Road, 

Department of Botany, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 5001 1, USA 
but" J^™ nophyl,aceae are kn °wn as the filmy ferns because their membraneous leaves, 
three soe" 6 VemS ' T ^ 8 Sm9 ' e Ce " th ' Ck Whi,e P red o mir >antly tropical, there are 
moderat lT "Y Bnt ' Sh f '° ra ' Trichomane s speciosum, the Killarney fern, is a 
oomp* I a a n 9e Wh '° h Qr ° WS only jn extr emely sheltered "rock houses" and steep 

towP«t b ■ ^^ permanentl V run ™g water. Always a rarity in the U.K., confined 
lrtwo n R^h n n nd lr , e ' and ' * iS n ° W exceed " n g'y "re and protected by law. The 
ZTsonTl, h h V nS 8re H y men ophyllum tunbrigense and Hymenophyllum 

common In t 96 a I! d Wi,son ' s fNmy ferns respectively. These species are rather more 
and basPQ nfTf em . tam and lreland ' but alwa Y s a treat t0 find clinging to rock faces 
trees fast-flowing streams and deeply shaded gorge habitats. 

olTrowmn^T 8 ^ 168 NIUStrate another s P ecial character of many filmy ferns, that 
or growing , n the manner of bryophytes; their threadlike rhizomes twine over rock or 
exrlnri* I! 068 ! Pr ° dUCe a denSe mat of sma " leav es which grow among, and often 
H e Whe reas un ^ ^ Pr ° tha " ial ° r ^ e *e stages are similarly bryophyte- 
e wnereas upon snore aprminati™ — ^ t .. ... _ _= ._ , ♦ .hanpH 

prothallus, each in the wild atta 

ation most ferns produce a simple 

r'^uianu^, eacn in the wild att^ir,;™ * , . ,• i the 

aenerminn o ea !° ther fern Qametophytes die after producing the new sporophyte 
generation, qametonhvtpc n f *;i~.. * 


». gametophytes of filmy ferns are perennial 

of aloap^n Aiw' 9 .; the QenuS Rlccardia ) in the case of Hymenophyllum, or wefts 
peel' ar amn f* °' Vaucheria > in the case of Trichomanes. The latter is especially 
In bo h np 9 u emS m that (t is com P° sed entirely of a network of branched filaments, 
of 10 -to loo 1 " 3 ' * 9ametoph y tes 9^ and branch indeterminantly and may cover areas 

Ptendologist 2, 1 (1990) 

Case. Plant originally from Glasgow Botanic 

. (Photograph by Allan Mc G. Stirling) 

Pteridologist 2. 1 (1990) 41 

Growing in this manner, gametophytes of the Hymenophyllaceae may persist indefinitely 
and independently of the sporophyte generation. In the northeastern United States where 
they have been studied extensively (Farrar, 1985), at least one species of Trichomanes 
and one of Hymenophyllum exist solely as gametophytes more than 1000 km from 
sporophytes of their species. In both these species, gametophytic persistence is further 
enhanced by the production of gemmae. These are multicellular vegetative units, 
specialised for dehiscence from the parent thallus, with the capacity to establish new 
gametophyte colonies. 

During the autumn of 1989 we made a concerted effort to discover gametophytes, and 
to determine the extent to which the British species of filmy ferns may occur as 
independent colonies. We are pleased to report success in finding gametophytes of all 
three species, and do so with the hope of encouraging further study of this phenomenon 
in Great Britain. 

Our first discovery was of gametophytes of Hymenophyllum tunbrigense in North Wales 
These we found growing in dark moist recesses in vertical cliffs which also supported 
abundant growth of sporophytes of the species. The gametophytes formed colonies mostly 
about 10 cm 2 and were found to be producing numerous young sporophytes by sexual 
reproduction. Also in North Wales we found similar occurrences of gametophytes of 
H. wilsonii, again in the vicinity of sporophytes of the species. These, however, were 
not producing young sporophytes. 

Neither of the British Hymenophyllum gametophytes have shown evidence of reproduction 
by gemmae. An earlier study of H. tunbrigense gametophytes also reported an absence 
of gemmae (Janczewski and Rostafinski, 1875). Gametophytic gemma production is a 
specialised characteristic in ferns and as the British species are among the more primitive 
of the genus, we suspect gemma production may indeed be absent from these species 
This may account for our failure to find more extensive gametophyte colonies of these 
species and to find them outside the immediate environs of their sporophytes. 
On the other hand, gametophytes of Trichomanes speciosum do produce gemmae and 
do occur well beyond known occurrences of the sporophyte. We found independent 
gametophyte colonies of this species in nine different sites in the Lake District, the 
Yorkshire Dales and North Wales, in only two out of which the sporophyte has been 
recorded (in both it is now apparently absent). These occurred as wefts or mats of 
gametophytes covering up to 100 cm 2 of rock surface. Generally they occur in deep, 
dark, humid grottoes in non-calcareous rock. In North Wales and the Lakes, these rocks 
were volcanic; in Yorkshire they were millstone grit. In such habitats the gametophytes 
seem to occur where the light intensity is too low for growth of most bryophytes Indeed, 
one has little chance of observing them without the aid of artificial light. 
Our rate of success in finding Trichomanes gametophytes was such that we suspect 
they may be w.despread across Britain and Ireland in habitats similar to those described 
above. This is especially significant for this rare and protected species Though we have 
not yet observed gametangia or sporophyte production in the gametophyte colonies we 
observed, the potential should remain for these plants to reproduce sexually and to 
restore sporophytes of T. speciosum to areas where they have been extirpated in istoric 
or prehistoric times. In the meantime it is rewarding to know that T speciosum probably 
still occurs in some abundance throughout its prev.ously recorded range, albeit as the 
gametophyte generation alone. 
Description of British Filmy Fern Gametophytes 

:cm long and 0.5cm broad 
by being everywhere only 
her have a distinct midrib 

42 Pteridologist 2, 1(1990) 

or are generally more than one cell thick. Hymenophyllum gametophytes are further 
distinguished by their male and female gametangia (antheridia and archegonia) which 
occur on the undersides, near to the margins of the prothallus and are typical of ferns 
and markedly unlike those of bryophytes (see Figs 1 c & d). Gametophytes of H. tunbrigense 
and H. wilsonii cannot readily be distinguished from one another except by chemical 
methods such as enzyme electrophoresis or by the presence of attached young 

The much branched filamentous mats of Trichomanes are, at first sight, similar both 
to some species of green and yellow-green algae, and to the protonemal stage of mosses 
(see Figs 2a & b). They differ in the possession of short brown unicellular rhizoids, 
gemmae and gemmifers (the specialised cells upon which gemmae are produced) of 
the type illustrated in figs 2c - g), all of which are visible with a hand lens. Under 
the microscope they can be differentiated from algae by the fact that TrichomanesfWamevAs 
are regularly divided into cells never more than 3 times longer than broad, with each 
cell containing numerous discoid chloroplasts (see Fig. 2c) (Filamentous algae have 1 
to 4 very large chloroplasts or, if they have many small chloroplasts, have cells that 
are much longer). 

The authors would like to thank Clive Jermy, Nigel Brown and the staff of the Nature 
Conservancy Council for their help with this study; and would welcome information 
on the suspected occurrence of filmy fern gametophytes. It should be stressed that the 
law does not permit the collecting or disturbing of Trichomanes gametophytes or 
sporophytes, and specific locations cannot be disclosed except to authorized persons. 

3 prothalle de L' Hymenophyllum 

FARRAR DR. 1985. Independent fern gametophytes in the wild. Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. 86B: 361 



oc uo ? et E Brown & Robin B B <>vey. Pp. 288, 410 colour photographs, 
^f™ino S «« ons 215x 128 mm - University of Washington Press, 1988. 
US ISBN 0-295-96666- 1. Price $ 1 7-50, paper only. 

Only 28 of the 100 species of ferns and fern allies known from northwestern North 
America are included in this book. It is therefore clearly not a book for the fern specialist, 
in tact, it is a general field guide to the common mosses, liverworts, lichens and ferns 
growing in the area. 

There are general introductory chapters and keys to species before each systematic 
section. 170 mosses are listed (of 900 known in the region), 156 lichens (of 1200) 
and 20 liverworts (of 250) as well as the 28 ferns and fern allies. Overall the book 
deals with about 1 5% of the terrestial green cryptogams of northwestern North America. 
Every species included is allocated half a page. Each is illustrated in colour by photographs 
about 5cm square; most are of good quality. A distribution map and indication of habitat 
mfhe r field " ^^ ** "*" ™ S ° mG 9Gneral n ° t6S ° n each SpecieS that might ** releV3nt 
This is a very useful book bound in stiff card of a size to fit easily into most pockets, 
t will be of great value to the amateur North American naturalist with a general interest 
m cryptogams. 


Ptendologist 2, 1 (1990) 43 



16 Kirby Corner Road, Can ley, Coventry 

Collecting fern spores is a relatively straight-forward task as long as a few simple rules 

are followed. Normal species usually provide normal spores which, when grown on a 

suitable compost and given a little warmth and light, will germinate readily Most hybrids 

produce abortive spores which will not germinate. Hybrid spores are easily recognised, 

if they are examined at around 1 0Ox magnification they will appear white and somewhat 

wizened. Healthy spores have a uniform shape, often round or similar to the segments 

of an orange. They will vary in colour according to species: i.e. yellow, black, brown 

Spores of Garden Ferns 

Hardy ferns in British gardens usually produce their spores from June onwards. When 
the spore cases are ripe they will appear light brown and often show the colour of 
the spores inside - Polypodium = yellow, Athryium = black, etc. Another indication that 

or completely disappeared to give the spore cases room to dehisce A hand lens, preferably 
with a 20x magnification, is useful for checking the condition of the spore cases on 
the frond. Remember, if the spore cases have a ragged appearance and/ or if there 
is lack of spore colour, the spores have probably already dehisced. 

In most cases two or three pinnae will provide an ample quantity to sow. Simply place 
the pinnae in a paper envelope and keep it somewhere warm and dry for a day or 
two. Never use polythene bags as any trapped moisture will delay or even prevent the 
spore cases dehiscing. After a day or so give the envelope a few flicks with a finger 
to ensure that the spore cases have opened and that a dusty deposit, including the 
spores, is in the bottom of the envelope. The pinnae themselves can be discarded If 
there are no spores then the pinnae were either picked too late, and the spores have 

Indoor Ferns 

The spores of tender indoor ferns are available almost all the year round, although during 
the short days of winter fewer fronds are produced. Nevertheless, the technique for 
collecting hardy fern spores applies equally to indoor ferns. 
Cleaning Spores 

I do not consider it essential that spores are separated from other debris 
but there is always the possibility a contaminant may be introduced and cleanliness 
is going to increase the chances of a successful spore sowing. To clean the spores 
brush (I always use an artist's natural bristle paint brush) them onto a sheet of paper 
I find newspaper excellent for this, but any type of non-shiny paper can be used. Slowly 
tip the paper on edge, the heavier sporangial debris will fall off the paper while the 
much smaller fern spore will adhere to it. A small quantity of spore may be lost but 
what is left will be more than adequate for most needs. Next, carefully fold the newspaper 
in two and tap gently, this traps the spores along the crease and they can be brushed 
onto a crock saucer. (Not plastic as any static electricity present will render the spores 
uncontrollable.) To sow them, gently brush a small quantity onto the surface of the 

The Longevity of Fern Spores 

The longevity of fern spores is often discussed between growers and involves mucn 
speculation rather than hard fact; certainly, green spore from such genera as Osmunda 
and Ophioglossum have a very short life, perhaps a matter of only a few days. However 
I often supply spores of Osmunda to various parts of the world by airmail post and 
have never received any complaints concerning lack of germination. The spores ot otner 

44 Pteridologist 2, 1 (1990) 

genera may remain viable for weeks or perhaps even months. I recommend that we 

ignore all this and obtain spores as fresh as possible and sow immediately. 

Storing Spores 

I have one recommendation on this - DON'T! Fern spores are much better off on the 

surface of the compost rather than languishing in an envelope. Of course, spore from 

the Society's Spore Exchange have to be stored and because of this the Society cannot 

guarantee the viability of the spores that are freely given. (But most grow - Ed.) 

The Society's Spore Exchange Scheme 

When collecting fern spores please do not forget our Spore Exchange Scheme. While 

collecting one or two pinnae why not press the entire frond between sheets of newspaper? 

The surplus spores, carefully named and fully labelled, will be gratefully welcomed by 

the Organiser, Margaret Nimmo-Smith. Even our most common species are in demand 

by our overseas members. 

I wish you every success with your endeavours. 


INDEX HORTENSIS VOLUME 1: PERENNIALS. Compiled and Edited by Piers 
nlfJ^'&J 04 - 216x 125mm - Quarterjack Publishing, Wimborne, 1989. ISBN 
a* ,1 h Pnce £25 ( nardba ck) from Quarterjack Publishing. Hampreston 

Manor, Wimborne, Dorset, or major booksellers. 

In reviewing this book I must come clean and admit that I, along with Alison Paul at 
the Natural History Museum, was given a sight of the fern sections prior to publication. 
Nevertheless, as the overall style and the vast majority of the input on ferns is the 
work of the author alone, I hope I can comment fairly on this book. 

garden plants was being produced at 
a state of flux. It is inevitable, therefore, 
"'"^ P UD "cation one year ago some names (3) have to be changed to conform 
witn the International Code for the Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). These 
are, with suggested alternatives: 

Athyrium filix-femina 'Bornholmiense' - varietal name now changed to 'Bornholm'. 
Cr,sped m fi ' ix - femina " Cus P"™ grandiceps Kaye' - now (Grand.ceps group) 'Kaye's 
Polystichum setiferum' 'Broughton Mills' - now (Congestum group) 'Broughton Mills'. 
One other change in the ICNCP ,s the need for all words in cultivar names to begin 
un a capital etter, hence 'Crispa congesta' now becomes 'Crispa Congesta' etc. This 
e is relatively recent and has not previously been applied to ferns. It is possible that 
letter 6 "^ reV ' S ' 0n ° f ^ C ° de the WOrd ' group ' wiM also have t0 have a capit8 ' ' nit ' al 
Despite these minor problems this book will, I believe be of immense use to all dedicated 
VnZnT'X™" ! nevitably be compared with the also excellent Plant Finder, but Index 
mstead a much fuller to the nomenclature of garden plants. This includes: 
More synonymous names for cultivars and species 

Usually a fuller list of cult.vars and species. Over 20,000 perennial taxa are listed, 
ui e to the growth form of many plants and where further information can be 
"" -ncluding good illustrations. 

s and some cultivars. 
d some cultivars. 

Like the Plant Finder, taxa listed have been collected from modern sources. All have 
been available through the trade since 1984. Neither Index Hortensis nor the Plant 
Finder attempts to include all plants in cultivation. This volume of Index Hortensis contains 
perennial plants only; Volumes 2 and 3 will include woody plants and indoor plants, 
whereas the Plant Finder includes all these groups in one volume. 
At £25 this is not a cheap book but I believe the years of painstaking research that 
have gone into its preparation have produced an end product of a quality which justifies 

Most ferns named since 1959, and hence subject to the most controversial part of the 
ICNCP, are not in general horticulture. The three name changes suggested here are 
the exception. It is hoped to include a full update on fern variety names in the proposed 
BPS centenary publication as part of a list of all cultivars introduced over the last hundred 

THE PLANT FINDER by Chris Philip and Tony Lord Pp. 570, 19 maps. 210 x 145mm 
Hardy Plant Society. 1989/90. ISBN 861 325 (paper back). Price £8.95 (p & p 



Abstracts from the 1989 Fern Gazette 
Main articles: 

The history of Diphasiastrum issleri in Britain and a review of its taxonomic status b 

AC Jermy. 

The existence of two types of clubmoss within the Diphasiastrum alpinum group 
in Britain is confirmed (i.e. D. alpinum and D. issleri). Due to introgression between 
taxa and the likely hybrid origin of D. issleri it is proposed here that both D issleri 
and D. alpinum are reduced to subspecies of D. complanatum. 

Compression and slingshot megaspore ejection in Selaginella selaginoides, a ne\ 

phenomenon in pteridophytes by C N Page 

An aberrant form of Equisetum telmateia from the west of .reland by M R I Westwood 

A new species of Selaginella from Cameroon, West Africa by N Quansah 

New ferns of Madeira by Mary Gibby and J D Lovis. 

This fascinating and well illustrated account describes five endemic taxa from 

Hymenophyllum maderense - 
from a hybrid of H. wilsonii 
up in Britain. 

Asplenium trichomanes subsp. maderense. 
Ceterach lolegnamense 

Polystichum X maderense. A handsome hybrid between P. falcinellum and P. 
setiferum, therefore almost certain to be hardy in Britain. 
Polystichum falcinellum x ?. A hybrid whose second parent is uncertain. 
The ecology and distribution of Pteridophytes of Zomba Mountain, Malawi by A Berrie. 
This is a comprehensive fern flora of a mountainous region of central Africa. Since 
frosts are known from an altitude of 1 500 metres up to the summit at 2085 metres 
there is a chance that some species could be hardy. There is a comment that 
frost damage to tree-ferns (Cyathea dregei?) has been seen. A candidate for testing 
in Cornwall? 

the genus Azolla by K K Stergianou I 

uryoptens x fraser-jenkinsii - a correction by Mary Gibby and C J Widen. 
Book Reviews: 

Ptendophyte flora of Oaxaca, Mexico by J T Mickel and J M Beitel. 
Azolla utilization, edited by W H Smith and E Cervantes. 


Poirot gets it right? - Not so, Agatha! 

The other evening I was idly entertained by one of those delightful films of Agatha 

Christie mysteries starring Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, the Belgian sleuth who, like 

Cagney & Lacey and all those others, is always there when there's a murder. 

In EVIL UNDER THE SUN (1982) the scene was set in a rich peoples' escape hotel 
on a tiny, quiet Greek Island (ironically filmed on Majorca, British lager louts' new paradise). 
Diana Rigg had been strangled on the beach and the culprit, of course, had to be one 
of the company. 

At the end of the film the great man held us all in suspense as he revealed who the 
killer was. Actually, on this occasion he did it rather clumsily, failing to convince the 
party until the very last minute when he urgently sought the signature of the one we 
all knew did it: Patrick Redfearn. 

Now you begin to see why I'm writing this for the Pteridologist. You see Redfearn 
accidentally signed himself by his real name: Felix Ruber as Poirot knew he would, 
having worked out that his English pseudonym was simply a translation from the latin 
of that well-known criminal's real name ahem! 

This of course reminds us of Rudolf Hess who, on parachuting into Britain during the 
last war, announced that his name was Alfred Horn. However, he was right and Agatha 
Christie was not. But wouldn't the story have been a bit of a flop if the dastardly fiend 
had called himself Patrick Redcat? 

M'lud, I offer as evidence the sacred word of Edmund C. Jaeger in his Source book 
of biological names and terms: 

felis=feles, genit, felis, a cat, the prolific 

prolific one, she that bears young Te '"' u *' 
); Fel-ichtys (Pise); Feli-opsis (Mam); FeM 

, productive. Ex: Felix (I 
r belonging to a cat. See fel. 

Oh, but they should have asked for Dyce advice first! 
They'll be talking about Dryopteris felix-mas before long! 



Part 1 . A picture is better than a thousand words. 


Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh EH3 5LR 

This is the first part of a longer article. Further parts will appear in future issues of 

I am an amateur at photography. So this is not one of those articles that sa 
technical about photography, but does not, in the end, seem to apply much t< 
that you are particularly keen to photograph. Such photographic skills a 

from using a camera as a means of recording ferns and their habitats, 
always to achieve the best result possible, and to build upon the experience so-gained. 
I have been photographing, or attempting to photograph, ferns and fern allies for more 
than a quarter of a century. Most of my techniques and equipment probably reflect 
this Nevertheless, having started as a rank beginner, I have gradually improved and 
refined these techniques, and in the process have accumulated a library of both slides 
and black and white, negatives covering most of the myriad of ferns which I have found 
in both temperate and tropical parts of the world. It has been my practice to photograph 
ferns, in preference to collecting them, unless there was some good reason for pressing 
a frond. I have always approached ferns in this way, long before conservation was a 

When I first began, I found that photographing ferns was not easy. Indeed, 'who said 
it was' was what I kept saying to myself when, in less than .deal photographic situations, 
I found myself hanging by one hand from a tree trying to align a camera on to a particularly 
attractive tropical epiphyte, while mosquitos nibbled at my ankles and leeches dropped 
on me from the branches above. 

Now, so many years later, I still think that ferns are some of the most difficult of subjects 
for photography. But don't be put off. In my case, the st.mulusto succeed was a combination 
of necessity and blind persistence. Later, the appearance of the book by Rasbach, Rasbach 
& Wilmanns (Die Farnpflanzen Zentraleuropas, Fischer, Stuttgart 1976) showed so well 
that successful photographs of ferns can be taken and reproduced with great effect 
and technical accuracy. So it was possible to succeed, and Kurt & Helga Rasbach s 
excellent photographs have consequently remained a stimulus to me. Earlier, however, 
it was my tutor. Dr. T.G. Walker, who undertook the hard work of initiating me into 
the mystique of the rites and rituals of photographic film exposure and developing, fern- 
frond silhouetting, and darkroom printing, and his patient tuition has certainly stood 
me in good stead as a baseline from which to develop this branch of pter.dology ever 

Pteridologist 2, 1 


The sequence of headings used below (and in subsequent parts of this article) begins 
with the plant and its environment rather than with a long check-list of equipment. 
What then follows is distinctly a botanist's approach to photography, rather than a 
photographer's approach to botany! 
Where are we heading and what are we after? 

A photograph of a fern is to me not just a straightforward image of a plant, although 
f it is correctly exposed, sharp, and annotated with species, place and date, it is an 
mportant enough achievement. But our aim can be more than that. Photographs of 
erns can also say much about the form, seasonal phase and sequencing, habit and 
exture of a plant, as well as its colour, if taken on colour film. Further, if taken in 
he plant's wild habitat (and most of the ones I have shot are) then a photographer 
can also show the plant in its wild setting and, possibly, give some indication, be it 
even only a marginal glimpse, of where that setting is. 

Additionally, it may be possible to include in the photograph some indication of the 
conditions under which the fern was growing, perhaps during a shower of rain or after, 
perhaps in mist, or fresh with dew. A fern photograph can thus convey not only the 
form and setting of the plant with which we are dealing, but can also capture something 
of the atmosphere of the setting and climate of that plant too. Thus approached, such 
a photograph can technically, I think, say much more than does < 
specimen or perhaps a thousand words. 
Taking and choosing y 

. Unlik 

) carefully choose your plant or plants. Decide, for any particular species, 
A single plant? A trio? A group? (Pairs, alone, seldom give 
you may wish to show a whole habitat and to supplement 

Look for plants in a suitable setting - preferably one characteristic for the species at 
the particular site, as well as ones which are photogenically attractive. No fern will 
look at its best in a poor setting, and some situations might be more appropriate to 
colour than black-and-white work (the latter always requiring a background colour which, 
when converted to shades of grey, will not 'lose' the fern in question). 
Quite often, such settings 'choose' themselves. The trick is in seeing them - another 
reason for not hurrying. I find that there is a special little-stated law of pteridology 
that invariably comes into play here. It states that the' most photogenic fern is always 
to be found ten minutes after you have run out of film. So be prepared for this major 
part of the enjoyment. 
(To be continued. Subsequent sections v, 
exposure, filters, choice of films, equipr 


I am pleased to announce that the winner of the competition set in Letter from 
Hawan in the 1989 Pteridologist is Bridget Graham. Congratulations! I hope 
it win oe possible to publish the winning suggestion in the 1991 Pteridologist 


A very comprehensive collection is stocked by: 


Honeybourne Road, Pebworth, Nr. Stratford-on-Avon, 

Warwickshire CV37 8XT 

Hardy and tender ferns 

Begonias, Gloxinias, Hederas, Hydrangeas, Primroses, Arum Lilies 

and Plants for the cool greenhouse 


Specialist Fern Grower 

i wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially Adiantums 

Culag, Green lane, Nafferton, Nr. Driffield, East Yorks. 

Send 60p for catalogue 
An Introduction to Fern Growing' also available, £2.50 inc. postage 


Specialising in North American and English hardy ferns 

Send two Internationa/ Reply Coupons for Catalogue 

Judith I. Jones, 

1 91 1 4th Avenue West, Seattle, Washington, 981 1 9, USA 


Los Angeles International Fern Society 

LAIFS Fern Journal bimonthly, includes fern lesson. 

Educational meetings, materials, spore store, books. 

Annual dues $1 5 domestic, $1 9 overseas, $24 overseas airmail. 

P O Box 90943, Pasadena. CA 91 109, USA. 

The British Pteridological Society 



Volume 2, Parti , 1990 


Ferns on the Menu Bridget Graham 
The BPS Spore Exchange Margaret Nimmo-Smith 

Fiddlehead Food E Sheffield 

In Search of the Original 'Victoriae' Nick Schroder 

The Man who died Collecting Woodsia Dewi Jones 

Polystichum setiferum 'Divisilobum Bland' J W Dyce 

Equisetum X font-queri in Anglesey R H Roberts 

Bulbils on Polypodium Martin H Rickard 

Groping after Ferns in the Fifteenth Century E Charles Nelson 

Sensible Conservation j w Dyce 

Soils and Soil Animals in the Age of Ferns Trevor G Piearce 

The Land Quillwort in the Channel Islands Patience Ryan 

Did the Danes Sharpen their swords at Embo? Heather McHaffie 

Polystichum setiferum 'Lineare Hirondelle' J W Dyce 

The Genus Dicksonia in Gardens in the British Isles Martin H Rickard 

Growing the Killarney Fern Alison Rutherford 
British Filmy Fern Gametophytes F J Rumsey, E Sheffield and D R Farrar 

Collecting Fern Spores A R Busby 

Photographing Ferns, Part 1 (to be continued) C N Page 

Notes for Contributors 

The past and the Future j w Dyce 

An idea for Growing Polypodiums Martin H Rickard 

Book Notes j w Dyce 
Athyrium filix-femina (Setigero-percristatum group) 'Majestic' Reginald Kaye 

Abstracts from 1 989 Fern Gazette Martin H Rickard 

Poirot gets it right? - Not so, Agatha! James W Merryweather 

St °P Press Christopher Fraser-Jenkins 


Somerset Ferns: A Field Guide 

Henry Potter's Guide to the Hybrid Ferns of the North East 

colour Identification Guide to the Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns 

Mosses. L.chens and Ferns of Northwest North America 

Index Hortensis Volume 1 : Perennials/Plant Finder 

The Pteridologist Volume 1 Part 6 was published on 31 May, 1989 
Published by the British Pteridological Society ______ 

Printed by METL0C Printers Ltd.. Loughton. Essex 

Volume 2 Part 2 

^ H-* ' ^ ^ = 





ST .Ml \ 




Officers and Committee for 1 991 

President: Dr B.A. Thomas 
President Emeritus: J.W. Dyce 

J.A. Crabbe, A.C. Jermy, R. Kaye, G. Tonge 

Honorary General Secretary A R Busby . CrozJers , 

16 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 

(Tel: Coventry 715690) 

Assistant Secretary (Membership); and Miss A M Pau | 

Editor of the Bulletin: Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum! 

Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD 


Meetings Secretary: 

Editor of the Fern Gazette: 

Material for publication should be sent to Department of Botany 

The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD. 

Editor of the Pteridologist: M .H. Rickard, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, 

Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2HP 

assisted by J.W. Dyce 

Committee: ^ P.j. Acock, P. Barnes, J.H. Bouckley, J.M. Camus, C.R. Fraser-Jenkins, 

Smith, R.N. Timm, Dr T.G. Walker, JR. Woodhams 

AJ. Worland, Harcam, Mill Road, Barnham Broom, 

Norwich, NR9 4DE 

Spore Exchange Organiser: Mrs M |M Jmmo . Sm ith, 201 Chesterton Road, 

Cambridge, CB4 1AH 

Plant Exchange Organiser: Mrs R Hlbbs , 30 London Road, 

Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 3BW 

Arch,vist: N.A. Hall, 1 5 Mostyn Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 5HL 

Booksales Organiser: SJ Munyard 234 Harotd Road , 

Hastings, East Sussex, TN35 5NG 

Trustees of Greenfield Fund: AR . BusbV( Dr N j H ards, Dr B.A. Thomas 

^m'enThuS ^ 001 ^ 1 S ° CIE ™ was found <* - 1891 and today continues as a focus 
its publications an ge of '"formation about ferns through the medium of 

meetmas aarriAr discussions, tieia 

has a wSl mem- pore exchange scheme and fern book sales. The Society 

professional tT"~ I botanists, both amateur and 

annually tLfZ- '■ and Bulletin, are published 

the Cido^! n xoo t c!o1 P ;!l SheS ma ! ,er ch,ef, V of s ? ec ' a " st '"terest on in*-- 
reports. ' more 9eneral appeal, and the Bulletin, Society t 


Secretar? (address abovThorn J^'T'T '"' membershl P should "• senI t0 ' 

(^^cover: Centenary logo designed by Nicola Plummer.) 

Ptendologist 2. 2(1991) ..» ^ 7 \9$A 49 


BARRY A THOMAS *** 0i * *" 

Welcome to our Centenary Year I am sure that it will be a good one for all of us. 
as several years of planning are clearly beginning to produce results We have an excellent 
programme of events spanning the year to culminate with our September Centenary 
Celebration meeting and A.G.M. in the Lake District Come to it so you can see where 
it all started one hundred years ago. We will be at the Southport Flower Show as usual, 
but, in addition, we have a competitive fern show at Pebworth The organisers of both 

For the first time, we will be at the Chelsea Flower Show where we hope to spread 

own Stand in the Scientific Section and the R.H.S. will also have a major display of 
ferns to which many of our members are contributing Sometime during the year you 
should also catch sight of one of our travelling exhibitions "One Hundred Years of Ferns" 

Our two special publications are well underway "Ferns of the World" with its 180 
colour photographs will be available at a very cheap price thanks to the generosity of 
so many members who loaned their colour slides It is expected to be very popular 
and a must for you all "One Hundred Years of British Ptendology" should also be 
compulsive reading for those who want to know a little more about our Society and 
the history of fern study Both will be available from B PS Booksales 
The programme is almost complete for our Symposium on the Propagation and Culture 
of Ptendophytes and Martin Rickard is taking bookings for the National Tour of Fern 
Gardens. Both events offer unparalleled opportunities for our fern-growing enthusiasts 
Make a special effort this year, come to the meetings and enjoy yourself This is the 
only B PS Centenary year that you and I are going to have Have a good time and 
join in because you can't wait for the next one! 


My Interest in Ferns 

It began so long ago that I do not now remember when it was, or how it became a 

my inheritance was very strong Perhaps being a Devonian, and in continual contact 
with a set of plants about which no one seemed 
find out more about them. They were to a great < 
for decoration, and yet not much use for this purpose owing to their tiresome habit 
of fading almost at once. This may have produced a feeling that there was surely more 
to be said for them, than just this only But it did not, till long after, lead to any attempt 
to grow them; and first efforts to do so were complete failures owing to complete ignorance, 
which lasted till my early twenties. About 1913 understanding and opportunity suddenly 
came, together; though even so, I do not recall exactly how But it has (as a combined 
thing) never failed since: and when, in or about 1923, I had a garden of my own, and 
still more when about 1925 contact was made with the British Ptendological Society, 
"fern fever" became chronic and appears to be incurable; which I am more than contented 

7 Fern Gazette 1 949-1 958, Secr< 

50 Pteridologist 2, 2(1991) 


JUDITH JONES, 1911 4th Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119, USA 

It seems that I cannot leave the subject of Adiantum pedatum and its subspecies alone 
as concerns articles written for the BPS (Jones, 1986, 1989). I have lots of unanswered 
questions concerning other species that I grow but this stubborn interest in ferreting 
out the origins of certain accepted trade names for pedatum "forms" has been plaguing 
me for some years. a 

It seemed that, with the publication of the proper denomination of Adiantum pedatum 

subsp. subpumilum for the dwarf five-finger maidenhair, many illeaitimatfi names wm/ld 

be laid to rest (Wagner and Boydston, 1 978). It did deal with tl 

this dwarf form, sometimes referred to as "Aleutian Island Form" 

on a rumour of its occurrence there), and set it apart from the recognized subsp. aleuticum, 

wnicn is not imbricate although it may have reduced stature in some ecological niches. 

Also discounted 

form that has continued to distress me. I definitely felt ..... 

gardens as "imbricatum" was a taller less congested plant than the s 

(Fig.1) I had been growing in the Pacific Northwest. 

For those of you who do not know the history of the dwarf maidenhair 

into cultivation in the 1 950s by a prominent Seattle horticulturis 

nafl I it that Dr. English had discovered the fern growing wild i 

of Washington State. It was believed there was no support fc 

reported by Dr. C. Leo Hitchcock, an eminent botanist at the 

m Seattle, that "Dr. English 

been found on the Olympic Peninsula; he c 

In fact, since the publication of Dr. W.H. Wagner's article in 1978, subpumilum has 
een round along the coast of the Olympic Peninsula. It is considered a coastal fern 

db ine type description is that of a single population found in 1977 on Brooks Peninsula 

or northwestern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It is important to note that was a close friend of Ed Lobrunner of Victoria, B.C.; a talented alpine 

ua mnt y c r !r,K Well " kn0Wn f ° r his observ ant eye and skillful hand at bringing selected 

~~i native plants into cultivation. If, indeed, the first subpumilum to parent 

'< did not come from the Olympic Peninsula it might well 

"dve come from Vancouver Island. 

fnpri'm 9 ' 50 "'/^^'" 9 * ° re9 ° n State University under Dr. David Wagner, has collected 
I saw hi? ° , SUbsp s ^pumilum and subsp. aleuticum from various northwest sites. 
RhoL. h C c' 0n bMefly for the first time thj s ^ll as it was being planted at the 

noaodendron Foundation in Tacoma, Washington. Most of the fronds were 
wait unt l StaQeS ° f W ' mer demise so further P erusal and comparisons will have to 
MuQti^r' ^"l 9 ' WaS allowed a ^w fertile fronds from a subpumilum collected at 
The soo r ° p Ve ° n Vancouver 'sland (see Fig.2). and one collected on the Olympic Peninsula 
story. ' S S ° Wn ' the cultures are greening rapidly, and only time will tell the full 

d G el t cn D 9 t,on Ck f t0 T pU22lement w 'th the "imbricatum", keep in mind that the official 
artcle T? h I Ut » umUum st *es that ,t comes true from spore. As detailed in my 1989 
back a nn **"***'* ™y co-nurseryman and I experienced at least a 1% revers.on 
Jams 2 ^T lmeS " fina,,y struck me J"st recently that among those reverted 
» a=> imDncatum Thev wprp tailor »ho^ 

They were taller than subpumilum proper, bi 

I exhibited a moderate degree of imbrication ( 

sow from this reverted population we get a few throwbac s 

iix between those in the intermediate range, with modestly 

Fig. 1 - Adiantum pedatum subsp subpumilum (nursery stock) 

Fig 2 - Adiantum pedatum subsp subpumilum from Alverson collection, Mystic Cove. Vancouver 

Island. British Columbia. Canada (2 fronds) 

Ptendologist 2. 2(1991) 53 

congested pinnules, and those that resemble the more typical pedatum subsp pedatum 

subpumilum has been available for over thirty years it seems likely that the English 
"imbricatum" arose from a sowing of subpumilum I'd love to hear from anyone who 
has information or conjectures about this very likely probability 


. I98i 

Adiantum pedatum 


l 989 


Joum of 

Bot 56 1726 1729 


Centenary Fern Show - Pebworth - Saturday 13th July 

This Show is the fir: 

years, possibly the fir 

to hold fern classes, and will again this year, but for those of us living in the Midlands 

or the South it is not always the most convenient site This one-off chance to exhibit 

at Pebworth on the Worcestershire Warwickshire borders is, therefore, hopefully going 

to tempt many more members into competitiv 

f Fibrex Nurseries, who is organising 
i to me Hazel suggests that if plants 
are to be lifted from the garden specially, a simple system is to water abundantly two 
days before the Show, then lift and pot up a day before the Show Also ensure that 
pots are clean, and that plants are correctly and neatly labelled It would be even easier 
if you select your ferns now and pot up in soilless potting compost and place in a shady 
spot outside, if you don't forget to water regularly your ferns should be fine for the 
Show An occasional general liquid feed would be helpful Remember a fern does not 

If for any reason any potential competitor is unable to stage an exhibit on the Friday 

night or Saturday morning of the Show, Fibrex Nurseries have kindly offered to do it. 

as long as the ferns are delivered to them in a show-ready state during the seven days 

before the Show In this case it would be as well to contact Hazel Key first, either 

when returning the Show Schedule, or by phone on (0789) 720788 If you have not 

yet had a Show Schedule write off for one now to Fibrex Nurseries, Honeybourne Road. 

Pebworth, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 8XT 

Because Fibrex Nurseries have ample space to accommodate quite a few caravans, any 

member with a touring caravan or tent can stay on site overnight and make the whole 

event an enjoyable weekend away 

The Show will be advertised to non-members of the Society and is 

: Pebworth and with the visit of the BPS Centenary 

tish Fern Gardens It s 
success of this project 

I nearly forgot! Another good reason for entering is the chance of more than paying 
your way Over £300 in prize money, divided into 60 different prizes, has been put 
up. There is ample opportunity for every entrant to win something For further information 
on any aspect of the Show please contact Hazel Key 


54 Pteridologist 2, 2(1991) 


JWDYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT. 

Blechnum spicant, the Hard Fern, is a very common fern throughout most of Britain. 
The Atlas of Ferns in the British Isles shows it to be less than common only in central 
Ireland and in the English- eastern counties. To quote the Atlas, it is "a sub-Atlantic 
species widespread throughout wetter parts of the British Isles. It is restricted by lack 
of suitable acid sandy substrate in much of lowland agricultural England. Similarly, absent 
from the limestone areas of both England and Ireland". It is very much a lime-hating 
fern, but even so can be found on the limestones of the north of England - in hollows 
in the accumulation of surface detritus from which all the lime has been leached. 
This fern, in the species form, is of very simple construction with two kinds of fronds. 
The sterile ones are evergreen, up to about 12 inches (30cm) or more in length, narrow, 
lax and outspread; the pinnae are narrow, undivided, dark-green in colour, glossy, hard 
and tough in texture. The fertile ones are deciduous, upright and rigid, with smaller 
pinnae which become progressively reduced in size towards the frond base where they 
become very rounded and widely spaced. The sori are linear. 

Although the Hard Fern cannot be regarded as a great variety producer, it has been 
fairly generous in the past in giving us some good ones. But it has been sadly neglected, 
undeservedly so, I consider. Even in the normal species form it makes a handsome 
garden plant with its dark-green glossy foliage and upright rigid fertile fronds. It is overdue 
for a "come back" and some active spore-sowing by today's fern growers could achieve 
that end. To our knowledge, relatively few varieties remain in cultivation today. One 
recent find is a first-rate deeply serrate variety by Martin Rickard. We hope we can 
keep this variety which, we are pleased to note, can not only reproduce itself, more 
or less, true from its spores but give us other kinds of variation as well. 
I am afraid that this review of variation in the Hard Fern must really be an informed 
obituary, to some extent, to keep alive in our minds what the fern is capable of in 
the production of varieties, so that fern hunters will not pass the species by in the 

Past records include some first-class forms. As with other variety-producing species, 
crested varieties feature largely, some of them quite elaborate, most of them very ordinary. 
Pinnae overlapping has produced some good imbricate plants, as has crisping of the 
pinnae. Plants with serrated pinnae, as in Martin Rickard's find, have been recorded 
more than once, the finest being Plumosum Airey'. Ramose varieties have turned up 
at times in the past - and still do; most of them are very dwarf and most attractive. 
'Rotundatum' with the pinnae reduced to rounded lobes is still being found in the wild. 
The classic example of this is Druery's 'Concinnum', but later finds are equally as good. 
Plants with very narrow pinnae, Lineare', can also be noted in the wild, but they are 
not exciting finds although interesting. An intriguing variety produces spores on t e 
barren fronds and I shall refer to this further on when discussing B.s. (Crispo-minuttssimum 
group) 'Hall'. 

In the following list of varieties it will be noted that, while I have used the old Latin 
naming for varieties found and named prior to 1959, I have (reluctantly) conformea 
to the ruling of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants in the naming 
of later finds. 

amendments by Rickard - in a ct -"'^' 
main, published in the Ptendologist Vou, 
,hich may be obtainable today 

purees, but possible ref mds from the wild by the observan 
t impossible to find an entirely new variety. 

en many years ago. It grows to about 12 inches (30cm) high with the frond 

- plants with fronds branched two or more times from the base of the blade, 
usually narrow, dwarf or fairly dwarf and heavily crested, have been found a few times 
in the post-war years. One very good one, found in the Outer Hebrides several years 
ago, was given to a nurseryman for safe-keeping but I do not know if it is still alive 
Also existing is a named plant - 

Ramo-cristatum - a dwarf form with the branching fronds neatly crested 
An interesting variety in this Group is a brachiate form which we hear nothing about 
these days but which seems to have been quite a common find around the beginning 
of this century, chiefly in Ireland. It is called - 

Trinervium - with the two lowest pinnae considerably elongated in typical brachiate 
manner. Druery tells us in his British Ferns and their Varieties, page 137, that 
it was found in Wicklow by a Dr Kinahan and suDsequently, in considerable numbers, 
in the Mourne Mountains by our member, W H Phillips Does this variety of the 
Hard Fern still exist in those areas? If it was so common in the Mourne Mountains 
area in Phillips' time it would seem safe to assume it can still be found there 
Perhaps some of our fern-hunting members, exploring the area, can refind this 
fern. It would be interesting to have it in cultivation again 
Druery also lists a similar variety, named Trinervium Hodgsonae, which he describes 

)f my maps; I assume 

- plants with very narrow fronds can at times be found but no named 
ones are, to my knowledge, in cultivation today Druery, in his above-mentioned book, 
lists a few, one called - 

Linearum - found at Witherslack in Cumbria, with fronds evenly narrow, undivided 

and almost strap-like. 
Unnamed varieties under the Section names Linearum and Rotundatum are grown by 
a few of our members. In the Pteridologist, Vol.1, part 1, 1984, p 43, an inconstant 
form is depicted, found by Martin Rickard in Powys, Wales. Unfortunately, the frond 
depicted here (Fig. 1b) is the best one from the same plant; none of the others are so 
neat, but he hopes for better things from its spores. 

A word of explanation is called for here. The names Angustatum and Linearum mean 
narrow, and the variety mentioned above is indeed a true linearum since its narrow 
fronds are undivided and almost strap-like. But there can be confusion in this species, 
Blechnum spicant, over the names Linearum and Rotundatum because the linearum 
description can also be applied to the rotundatum varieties of the fern with their small 
rounded pinnae which make the fronds very narrow or linear 

In 1989 I received from our member, CEK Scouller. who lives in the Western Highlands 
near Ullapool, two Blechnum fronds, one fertile the other barren, belonging to the 
Rotundatum section, which, to me, were most exciting (Fig.le). I wrote to Mr Scouller, 
asking if he had the plant, but alas! it was about 20 years ago, before he began to 
keep records, that the sight of the plant had intrigued him and he collected only the 
two fronds. The fertile one is somewhat irregular but the barren one is nearly perfect 
- BUT, were the other barren fronds equally perfect? I have suggested to Mr Scouller 
that he tries to refind the fern - who knows, it may be an exception which contradicts 
my oft-repeated pessimistic statements about the longevity of fern varieties in the wild; 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 57 

it may even have reproduced itself in good progeny! It would be an exciting event to 

(NOTE - Fern hunters visiting this part of Scotland, the Loch Naver area, should contact 
Mr Scouller for details of the locality - his address is in the Membership I ist published 
in the 1990 Bulletin, Vol.4, No. 1). 

A plant which Druery regarded as one of his best finds was in this section He called 
Concinnum Druery - with regularly rounded pinnae, sharply and evenly toothed 

In spite of Druery's strong regard for this fern which was one of his earliest finds (1881 ) 
and helped to fire his enthusiasm for fern variation, I can find no trace of it being depicted 
anywhere in his voluminous writings This is most surprising considering that he was 
no mean artist with his line drawings. There is, however, a very small illustration of 
it in a plate of line drawings of B. spicant varieties in the British Fern Gazette, Vol 2. 
No 14, 1912, p.25 

Druery's find was made on Exmoor in the West Country and, subsequently in 1909, 
an exactly similar variety was found in the Lake District by W Lancaster This fern Druery 
did choose to illustrate in the British Fern Gazette. Vol 1, No 8, 191 1, p 174 (Fig Id) 

ir semi-dwarf fronds, very congested in growth and 
»d also some turgid bnttleness Druery listed several 
neties but none have survived Several years ago I found, growing on rocks by a 
aterfall in South Wales, a small colony of Hard Fern varieties, all about 6 inches (1 5cm) 
gh, with very crisped and overlapping pinnae. I collected one of them, but it never 
d well and struggled on for some years before dying I am sure this variation could 

r carefully. The only plant of this variety we have today - or did have? - is a very 

(Crispo-minutissimum group) 'Hall' - found in the post-war era by Nigel Hall on 
one of the North Wales mountains. It is only 2 inches (5cm) in height, very congested, 
crisped and fleshy. (See Ptendologist Vol 1 , Part 1. 1984, p 43) When found it 
had one tiny fertile frond which was in very poor condition, but it provided a few 
scrapings which were sown in the hope that some spores still remained Nothing 
came up in the spore pot! A few growers possess, or did possess, this small gem 
but I have heard nothing about it for a long time and I hope it still survives My 
plant started behaving strangely several years ago by developing abortive spores 
on the barren fronds and then died the following winter 

ne or serrate fronds are far from common, although 

Druery depicts some in his book British Ferns and their Varieties, and there are trequent 
recordings of very good serratum finds and bred varieties in the early volumes of the 
British Fern Gazette, along with photographic plates - some are reproduced here Plants 

rare and have the serrations so deep that they become almost or completely bipmnate 
and plumose, so much so that they have been called plumosum I list a few of them 
here, not because they still exist - they don't - but what has been found once, and 
more than once, can be found again - 

Serratum, Smithies - found in 1913 by J J Smithies on Dartmoor. It was said 
to be one of the best wild finds but, unfortunately, no photo was published in 

ologist 2. 2 (1991) 
with broad ove 

Plumosum Forster - bred by W Forster and exhibited by him to the Society in 
1924 Its origin is lost. It was foliose and bipinnatifid with slight cruciation which 
was only partial and occasional It is depicted here <Fig 2) 

Bipmnatum Sheldon - raised sometime between 1916 and 1930 by J J Sheldon 
from spores of Henwood's Serratum listed above It had the same characters in 
a more pronounced form, being thoroughly bipinnate It is depicted here (Fig 3) 
We now come to the very finest variety ever produced by this species but, strangely, 
neither Martin Rickard nor I can find much more detailed information about it than 
appears in Druery's British Ferns and their Varieties, page 134 All the published 
references to it at the time, in the final decades of the last century and the first few 
of the present one, in the gardening literature of the time by Druery and in the early 
volumes of the British Fern Gazette, give us no further details We have a photograph 
of it, nothing more, and this same photograph (Fig. 4) appears in several publications 
of the time I rather suspect that the fern had a very short life and the most was made 
of the only surviving record - this photograph! The variety was - 

Plumosum Airey - raised by T Airey Druery states - "Decidedly the finest form 
of all; tripmnate and robust" The pinnae were divided into half-inch (1 25cm) 
pinnules which were themselves deeply divided The photograph was from Druery's 

and several of his finds have been recorded in The Ferns of the English Lake 
Country by W J Linton, second edition 1878 One of his finds was made at 
Windermere, described as almost bipinnate with very large secondary segments 
and we think it must have been from the spores of this plant that he produced 
his Plumosum Airey No. 1 ', depicted here An inferior form Plumosum Airey No 
2' was also bred but we hear nothing further of this 

It is pleasing to report that, although all those fine varieties of Blechnum spicant have 
been lost, the variety Serratum has again been found in the wild in the post-war years 
This find is a first-rate plant, ranking equally with the best finds of the past It is 
called - 

(Serratum Group) North Wales'- found by Martin Rickard in North Wales in 1973 

(Fig. 1c). It has fronds up to 9 inches (23cm) long, the barren ones having very 

regularly and very deeply indented pinnae which have a pronounced upward curve 

and in well-grown plants can be very much more than just serrate The fertile 

fronds have very narrow pinnae which have a backward curve, just like Revolvens 

In cultivation, my plant developed pinnae segments much enlarged to become almost 


In 1 977 Richard Rush sowed spores from the Rickard find and successfully raised several 

plants, among them a very good bipinnatifid form, (Bipmnatifidum group) 'Bush'. This 

is depicted in the Ptendologist, Vol 1, Part 1, 1984, p 43 It seems obvious that the 

variety 'North Wales' has great possibilities and can emulate the very best of the past 

A minor form of Serratum is Incisum. but it could, in my opinion, be a producer of 
much better things in its progeny. It can be found occasionally in the wild but is not 
sufficiently attractive to appeal to the majority of variety collectors. But it can present 
a challenge! 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 

Revolvens - found by C T Druery near Barnstaple in Devon round about 1913/ 
14. It will be seen from the illustration depicted here (Fig. 5) that it was a very 
good example of its kind with very fully recurved pinnae. It was said to yield quite 
true progeny with the incurved character as fully marked as in the parent. Like 
all the others, it has passed on 
My last variety is a very strange and unique plant which was named - 

Paradoxum - found by G Whitwell in Bannisdale, Westmorland in 1 877 It is difficult 
to picture this plant and I can best describe it in Dr F W Stanfield's language 
and leave the reader to build up his/her own picture "It was an absolutely unique 
plant, no fern with this three-winged character having been recorded in any species 
so far as the writer knows. The frond was, at first sight, somewhat of the stnctum 
(contracted, narrow) character with toothed and abbreviated pinnae, but along the 
middle of its upper surface was an upright ridge like the crest on the back of 
the male newt. The ridge was, however, divided into lobes, corresponding to pinnae, 
and the frond was consequently described as having three rows of pinnae', viz 
the two normal lateral rows and, in addition, the vertical pinnate ridge The upright 
row had no lower surface but both sides had glossy epithelium similar to that 
of the upper face of the normal frond. The plant was given to Mr Barnes, a very 
successful grower of Blechnums, to look after. ..and it became established and 
developed over twenty fronds of some three inches in length Unfortunately, ...the 
plant was divided with a knife, the result being that one of the pieces perished 
entirely while the other was all but killed. It never became robust, and eventually 
died without progeny more than thirty years after its discovery." 
Dr Stansfield laments its passing as a great disaster to the fern world, more than the 
loss of many more beautiful plants, even though its decorative value was very small 
Unfortunately, no frond, photograph or drawing of the fern exists. 

I hope this paper will stir up enough interest in this neglected species to encourage 
hunting for varieties and to grow and experiment with them in the hope of recovering 
some of the past losses. I think the great trouble with this fern has been overlooking 
the fact that lime is a positive poison for it I admit I have been at fault in this respect 

- particularly in the two past summers - that I can never get enough rainwater for 
watering purposes. To succeed with Blechnums a moist, open, loamy and leafy soil, 
bog lover, growing largest in moist shady 


From the Spore Exchange Organiser: 

I am hoping to build up a file of information about the ferns usually offered on the 
r from members on two points in particular I am interested 
i people have tried to grow repeatedly from 
. Also I would like to hear from members who 
i growing outside many of the foreign hardy or near hardy species which are now 
more widely available, particularly which species have survived unscathed in the recent 
cold weather and those that have succumbed. Correspondence about this or other matters 
concerning the Spore Exchange should be sent to me at 201 Chesterton Road, Cambridge 
CB4 1AE. 



The traditional use for Equisetum in polishing and cleaning is probably familiar to everyone; 
however, in Plants a Plenty by C Osgood Foster, an American book which gives a slightly 
'off beat' introduction to the propagation of plants, I found a paragraph on sowing seeds, 
which seems to refer to a natural fungicide or sterlizing agent - 

Though it seems, from this paragraph, that this is a familiar and perhc 
practice in America and, from subsequent lines, that the solution may be commercially 
available, few other horticultural books appear to have anything to say about this use 
of Equisetum. In a book on folklore, however, I found this one short line - 

Mildew - scatter dried marestail on the ground round plants likely to be affected. 
Neither of these give any clue to the origins of this idea, or to which species or species 
to use. The former does state that it grows in sandy places' - could this be E.arvense? 
Scattering dried material on the ground beneath a plant would seem a doubtful way 
of preventing mildew unless the active component is extremely potent! Equisetum, being 
a genus with a long evolutionary history, however, may have evolved a biocide for its 
own protection, powerful enough for use in disinfection. Alternatively, could this simply 
be an idea which has arisen out of confusion over the use of Equisetum in scouring. 
Several other B.P.S. members I asked said that they had no knowledge of the subject 
therefore, there could be a great deal of interest, if anyone familiar with the facts could 



Common names for plants are a fascinating study. They tell us so much about history, 
folklore, medicine and country practices Yet they are disappearing fast in this ay^ 
standardisation'. As new species appear in our flora new 'common' names are c • 
sometimes translations of the foreign name, sometimes descriptive, sometimes not. 
the earliest British Floras names were given, e.g. Hudson's Flora Anghca I 1 
and Withenng's Systematic Arrangement of British Plants (1776) and mosl to 
most descriptive. The danger with a national list (like English Names of w "°"° 
Dony et al. 1974, 1986) is that those interesting regional names get lost. Th * '* 
also introduced a way of signifying a generic' common name by introducing hypWj^ 
which play mockery of the English language. I am keen to collect local names to 
ferns (and allies) - in English, Welsh, Gaelic, Urse, Doric or any other language or^ ^^ 
And if you have interesting stories about old uses for these plants, please let me 
about those too 





An Introduction to Leptopteris 

About sixteen years ago, I was shown a plant of a Leptopteris sp from Mt Bartle Frere, 
North Queensland* in cultivation at Montrose, Victoria (see fig 3, rear) It belonged to 
David Jones (well-known author) 

To me, it was the most beautiful fern I had ever seen David had a spare plant and 
it was not long before I managed to relieve him of it and set it up in a large terranum 
in my glasshouse I have still got the same plant to this day, although considerably 

I soon learned that there were two more species in New Zealand, Leptopteris superba 
and L. hymenophylloides. so in March of 1975, my wife and I set off for a holiday 
to New Zealand We returned home with many ferns including the two Leptopteris spp 
They suffered a severe setback whilst in quarantine, but they survived and in a few 
years grew to become quite large. It was not long before I had acquired a plant of 
L. frasen from the Blue Mountains (Fig 3 opp p 64). west of Sydney and L moorei 
from Lord Howe Island (Fig 1 opp. p 64) 

In 1978, we moved from Wernbee to a five acre property at Lara near Geelong, Victoria 
The Leptopteris spp were all transported to Lara in large plastic bags and set up again 
in terranums under a skylight in a large shed We built several large glasshouses and 
commenced growing ferns commercially The Leptopteris soon outgrew their terranums. 
so I set aside an area in one of the glasshouses for them 

I built a wooden frame approximately 18ft long (5 4m) by 4ft wide (1 2m) and 4ft high 
(1 2m), with a lift-up lid I covered the polybox as I called it, inside and out, with clear 
polythene. I had a raised soil bed in the base, into which I planted the Leptopteris spp 
They flourished in their new environment and were soon outgrowing their polybox 
The Remaining Species 

I collected L. wilkesiana (Fig. 2 opp. p 64) in Fiji in 1982 and again in 1989 in New 
Caledonia. My first plant of L. x intermedia came from lolanthe Small from Pukekura 
Park at New Plymouth, New Zealand, and in 1988, I travelled to Papua New Guinea 
to seek out the two remaining species, L. alpma from Papua New Guinea and L laxa 
from Bougainville Island. I was very fortunate to obtain the latter as. shortly after, the 
unrest started at the island's copper mine 
Amongst the other filmy-ferns I grow, my next favourite would have to be Tnchomanes 

Establishing the Filmy-Fern House (Fig 4 opp p 65) 

For many years, I had been planning the construction of a filmy-fern house I wrote 

to the curators of the filmy-fern houses. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Huntington 

Botanic Gardens, San Marino, California for any information they could give me 

I commenced building in January, 1988. The house was to be 32ft long (9 6m) by 16ft 

wide (4.8m) and the walls were constructed of concrete blocks 8 inches thick (20cm) 

The roof was covered with alternate sheets of corrugated fibreglass and corrugated iron 

The iron was used to help cut the light back. The entrance was through an airlock. 

The ceiling was lined with ultra-violet inhibited polythene, to give a double-glazing effect 

The soil beds are all raised and the run-off is drained into a pit which is pumped out 

automatically onto the garden outside. Two spinning disc I 

, and two small fans circulate the air in the house. A small 
irough a system of pipes and introduced at floor level, 
t the other end of the house. 
All this sounded good, but I had many problems the first year. The hot summer sun 
heated the north wall and the inside temperature was getting too high. The humidistat 
was not functioning accurately. I like to keep the humidity above 80% at all times. 
Eventually I had to house the humidistat in a cylinder into which a small low voltage 
fan had been mounted 

The fan keeps a constant flow of air moving across the humidistat to keep it dry. Before 
I used the fan the moisture in the air was condensing on the humidistat, causing me 
no end of problems. With the sensing element wet, it would shut the humidifiers down 
until it dried out. By this time, the humidity in the house was becoming dangerously 
low. I shaded the north wall in the second summer and this helped to keep the temperature 

I also had problems with pockets of stale air in the house. Many of the ferns had a 
grey mould growing on them and some of them were growing deformed. I installed 

off in the evening. I have had no fungal problems since. 

The walls are sprayed automatically for three minutes and the soil beds are watered 

for ten minutes every second day. The watering jets have been inverted so that they 

spray onto the soil and not the foliage. I have found that if the fronds of Leptoptens 

spp are wet too often they turn black. 

Hybridising Leptopteris spp 

In 1985, I began experimenting with 1 

successfully developed a few Asplenn 


My method is simple and it worked. I sowed the two species together in anticipation 

that the spores of one species might be fertilised by those of the other species, which 

worked in most cases. I successfully crossed the following species - 

L superba x hymenophylloides 

L superba x frasen(see Fig. 2 opp.) 

L superba x moorei 

L superba x sp Mt. Bartle Frere, North Queensland* 

L. moorei x hymenophylloides 
Dr Patrick Brownsey of the National Museum of New Zealand sent me a copy of his 
paper on A Biosystematic Study of a Wild Population of Leptopteris Hybrids in N 
Zealand', New Zealand Journal of Botany 1981, Vol 19, and I was fascinated to lea 
that L x intermedia (L superba x hymenophylloides) produced good viable spore, 
plant was large and fertile, so I collected spore and sowed it and to my surprise 
end result was many hundreds of L. x intermedia. 

This year, I am going to collect the spore from some of my earlier hybrids and if any 
nf th om n-.~4.t~~ .„„u. . ,. .. . . .. __ i— i. ...i.r, / iiioerba. wno 

The Leptopteris sp. from Mt. Bartle Frere in North Queensland is regarded by be 
as just an isolated population of L fraseri, but I have grown the two species I 
side for many years and I feel that they are quite different. 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 


MARTIN RICKARD, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow. Shrops SY8 2HP 
I am endebted to Reginald Kaye for sending me the photograph of this superb little 
fern and for allowing me to publish it here (See Photo opp ) This is surely the most 
attractive cultivar of Asplenium tnchomanes still in cultivation Indeed, we have Reginald 
Kaye to thank for the fact that it is still with us 

It was found by Percy Greenfield in 1960 on the Society's annual excursion It was 
growing on a roadside wall among a large colony of normal forms of Asplenium 
tnchomanes near the village of Crowcombe in the Quantock Hills in Somerset (Dyce, 
1961) As a keen variety hunter. I can easily imagine the thrill Percy Greenfield must 
have experienced on that September day thirty one years ago Jimmy Dyce was present 
and had they been walking in a different order this charming little fern might now be 
called Dyce! 

The fern had two crowns and one was given to Jimmy Dyce Later, this one died but 
Greenfield's flourished However, some years later the two members concerned decided 

with its soft north Lancashire climate Time has proved that this decision was correct 
It is. perhaps, relevant to add that Incisums" have proved difficult in cultivation Indeed, 
many years earlier Reg had already lost a fine Incisum' when he split a well grown 
plant from the Barnes collection into about 20 crowns only to see all the divisions die! 
As he observed more recently he has no plans to split the Greenfield plant' (Kaye, 1968) 
Asplenium tnchomanes (Incisum group) Greenfield' is an example of the true plumosum 
form of Asplenium tnchomanes, the pinnae are deeply and finely cut and the plant 
is completely sterile, quite unlike the coarser and quite common Incisum Moule' 
Greenfield's is the most recent of several similar plumose finds 

Incisum' - in Jersey by Sherard? in British Herbal 1 743 (Druery. 1 910) 

Clapham.i' - found at Smeerset, near Settle in 1859 (Lowe, 1890). 

Incisum' - found in Westmorland by Mr Wollaston in 1870 (Druery. 1910) 

Incisum' - found near Burnley by Mr S Gibson (Lowe, 1890) 

Incisum' - found in Borrowdale by Miss Wright (Lowe, 1890) 

Inciso-crispatum Clementii' - found in a mason's yard in Lancashire, apparently the 
best find of all (Druery 1910) 

So often choice plumose forms of our smaller British ferns have disappeared from 
cultivation, but I hope the publication of this photograph will deliver a stimulus for renewed 
hunting of the treasures that are surely still growing undetected 

DRUERY. C T(1910) British Ferns and their Varieties. London 

DYCE. J W ( 1 961 ) The British Ptendological Society annual excursion 1 960. The British Fern Gazette, 

KAYE. R (1 968) Hardy Ferns. London 
LOWE. E J (1890) British Ferns. London 


BRIDGET GRAHAM, Polpey, Par, Cornwall, PL24 2TW 

One possible solution occurs to me that would resolve Mr Fraser-Jenkins' problem 
concerning the distribution of Dryopteris aemula and its surprising occurrence in Hawaii. 
It is based partly on information and partly on speculation. 

Although the author does not believe in "random and especially world-wide spore dispersal 
for any but, perhaps, a handful of tropical adventives", it could be the answer in this 
'hat you mean by "random". 

One of the earliest records of migrating birds is that of Colymbus pedviridus, the Green- 
footed Poker Bird, which existed some time in the Cretaceous Period, possibly before 
the North American continent began to split apart from Europe. Remains of this ancient 
bird have been found in China, Patagonia and on several Pacific islands, including Hawaii. 
One or two bones of the bird have recently been identified in Central America, but 
the incontrovertible evidence of its characteristic beak, discovered on several of the Isles 
of Scilly, proves that the Poker Bird was there in great numbers, where it is also significant 
that Dryopteris aemula is still plentiful. 

Whether Colymbus pedviridus was forced to make long migratory flights by reason of 
the ever widening gap between the continents, the subsequent rising of the levels of 
the oceans and the submerging of the range we now know as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 
must remain a matter for conjecture. But the flight path of the bird would appear to 
have followed the equatorial counter current, turning east at Panama and then joining 
the course of the Gulf Stream as it crossed the Atlantic. There is little doubt that the 
bird would have rested on islands which have since disappeared under water. 
The bird was a wader with a highly developed sense of smell. The name derives not 
only from the green webbed feet but also from the peculiar bill. This was used or 
stabbing the foreshore in search of food and later, forced by a rising tide-mark, for 
poking in the humus of woodland and scrub, not only to extract food but also to bury 
it. This changing habit forced a bird of the foreshore to adapt to an inshore environment. 
It became fully adapted to prodding for food in the undergrowth. The olfactory organ, 
located at the base of the bill, enabled the bird to return and collect the meal at a 
later date. This was a very necessary skill to develop in view of the great energy require 
to make its long flights, especially as the bird was not fully evolved to its maximum 
potential. There is ample proof, from the analysis of its fossilised stomach conten i. 
that the Hay Scented Fern was most attractive to the Poker Bird. Possibly it was attracte 
by the smell, or the scales, or by the spores which had an irresistible flavour. Moreove. 
the scent of hay would have made it easier to detect underground. The fern could 
have been used to line the nests which, it is thought, were large and untidy, bui 
ground-level within sight of the sea. In any event one can be sure that spores of <>■*""" 
would have adhered to the bill, feet and even feathers of the bird and could thus n 
been transported across the waters even to our own shores. The bird's summer no 
was discovered to be on Lyonesse, the lost land between the Isles of Scilly and Cornwa. . 
By all accounts this was a on earth with a gentle climate that was an 
habitat for vegetation of all kinds. Botanical investigation has shown that the dom 
pter.odophyte was D.aemula. beating Bracken at its own game. A mere ^-^ * 
ago, as the result of tectonic action between Atlantis and Eldorado, the land of Lyo 
was drowned by enormous tides, and the fertile fields of waving fronds were tio 

Now we come to the most crucial evidence. Over the last decade, divers retrieved fossils 

'erns between the layers of slate, for which Cornwall is famous Furthermore, 
impressions of fronds embedded in strata of serpentine rock. These have been re 
ntified as D.aemula. 

f Relics of Lyonesse v 

linor differences between the varieties of the fern may be accounted for by geographical. 
Iimatic and ethnicanan influences (as Darwin proved) 

(Don't take this too seriously! Ed ) 


Helmuth Schmick, pp.324, about 1 14 full page line drawings and numerous 
other smaller figures, 22 x 31 cm. Text in German. Privately published by the 
author, 1 990. Available from the author at: Im Grund 6, D 2056 Ghnde, Germany. 
Price 99 DM including postage. 

It is particularly pleasing to see this substantial book published in a country where books 
on fern growing have been few The author has been a member of our Society for 
many years and contributed to the Bulletin in 1 981 

In general format the book is reminiscent of The Gardener's Fern Book by F G Foster 
Each species is allocated a double page spread, with an illustration opposite copious 
notes including a description, details of garden merit and wild distribution 
The illustrations are the key to the book, all drawn by the author in a most attractive 
style. For the most part they are of a very high quality and should readily enable the 
recognition of even the more difficult species eg in Dryoptens. I only noticed one exception, 
Woodsia pulchella, which would be difficult to recognise from an uncharacteristically 
sketchy illustration. An unusual inclusion is a series of sketches of the cross sections 
of the stipe of many species showing interesting differences between genera 
Unfortunately, perhaps because this is a book for the gardener, there are no drawings 

Only species and hybrids are covered by this book, cultivars are excluded There are 
nevertheless many interesting taxa included. I was particularly impressed by Dryoptens 
formosana - one of several species to add to my wants list Of great value to the gardener 
in colder regions will be the tables giving details of hardiness in central Germany as 
well as situation and pH preferences in the garden 

ed here is likely to prove controversial, the only 

f Asplemum ceterach and Dryoptens x 

these ferns; however, for patient English speaking members the author has expressed 
the hope that an edition in English will be produced in the future. 



ANDRE J LABATUT, Puypezac Rosette, F-24100, Bergerac, France. 

From a geographical point of view. France occupies a choice location in Europe. The 
large size of the country and the variety of landscape allow for a multitude of climatic 
influences. The most important of these climatic factors which bear on fern growth 

e Western seaboard. 

n on the Southern seaboard. 

- the five major mountain ranges, namely, the Alps, the Jura, the Pyrenees, the 
Vosges, and the Massif Central. 
The easternmost ranges exert a central European climatic influence which results in 
the occurrence of a boreal pterido-flora. Lying in the Mediterranean sea, Corsica proves 
to be a major element of the French flora. 

As a consequence of such varied environmental conditions, the presence of a large 
number of fern species in France has been recorded, indeed, one of the largest for 
a European country. Up to now (1990), 121 native species and subspecies have been 
hsted four of which (Asplenium jahandiezii (Fig. 1 ), Dryopteris ardechensis - discovered 
by C.R. Fraser-Jenkins in 1981 Isoetes boryana and Isoetes velata subsp. tenuissima) 
are endemic. Three further species (Cyrtomium fortune!, Matteuccia struthiopteris, 
seiagmellakraussiana). are considered naturalized or established whereas the indigenous 
status of Pteris vittata in SE France is still at issue. To this list must be added 49 hybrids, 
t has to be admitted that pteridological study in France during the 19th century was 
not so active as in other countries; it lagged behind research carried out in the U.K. 
a Germany, for example. However, as there was a general increase of interest in 
Botany everywhere, a large number of French local floras and catalogues were published 
by keen botanists. These publ.cations are invaluable today but ferns in general were 
unfortunately poorly studied and, as a result, references remain too frequently doubtful, 
et, that period saw the publication in 1893 of the earliest of the very few books solely 
devoted to French ferns: Les Fougeres de France by Rey-Pailhade. 
At the turn of the century, H.J. Coste (1858-1924), while compiling his remarkable Flore 
C wcJ a "? 6 Wh ' Ch ' S Sti " very much in use tod aV' provided the basis for pteridological 

Although no major comprehensive treatise on French pteridophytes was published in 
Z < S J th,S Century ' a lar 9e amount of regional notes on specific subjects and 
mV™ ^T 6 " 68 was P rodu ced as a growing number of botanists became more 
interested ,n ferns, among them: AJ. Bange, J.Calle, G Denizot, R. de Litardiere - who 
is credited with the description of Asplenium x costei (Fig 2), A. x pagesii. A. x souchei 
h(t ,° lr ' 0n ' L t de Ver 9nes, E.Walter. It is not unlikely that these botanists were impressed 
by the beautiful colour drawings of ferns in G Bonnier's Flore Complete lllustree en 
"><»eurs, de France, Suisse et Belgique, published in 1934. In 1939, in addition to 
FrTnrl ^T^ "***' R Dhien Polished a Repartition Geographique des Fougeres 
Franca,ses but his locality references, unfortunately, are not all reliable. In 1954 ML 
Tard. eu .B,ot produced the second publication entirely devoted to French ferns, 
thewS i 9 ° reS 6t P ' anteS Alli ™ s > Des P' te these works < FrenCh ^MM 
unde ' t. US H k° ^ re ' egated e ' ther to the ve 'v or end of French flora* 
under outlandish, obsolete names, as if they were mysterious and incomprehensible 

juenn) DC. Pyrenees-Onentales, France, leg M Boudrie. April 1990 
) Bernh.. Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France, leg A Labatut. Sept 1981 

70 Pteridologist 2, 2(1991) 


And then in the 1 960s a new light began to dawn on French pteridology. J. Vivant, 
an excellent field botanist, developed a special awareness for ferns; within a very few 
years, he was credited with the discovery, in his area (SW France) as well as in Corsica, 
of several very interesting new species, such as Stegnogramma pozoi, Cystopteris 
diaphana, Dryopteris submontana. Most of his finds were published in the two famed 
French botanical journals. Bulletin de la Societe Botanique de France, and Le Monde 
des Plantes. E. Contre, too, became more attentive to the various pteridophytes he 
encountered on his field trips in Central and Western France; in 1972 he corrrectly 
identified the hybrid A.adiantum-nigrum x A.septentrionale in central France, which was 
later named after him, A. x contrei. At the same time, A. Berton made a close study 
of Horsetails. 

The mid-seventies saw the arrival on the French pteridological scene of two botanists. 
F.Badre and R. Deschatres, both fern specialists. F.Badre, in charge of the Pteridophyte 
Herbarium at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, set up an extensive 
work programme with a view to publishing a flora of French ferns. He received great 
help in his task from D. Deschatres, one of the leading French field botanists with a 
sound knowledge of Corsican flora and to whom we are indebted for a number of new 
species for France and Corsica, i.e. Cheilanthes hispanica and more recently Asplenium 
balearicum (Fig.2). F.Badre was warmly encouraged by Professor T. Reichstein of Basel 
who, incidentally, had introduced him to the fern world. Their combined efforts led to 
the publication in 1979 of an excellent updated synthesis on French pteridophytes, Les 
Pteridophytes de la France, liste commence des especes. This annotated list of all 
pteridophyte species, subspecies and hybrids then known in Continental France and 
Corsica, provides cytological and ecological data as well as general distribution for each 
and every taxon entered. For twelve years now this work has been the major basis 
for all pteridophyte research in France. No further publication on French ferns can afford 
to ignore this synthesis. It must also be mentioned that F.Badre, due to his thorough 
knowledge of fern hybrids, described in 1981 two interesting Asplenium hybrids, new 
to science: A. x sleepiae (Fig.2) and A. x bouharmontii. He also produced in collaboration 
with R.Deschatres and A. Faber Tryon, an exhaustive paper on French Cheilanthes in 

All this groundwork, patiently built-up, heralded a new era for French pteridology. It 
inspired widespread exploration in the field and soon a host of new discoveries were 
recorded. A number of papers were published in various journals. These discoveries 
were made by various botanists whose interest in ferns had been rekindled, among 
them: G.Aymonin, C.Bernard, and P.Berthet - who has found the true diploid A 
cuneifohum and the hybrid A. x centovallense in eastern Massif Central, as well as 
a hybrid new to Science, A. x dutartrei (A. ceterach subsp. ceterach x A. sagittatum). 
To these must be added, G.Dutartre,, A.Charpin - and of course, R.Deschatres 
and J.Vivant already mentioned. At Toulouse University, in his top-level research work, 
BXugardon has recently given his results on the study of the ultrastructure of the perispore 
of pteridophytes in terms of phyllogenetic aspects, in Spores of the Pteridophyta just 
published in Germany in collaboration with A.F Tryon 

Concurrently, a number of famous foreign pter.dologists, H.W.Bennert, C.R. Fraser- 
Jenk.ns, H. & K. Rasbach, Prof T. Reichstein, J. Schneller, who explored France a 
Corsica, published their discoveries in different bulletins; for example, Asff 1 '"" 
x cyrnosardoum and Cheilanthes x insularis were described from Corsica while i* * 
ruscmonense was described from Southern France. Woodwardia radicans was founo 
m Northern Corsica by a German botanist, GShuIze, in 1963. 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991; 

H6raultMay 1989. 
Andabre. Herault May 1988, 

However, the French botan 

bottom of current pteridolo 

Introduced into the fern world by F.Badre, his passion for pteridophytes caused him 

to produce in 1 985 a long awaited Guide des Fougeres et Plantes Alliees. 

This manual (reviewed in the Pteridologist I, 3, 1986) soon proved to be indispensable 

for all botanists with an eye for ferns. Its main merit is a short description of all known 

French species accompanied by an illustration or line drawing. These line drawings 

pinpoint diagnostic characters which separate plants otherwise morphologically alike. 

It must be stressed that this handbook is the third publication solely devoted to French 

ferns - if one considers that Badre and Deschatres' annotated list is more intended 

for the specialists. 

his guide soon ran out of print and a second enlarged, i 

The first 

has been recently published (Sept. 1 990). The descriptions and determination keys for 
genera, species, and subspecies have been greatly improved allowing for the possible 
occurrenc of hybrids. Photographs have been replaced by diagnostic line drawings and 
photo-silhouettes. New species recently discovered have been added. Nomenclature has 
been up-dated. Reflecting the author's improved knowledge of French ferns, the book 
minating characters and more precise data on ecology and distribution. 

gives detailed discri 

This i 

i study of French flora proves beyond ( 

France had a rather belated start, today's French botanists are intent on making up 
for lost time. Fern research and studies of all kinds thrive. Major results are published 
in Le Monde des Plantes, and in the excellent annual publication of the Societe Botanique 
du Centre Ouest. This very active society is considered by many to be the leader in 
the French botanical field today. 

Another proof of this renewal of interest in French pteridology was the successful one- 
day symposium on French pteridophytes (systematic, chorological, biological, and 
ecological aspects), held at Paris University on November 9th 1990. It was organised 
by M.Boudrie and S.Muller under the auspices of the Societe Botanique de France, whose 
Bulletin will publish the different papers presented. 

Recently a collation of distributional data has been undertaken under the guidance of 
R.Prelh for the whole of France, with the kind help of French and foreign botanists 
Preliminary results have led to the discovery of a large number of new localities of 
rare and very rare taxons, and to the re-discovery of ancient localities believed to have 
disappeared, resulting in a burst of enthusiasm among all fern fans! The outcome of 
all th.s will be the publication of an Atlas Ecologique des Pteridophytes de France. 
And so as the foregoing amply shows, French pteridology is gathering momentum, ft 
* undoubtedly heading for promising days, as there is no denying that France's secluded 
mountain screes still keep in store precious ferny finds or 

References: (limited to pt 

BADRE, F & DESCHATRES. R 1079" Let PrtrkJoonvtM de France, liste commented 
M 34: 379- 
ilier, Paris, 199 

Pteridophytes (Fougeres et plantes alliens). Sedes, I 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 


Part 1 (cont). A picture is better than a thousand words 
C N PAGE, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh EH3 5LR 
The hunter and the hunted 

No fern or fern-ally ever grows where it does to suit the whims of I 

3 photographer 

Indeed, it often seems that they grow where they do - in dark places, under 

cliff overhangs, 

on the roof of a cave, or half-way up a tree, especially to avoid undue 

media attention 

(I'm sure many of us know the feeling). Finding a reclusive species can 

be an exercise 

in itself which has long been an important part of ptendological trad 

ition But don't 

get carried away n 

Survival (of both the photographer and the plant) is the most important point here I 

once slipped and took an unplanned tumble down 15 feet of rough cliff, cracking my 

camera against a boulder on the descent and landing on it at the bottom - needless 

to say, the camera was in better shape afterwards than I was, and turned out to be 

rather better insured. Thereafter, I decided on a new principle It is always better to 

return with no photographs, than not to return at all 

So if a plant is really inaccessible, look for another one. And if you really have to risk 

life and limb, do try to make a regular point of not trampling most of the other vegetation 

to death in the process of reaching the plant with your camera or, worse still, taking 

it with you as you fall. 

Telephoto lenses with a macro-zoom capacity can be especially useful in situations of 

difficult access, but more about these later. 

Controlling (!) the environment 

Having found your quarry, tried about 25 different poses and finally, probably returned 

to the first one, the next thing to do is think. Light and wind are usually the two next 

considerations. The former is usually easier to control than the latter 

but lightly overcast by high cirrus clouds, and thu! 

all directions is excellent for ferns, right down to qi 

of half a minute or more, and it would be difficult 

of getting this right. Using a tripod and, providing that there is no wind (a soft, bright, 

early morning is often best), you can stop down well (to increase depth of field), and 

and then make my exposure as long as practical If using colour film, photographs taken 
under such conditions also have the advantage of better colour saturation, which I prefer 
and which can be particularly useful if the result is to be reproduced 

diffusing hard light with a very technical piece of equipment called a ladies' umbrella 
(ladies' because they come in a range of pale colours [the umbrellas, not the ladies], 
while gents ones, for reasons I've never thoroughly understood, seem to come only 
in exciting shades of black). But this also will work only when there is no wind If light 
is mostly from the wrong direction, then reflectors, carefully positioned, can be additionally 

Bright, undiff used light can sometimes t 

breaking all the rules and shooting three-quarters into it, as I find that a wholly backlit 

i frond, set against ; 

- details such as son beneath a frond 

particularly well, although exposures here can be tricky Bracketing the exposure helps, 

valuable. Filters will, of c 

, themselves further modify the 

or 2 stops), but I will oeal v 

it, however modified, for fern photography, rather than 
ie field. For the use of flash raises problems 

as tending to flatten the form of a fern even in a successfully exposed photograph 
(especially if the flash gun is mounted on the camera). My main use of flash has been 
as a fill-in light source in whole-tree conifer photography - but that is a subject which 
has an order of magnitude of difference from photographing ferns. 
Wind, as you will gather, is the fern photographer's particular delight. Even the gentlest 
of breezes makes the tips of many fronds quiver in most undisciplined fashion, and 
if you wait long enough, it can have much the same effect on the photographer too. 
Wind is less easy to control than light. If the day is even moderately windy (ie. above 
about wind force 0.001), it is usually better to come back on another day. If the wind 
is already gentle, but needs that extra bit of stilling to dampen it a little further, I usually 
fall back on my umbrella again (which is why it looks so tatty). 
The personal touch 

At this stage, some people have uncontrollable urges to 'garden' their subjects (ie. tidy 
them up a bit, as if preparing a display of cauliflowers for the county show). Others 
say that this is cheating, and that the debris surrounding the plant is all part of the 
natural scene and should be left. Personally, I steer a course of moderation here, usually 
preferring to remove the odd decaying bicycle wheel and cola can from the picture (the 
latter usually to be found in the most remote corners of tropical forests) and anything 
else that looks offensive or intrusive. 

Amongst the latter, I number especially grasses (I hope there are no grass-lovers reading 
this). Grass blades are wearisome things. They turn-up everywhere. They turn annoyingly 
pale out-of-season, last forever, and usually cut diagonally across the frame you have 
carefully lined up (which the eye will then follow). They can become especially conspicuous 
m black and white work, when they appear nearly white against darker backgrounds. 
I carry a special pair of anti-grass scissors for trimming them away (never pull them, 
as half the landscape will usually follow). By comparison, fallen leaves do not usually 
matter (providing you can see the plant for them), for they are usually part of the scene. 
At this stage I usually add a scale of some sort into the picture - a relfex action probably 
resulting from my scientific training. I personally dislike seeing endless shots of lens 
caps or coins (all of which vary in size anyway). I am, however, happy with a we ^ 
Placed hand lens, a pencil or penknife (more standard sizes). Some people thir 
sacrilege to use any scale at all, but scientifically, it provides L 
particularly for unexpectedly small or large subjects. And when you are finished try 
not to forget, as I do, to pick ,t up again. For, to me, this has not become a reflex 
reaction, and in many places, from Britain to the trop.cs, there are ferns growing win 
hand lenses carefully posed beside them still. 
Travelling solo 
Some things are best done in teams (though I've personally yet to find one). Ph*ographVj 

owever, I find is a very personal business. Every photograph takes time - time in se 
up or d,smantling your tripod, adding or taking-off filters setting up reflectors and umbreHa, 
choosing the perfect angle, setting focus and exposure, and waiting for that moment 
beZTl^ breG2e momentar "V *°PS Then, of course, there is the repeat P*^^ 
because, at that perfect moment when you pressed the shutter, you realise that y 
had forgotten to wind on after the last shot and so the whole process begins again. 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 75 

So allow yourself plenty of time. Have patience (quite a lot of it) Don't try to hurry 
And finally, if you have a good friend to go walking and exploring with, my advice is 
to go alone, for unless your friend is also very patient, you will one day look round 
and find that he or she has also taken to working solo instead. 

(To be continued. Subsequent sections will cover composition, exposure, filters, choice 
of films, equipment, printing and reproduction). 


RAY WOODS, NCC, The Gwalia, Ithon Road, Llandnndod Wells, Powys, LD1 


Worming your way down mud filled crevices between razor-sharp limestone blocks is 

not my idea of fun To the caver it is one of the most promising ways of discovering 

new caves. Unfortunately, often after weeks of digging, the bedding planes may narrow 

and most "digs'' end in disappointment It's often difficult to decide out of many possible 

sites which is the most likely to "go" or lead into a substantial cave passage A strong 

draught, typically into rock crevices on the upper hill slopes in the summer and out 

in the winter is recognised as a good sign of a cave below 

At a time when photographs from the edge of the solar system are commonplace and 

the whole of the electromagnetic spectrum can be used to probe into the structure 

of things, it comes as a bit of a shock to discover there does not seem to be any sort 

of a gadget practically capable of detecting cave systems Could there be any biological 

indicators of hidden cave passage, I was asked by the cavers? 

Having watched for over a decade the almost entirely futile scrabbling, digging and 

dynamiting that had gone on in the search for new caves across Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 

tional Nature Reserve and the adjacent areas of limestone a 

Valley in Brecknock, I hadn't the heart to say no. me wnoie area is so iuiI of depressions 
and sinks there just has to be more cave there To add insult, a huge hole suddenly 
opened up outside one of the caving club cottages recently Ten yards to one side and 
it would have swallowed the cottage 

So I found myself having to present a paper to assembled cavers on a "brainstorming 
day" designed to come up with new ideas for locating caves I appeared on the programme, 
I think, between the impulse radar man and the dowsers Cabaret was provided by 
the satellite image man. Like on a TV talent show the audience picked the most promising 
act and the Lady Fern won an overwhelming vote. 

She was, I suppose, my only hope Pursuing hibernating moths, counting stomata on 
rock cress leaves and the search for obscure frost sensitive liverworts clearly had not 
impressed But the possibility that heaven in the shape of a monstrous cave system 
might lie behind an apparently feminine fern-fringed crevice had to be investigated 
Out with the cavers back on 

lamp - an ideal situation for prothalh 
i 2nd week of June recent frost damage 

in the bedding planes and kept the ad 

Lady Fern seems to be fairly frost sen 

was evident on many fronds. Did warm air venting out or tne caves m me * 

the growth of sporelings? Buckler Fern seemed to replace Lady Fern on t 

cliffs nearby. Moving away from known cave systems a search of holes with 

Lady Ferns certainly made the cavers rethink their v 

and some new draughting holes were found. Perhaps 

Lady Fern test might be called Ogof Athynum 

76 Pteridologist2, 2(1991) 


JWDYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

f the 19th century the Victorians discovered ferns and the beautiful 
e of our British species, particularly the Soft Shield Fern 
the Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina}, which could be found 
in the wild by the diligent hunter. Thus began the "Victorian Fern Craze' which lasted 
into the opening years of the present century when it began to decline, and the First 
World War effectively finished it off. In its heyday it became a mania and enthusiasts 
combed the ferny parts of the country for variations, all of which, no matter how minor, 
nondescript or ragged, were eagerly collected and named. Most of them were fitted 
only for the rubbish heap, and in the course of time that is where they probably finished 
up, but among the finds in lanes, woods and on mountain sides were some with regular 
and beautifully divided fronds, and our garden varieties today are the descendants of 
those plants. Some are divisions from the actual original finds which still exist, in many 
cases over 100 years old. 

to be concentrated in only a very few areas in the country. Some people try to account 
for this by saying that these regions were more intensively hunted, but I do not think 
this is the reason, for during the height of the Craze hunters were eagerly exploring, 
throughout the whole land, every nook and cranny where ferns were to be found growing, 
and although some of the best of the well-known varieties originated outside the 
epicentres, they were very few compared with the numbers collected in the two mam 
centres, the West Country and the Lake District. A possible explanation is the abundance 
of the variety-producing species in these areas - for instance, the West Country is te 
chief centre of the Soft Sh.eld Fern in Britain, and most of the good varieties of this 
species or.ginate there, while the same applies to the Lady Fern, to a large extent, 
in the Lake District. Both areas had many resident collectors whose names became 
prominent in the fern world, and their memories are perpetuated in the names of severa^ 
of our best garden plants. Best-known of the on-the-spot West Country fern men were 
Dr E F Fox, Col A M Jones, J Moly and Dr J S Wills, with E J Lowe not far aw 
in Monmouthshire. Others further afield who made this centre their happy hunting grou 
were C T Druery, Dr F W Stansfield and G B Wollaston. Moly is credited with ov 
600 varietal finds but, in common with so many of the ferns collected in those ay. 
the large majority of them must have been very ordinary, and many more so i very _ 
that it would take a lot of imagination to tell them apart. In the North, R White _ 
G Whitwell, J Wiper and members of the Bolton family (now famed as^owers 
sweetpeas, and still possessing the Bolton fern collection) \ 

active, hunting the deep valleys and high hills of the Lake District. 

Northern British 

nurinern tern men who formed themselves into a society, me ,¥l """ - . , lna j ca l 
Pteridological Society. A year later the name was shortened to British ^ er f°rT- 
Society, of which I was the Secretary for about 20 years, and later President, olio ^ 
in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessors, C T Druery and Dr F W StansT . 
two foremost authorities on the variations of the British ferns. 

For a period of about 50 years fern varieties became some of the most important gardeji 
plants and the demand for them was reflected in the growth of the man ^T rde n 
nurseries scattered throughout the country. The foremost were Stansfield of l0 ° s 

and Sale in the north of England, Birkenhead of Sale and May of London. Their ca ^ 
assuming book proportions, remain treasured possessions in the nandS o ° f f *° nSj fully 

t several pounds. 

i in those days. Other well-known nurseries v 

2.2(1991) 77 

in the Lake District, Perry of Enfield in Middlesex. Sim of Foots Cray m Kent and Taylor 
of Bracknell in Berkshire Alas! they have all gone and now we are left with only one 
really comprehensive fern variety specialist nursery in the whole country, that of Reginald 
Kaye of Silverdale in Lancashire. It is pleasing to add that, with the revival of interest 
in fern growing, other nurseries are again specialising in ferns, chiefly Fibrex Nurseries 
of Pebworth in Worcestershire and Mrs J K Marston of Nafferton in East Yorkshire 
There is even one in America, Fancy Fronds, in Seattle, Washington State, founded 
by Judith I Jones, an enthusiastic grower of our British fern varieties 
The craze for collecting ferns in Victorian times led to the dis; 

f the country c 

Even normal 

species plants were collected and sold in the markets and from street barrows in our 
large towns by the "spivs" of the day who invaded ferny areas and dug up every fern 
they found The beautiful Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis). in particular, suffered greatly 
and has now disappeared completely, or become very rare, in many of its old haunts 
where at one time it was common The Killarney Fern (Tnchomanes speciosum) is another 
example which, because of publicity giving exact locations of its habitats, has vanished 
from practically all of them Today, there are only about five or six known colonies of 
this very beautiful fern in our country, and those of us who know where they are keep 
silent or mention localities only in the very vaguest of terms Of course, the more common 
species in their favourable habitats are as indestructible as the weeds in our gardens, 
ard their removal by the fern-vendors only left room for otheis to grow and replace 
them This is particularly applicable to the Soft Shield Fern in its chief centre in the 
West Country where it is cut back ruthlessly in the lanes by the hedge-cutters every 
year and dug up to clear the ditches, but this has in no way reduced the abundance 
of the in that part of the country In other areas the Lady Fern is equally abundant 
and resistant to the onslaughts made on it to keep it in its place, and this also applies 
to most of the larger-growing members of the Dryopteris genus in certain areas The 
dominant ground cover in many Forestry Commission fully-grown and more open forest 
is composed of vigorous Lady Ferns and various Male Ferns, and when the trees are 
eventually cut down and dragged from the sites the fern population is virtually destroyed, 
but such is the resilience of these plants that in a year or two. with tree competition 
removed, they are more profuse on the ground than before 

However, this does not mean that we can go into the ferny districts and dig up the 
plants with impunity. Nowadays we are conservation-minded. 

plants from the countryside are ! 

I well enforced, and are likely t 

) in the future. While the removal of the odd common Tern cannoi uysei 
the survival chances of the species, there are many ferns in Britain which are far from 
common and the removal of even one plant from a colony of such ferns can have a 
detrimental effect on the strength of the colony to survive I cannot stress th.s strongly 
enough Besides, very few of our rare are decorative garden plants, and the 
fact that they have a struggle to continue in the w.ld demonstrates convincingly 
that only the very skilled and knowledgeable plantsman .s likely to have any success 
with them in cultivation. Leave such plants well alone - you will be most unlikley to 
keep them alive and are only helping to hasten the day when they will become ex 
If you really think you can succeed with some of our rarest and most difficult t ferns, 
grow them from spores. Provided the plants in a w.ld colony are flourishing anc I healthy 
with full complements of fertile fronds, the remc 
spores will do no harm and will be more than enough to provide you < 
friends as many plants as you can find room for. BUT, ft is ^b.ddenj 
even this small part of our rarest ferns, and I have to insist "- 

. situation is very different. 

tiny pinnule containing ripe 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 

e what botanists call "monstrosities", although not in the same rather contemptible 

lat you and I would use the word! Very rarely, where a certain variety is found 

wild, will there be more than one plant, and for this reason there are conservationists, 

muddled in their thinking, who insist that such plants should not be touched 

ft where they are. Variant forms are mutations and as such, speaking generally, 

saker in constitution than normal forms and less likely to survive in competition 

hem. Also, as genetic mutants, they may not only have changed their form but 

leir sensitivity to their surroundings. In favourable circumstances in the wild they 

urvive - and even flourish - for a time, but inevitably in the end, by one means 

ither, they will be destroyed. I can instance many examples known to me of the 

f good varieties which were not collected - a wall or hedge has been removed, 

has been churned up by tractors or animals, a rock face has been blasted, a 

3S swept the area or a quarry has been filled in, - and a beautiful fern variety 

3en lost for ever. Even if such catastrophies pass them by, they will eventually, 

end, be choked out by the more vigorous growth of their own kind or by other 

they have no brethern near by - or anywhere else - to 

i ensure their survival. It is noticeable that the spores of wild varieties, 

i, rarely seem to achieve any success in the wild. The rare species, 

i unlikely to exist as just 

and grow on in suitable places t 

e others to continue the fight for survival, unless the habitat is 
t species, a circumstance to which, I think, insufficient 
*se its eventual disappearance is a foregone conclusion. 
get them out of the wild as quickly 
, „, „ie garden where they can grow and 
_...J of struggle. There they can be propagated, 
. vegetative d.v.sion, to become not just one vulnerable plant in 
precarious conditions, but a large number spread around in many gardens with a secure 
future. This is how the fern treasures in our gardens have been obtained and although 
it may be unnecessary to go out into the countryside for our ferns nowadays since 
there are enough in cultivation to supply all our propagation needs, nevertheless ; tn 
occasional excellent variety may be found by the diligent searcher - and it could d^ 
a new unique variety - and it should be conserved in the only way which can conserv 
"t - get it into a garden quickly. 

I shall conclude with the names of a few of our best-known unique fern varieties, s ■ 
existing, which originated in the wild as single plants and have never been found 
second time. Athyrium filix-femina 'Clarissima Jones' was found in 1868 in North Devo , 
A.f-f. Trizelliae" in 1857 in Co. Wicklow, A.f-f. V.ctoriae' in 1861 in St»rlingsmr. 
Gymnocarpium dryopteris 'Plumosum' about 1910 in the Lake District, Po/ ^ ,C ' 
setiferum 'Plumosum Bevis' in 1876 in Dorset and Osmunda regahs 'Cristata 
purchased by a London nursery from a street vendor as a dormant crown some 
in the 1860s/70s. (It was later spotted growing in the nursery by G B Wollas ton w 
made an offer of £25 for it but was refused!). Not only these plants themse ; eS were 
their progeny have contributed greatly to the enrichment of our gardens, in V ^ 
unique finds, and it ,s poss.ble that other equally un.que fern varieties still ex^ 
i wild awaiting discovery, hidden away from seeing eyes in some quiet seclu( 7 coun try 
— - variety hunting in the ferny parts of tn 






Organic Based Fertilisers 

FertiHsers Ltd. PO Bo« 27. Slonefer ? HUOHUl 800. 
Telephone: (0482) 20458. Fax: (0482) 212825. 

80 Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 


Collectors Corner - Nature Printed Plates of a different kind 
I am sure that there are many of us whose interests in ferns spread ever widely away 
from the plants themselves. This can lead to a passion for collecting 'ferny' bits and 
pieces with almost as much enthusiasm as was given to the botany or horticulture 
that attracted us to ferns in the first place. 

The Victorian craze for ferns gives great scope for collectors for it was clearly reflected 
in the range of china, glass and cutlery that was decorated with their and our favourite 
plants. Most of the ferns portrayed on china were either transfers or individual paintings, 
but at least one firm sold nature printed' plates. H. Adams and Company of Longton 
in 1870 used living fern fronds to impress the moulds from which the plates were 
made. The ferns are therefore elevated with their veins and son clearly visible in relief, 
making the species themselves very easily identified. There were at least eight different 
plates and they were made in cream or pale blue china with the ferns over-painted 
in very bright colours. They are the most striking and indeed attractive pieces of 'ferny' 
Victonana I have ever seen Beware, for if you see them you will almost certainly want 



FLORA OF THE EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE by Eva Crackles. Pp. xfc 277, 
465 maps, 4 overlays. 1990. Hull University/Humberside County Council. Price 

We are in the age of recording and there is a great desire now to see what changes 
the havocs of man are reeking on our countryside and flora. Some surveys are short, 
and give quick guides to the state of the local flora. Others are more substantial, often 
stimulated initially by the BSBI Maps Distribution Scheme, and painstakingly pursued 
over many years. The book under rev.ew is one such project, culminating in forty years 
of intensive study by the senior botanist for many years of the East Riding, Eva Crackles. 
The Flora follows the familiar pattern of local floras with the earlier part of 59 pages 
being an introduction to the area - its soils, geology, habitats, former botanists (a part 
I always find fascinating) and conservation. In the account of the flora detailed " oca ^ 
are given with dates and observer or reference. This book has been well edited 
the press but I am glad to see Eva Crackles acute field observations being W ote ° 
full. She often has gems to offer about the niche and behaviour of plants that others 
do not see. Furthermore she is just as keen on ferns as the flowering plants. 
The author has thrown out a number of challenges to re-find extinct I doubt 
I reason for the disappearance of Lycopodiella inundata, for instance, is dim . 

S DrVnntonc ~lm*»* oj ,, .•__ i .i.»„ n «hnr? D aff MIS tS V>> 1 

, Polypodium 
jeed been a 

has Dryopteris cnstata or Phegoptens really disappeared altogether? D. 

given as the aggregate which is excusable, but it is not excusable to mat 

vulgare only in the wide sense. The problem with a project that has in 

life's work is that the time scale becomes blurred. For Eva Crackles the 

of hlulana at Common in 1 964 is recent enough but that is over -to v ^ 

ago. The plant was known to be there in 1987, and I am sure still is, but t 

of 1990 does not tell me that. There ,s, therefore, much work yet to be done • ■» 

East Riding as far as ferns are concerned, and the BPS could help. For those that con 

county Floras, this is certainly a nice one to have 


Fern corbels in church 

depicted is generally recognisable, it is often despite the most detailed carving, either 
not certainly identifiable or apparently fictitious. Yet among the wealth of foliage decorating 
churches everywhere fern fronds are exceedingly rare. I never remember to have seen 
them except in the church which is the subject of this note. And these, I am sorry 

St Michael's Church at Farway, in east Devon, though Norman is origin, was altered 
in the 1 4th, 1 5th, 1 7th and 1 9th centuries. During the Victorian restoration in the 1 870s 
by Sir Edmund Prideaux two stone corbels were added at the base of an arch on either 
side of the north aisle. The corbel on the north side of the arch shows a frond of a 
Harts-tongue Fern (Figure 1), and that on the south side comes closest to representing 
a frond of Dryopteris filix-mas or the D. affinis aggregate (Figure 2). 

In view of the distinctive features of fern fronds it is surprising that mediaeval sculptors 
were so averse to depicting them, especially as ferns must then have been a far more 
abundant feature of the natural vegetation than they are today. 



Cards and Posters 

In our Centenary Year there will inevitably be a lot of material produced to promote 

ferns. Most new books published get reviewed in this Journal but cards and posters 

tend to be overlooked. 

Two or three years ago the Society started selling fern greeting cards, postcards and 

notelets. These are reprints of some of the famous Henry Bradbury Nature Prints and 

feature Polystichum lonchitis, Athyhum flexile, Thelypteris palustris and Polypodium 

australe 'Cambricum'; all are of the greatest scientific accuracy. These have been well 

advertised on inclusions in our recent journals. 

This year the National M 

Pteridium aquilinum, Athyhum filix-femina and 
<~yswptens tragilis. 

I am only aware of one fern poster, prepared by Dale Evans for the National Museum 
of Wales. It is entitled Woodland Ferns and carries paintings of complete plants of 14 
different species, including the four extracted for use on the above notelets Small detail 
of a further 5 species has been added, along with distribution maps for Europe. 
Aesthetically, it is a very pleasing item and, technically, it is clear. There are some 
omissions, eg. Dryopteris aemula and Dryopteris carthusiana, nevertheless, this poster 
will double as both attractive and informative. It is available from the National Museum 
of Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff or through BPS Booksales at £2.60 each, including post 
and packing. 



As the British Pteridological Society approaches its centenary i 
fern organization is emerging in the United States. At the s 
Botanical Garden's Curator of Ferns, Dr. John Mickel, a group of Pacific Northwest 
horticulturalists has incorporated the non-profit Hardy Fern Foundation in the State of 
Washington. Their goal is to establish a comprehensive collection of the world's hardy 
ferns for display, testing, evaluation, public education and introduction to the gardening 
and horticultural communities. Ferns from nurseries and private sources as well as spore- 
grown rare specimens will be tested in selected environments for their different degrees 
of hardiness and ornamental garden value. 

The Foundation's board of directors has arranged to have the primary research garden 
at, and in conjunction with, the Rhododendron Species Foundation Garden at the 
Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headquarters in Federal Way, Washington. This 25 acres facility 
is divided into scientifically arranged study gardens shaded by a canopy of native conifers 
- a most inviting setting for an understory of ferns. In addition there is a pond area 
for moisture loving species and a rock garden to accommodate Cheilanthes and those 
of the ferns with a xeric preference. The climate is rather similar to Britain's and it 
is expected that upwards of 1,000 different temperate ferns should adapt to this 

The planting is to be laid out systematically, with deference to habitat requirements, 
so as to show the scientific relationships and differences amongst the species and genera. 
Hybrids will be planted so far as possible with one parent on either side and varieties 
will be grouped to show the genetic diversity of a given species. To date two initial 
work parties in the spring and fall of 1990 planted 333 ferns representing 101 different 
species, varieties and hybrids. Almost all of this material was donated by local growers 
and foundation members. 

In addition to the reference garden at the Rhododendron Species Foundation, the Hardy 
Fern Foundation has installed a display garden at Lakewold, the Tacoma estate an 
public garden of Mrs. Corydon Wagner. It is the intention of this planting to demonstrate 
how a diversity of ferns can be used in the landscape. 42 species and varieties were 
set in a sylvan entryway garden and supplement an extensive fern collection a Irea V 
established on the property. A small handout identifies the ferns which are divided i 
a native and exotic section respectively. 

Future plans call for expanded testing and displays at satellite garden locations . T ° f ^ 
(Nov. 1 990) the Board has received applications from seven potential sites ranging 
the climatically severe (Michigan) to the benign (Florida). While the south can na^y 
be used to test cold tolerance, observations can certainly be made on the effec s ; ^ 
rigors of heat. It has also been suggested that a warm climate be included n 
to investigate which of the deciduous ferns can survive without a period < 

f dormancy. 

I for accumuU 

Jlities. Periodic newsletters will keep the membership informed of both the o j^ 
I subjective observations on the plantings. Our belief is that it is one thing o ^ 
t a plant will survive under snow at 15 degrees F, and quite another to kno 
>oks like after the storm. 

i encouraging a 

I membership drive of spring 1990 brought 

positive response. Membership represents 32 j 

and offers of assistance have been received from as f 

and the former East Germany. 

Furthermore, i 

In addition to progress reports members will have access to spore through a co-operative 
arrangement with the American Fern Society's spore exchange and, as material becomes 
available will have an opportunity to buy plants as well. 

There are test gardens throughout the world devoted to roses, annuals, bulbs etc The 
Hardy Fern Foundation's living collections should provide an equal exposure for the 
promotion of ferns. The Organization has received a grant from the Northwest Horticultural 
Society and has the support of the American Fern Society, but is primarily dependent 
upon donations and memberships for its funds Membership classifications range from 
US. $20 for an active individual membership to $1 ,000 for patrons Studert memberships 
are available at $10. Memberships and inquiries should be sent to the Hardy Fern 
Foundation, P.O. Box 60034. Richmond Beach. Washington 98160-0034 USA AND 
3 BPS festivities in 1991 We look forward to meeting 


JWDYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

Ferns! What a strange interest! Over the past 55 years how often I have 

Up to the age of 29 I knew nothing about ferns, although I still remember 
a-; a boy during the first world war while my Father was in the army, \ 
my Mother along the side of a wood where a magnifice 
the Scaly Male-fern, was growing, a pe 
high. I admired it so much that I went bac 
it into a pot. How long it lived in that con 


upted my journey 1 

i keen gardener with 

nium scolopendriun 

find him some up in the north 

I looked forward eagerly to my annual leave when I couia not gei o< 
to my family home in Strathspey in the north of the country. On 
spend a day or 

Asplenium scolopendrium, in a special corn* 

up in my part of Scotland. Arriving I 

i professional gardener. 

f Scotland tl 

3 Harts-tongue Fern was completely 
F Ferns, published by the Botanical 
Society of the British Isles and the British Pteridological Society in 1978. it will be seen 
that there are, or were, only two post-1930 records for the area Several years later. 
in the post-war period, I found this fern growing very rarely in the country just west 
of Inverness. The fern I was confusing with the Hart's-tongue was the Hard Fern, biecnnum 
spicant - so much for my knowledge of ferns! 

BUT, an interest was kindled, and on my frequent walks in the surrounding 
with my Father, who not only knew his garden plants well but the local flora as we , 
he fanned the flames by pointing out and naming the many local ferns to me_ iwo 
still remain fresh in my memory, the Oak Fern. Gymnocarpium dryoptens a" H th < 
Fern, Phegopteris connectilis. The beauty of t 
with open eyes, completed my conversion to 
was reinforced a few days later by seeing a tiny Oak Fern frond growing out ot a nair- 
crack in the cement of a gran.te wall. I got my first lesson on spores from my Fatner. 

, seen for the first ti 
absorbing interest and t 

I could hardly wait to learn more abo 

I did on my return to London \ 

asking them to recommend a book on ferns. The Editor, A J MacSelf, 

fern-man whom I got to know well in the post-war 

Ferns and their Varieties by C T Druery, and on my 30th birthday I was presented with 

a copy. It became a "bible" and was quickly absorbed from beginning to end. 

Then, another piece of good fortune helped me on my way. A friend had recently got 

that her Uncle Joe was a fern-man and active in a society dealing with these plants. 
There was nothing for it - I had to be taken to visit Uncle Joe who lived at Great Bookham 
in Surrey. He turned out to be J J Sheldon, the Treasurer of the British Pteridological 
Society and a very active grower and breeder of ferrrs. I paid him my ten shillings (fifty 
pence) on the spot and became a proud member of our Society. 

In those days I only had two weeks' annual leave from my work and always spent 
them at my parents' home in Scotland, so it was not till 1939 that I managed to attend 
the Society's Annual Excursion, held that year at Chard in Somerset. This introduced 
me to the fern riches of the West Country and awakened a love for this part of the 
country and its ferns which has continued strong and undimmed to the present day. 
During that meeting the then Secretary, Percy Greenfield, took me under his wing and 
he remained my beloved mentor until his death in 1970 at the ripe old age of 90 - 
I still have four more years to go to catch up with him! 

That Meeting saw the end of ferns for the next eight years during which a war was 
fought and won. Back in "Civvy Street" in 1946 my thoughts returned to ferns and 
I eagerly waited to hear that the British Pteridological Society was coming to life again. 
I waited in vain, and at last I wrote to Greenfield who straight away came up to see 
me in London. It transpired that most of the Committee members, none of them young 
men, had died during the war years and the feeling among the remaining officers was 
that the Society should be allowed to fade away and die a natural death. This did not 
suit me at all - I had only recently, cutting out the war years, become infected with 
the fern craze, I still knew very little about ferns, and only through this Society was 
I likely to learn more. I prevailed on Greenfield to call a meeting of the remaining Committee 

i one, having been elected as Auditor i 

1939 r 

Six of us met, in September 1947, W B Cranfield, President, P Greenfield, Secretary, 
A H G Alston, Ed.tor of the British Fern Gazette, the Rev E A Elliot, Professor F E Weiss 
and myself. The general feeling was one of apathy, but I took a stand against it, Greentiei 
rallied to my side and we won the day. For my pains I was g.ven the job of Treasurer 
which incorporated that of Membership Secretary, with a commission to gather toget 
the straying membership which had been on the loose since 1939. Before the end o 
the following year, 1948, I had shepherded back into the fold 100 fully paid-up mem ° er 
and the British Pteridological Society was actively back in business again after evadi 
an early death! 

I have had my wish - I now know a little more about ferns! I often wonder what wod 
have happened if my Edinburgh friend had not asked me to get him some Hart s-t° n » 
Ferns! MY life would have been very much more empty but, no doubt, in time, someo 
else would have revived the British Pteridological Society. 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 


In the 1986 Pteridologist, while listing all the commercially produced New Zealand fern 
albums I had been able to trace, I made a request for any additional information on 
the subject (Rickard). This provoked such a good response that I am now able to significantly 
supplement the original article. For additional information I would particularly like to 
thank Dr Patrick Brownsey of the National Museum of New Zealand. Wellington, Miss 
Jeanne Goulding, formerly of the Auckland Institute and Museum, Bolton Metropolitan 
Borough, Department of Education and Arts; Bridget Graham, J W Dyce, Miss Ruby 
G B Laidlaw and our Hon.Sec. Matt Busby. I am also grateful to the Natural History 
Museum London for finding several useful additional items 

All too frequently the dates of these items are not known, however, it seems reasonable 
to assume that most were produced in the period 1 880 to 1 900 
Additional specimen books etc. - commercially produced 

(Anon.) New-Zealand Ferns. Beautifully bound in leather with title blocked in gold 25 
. 27x 14cm 

Craig, E. New Zealand Ferns. 25 i 

labels In a wooden box with a splashwork fern design on 


Craig, E. New Zealand Ferns and Fern Allies. Two sets each c 

The cards mounted on a folded sheet of paper such that when f 

sets, i.e. there are 48 different specimens 

Craig, E. New Zealand Ferns and Fern Allies. Folio album with mottled kauri wooden 

An issue in Bolton Museum has 60 sheets with 1 18 specimens. 30 x 45 cm 
Another issue in Auckland Museum with 1 52 specimens, 32 x 45 x 1 cm (Goulding) 
Another issue in the Natural History Museum, London. 
The wooden covers for these books were made for Craig by Wilson and Horton (Goulding) 
(? Craig, E.) New Zealand Ferns. Neatly bound in red cloth blocked in black 20 sheets. 
Printed labels identical to those ? exclusively used by Craig 27 x 32 cm 
Cranwell. T. (New Zealand Ferns) prepared and mounted by T Cranwell. Folio, 34 x 
48 cm with wooden marquetry covers. Another copy as on the 1986 list except this 
one has fewer sheets (c.60), the central design on the cover is a display of two ferns 
(not one) and this copy comes in its own carved wooden case The inlaid covers for 
these books were almost certainly made by Anton Seifert, a well known furniture maker 
resident in New Zealand in the late 1 9th century (Brownsey, pers.comm ) 
Cranwell, T. Ferns were also mounted on cardboard in sets of 24 sheets (Goulding). 
(? Cranwell, T.) (New Zealand Ferns). A quarto edition with the above type of marquetry 
cover is in the Auckland Institute and Museum, without preparer's label 23 x 29 cm 

(? Reid, W.) New Zealand Ferns. A quarto volume bound in brown cloth with the title 
blocked in gold on the cove 

m the 1986 list. This book \ 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 

d mounted ferns (Brownsey, 

Tait, James. Collect/on of West Coast Ferns, Lycopods and Mosses in Natural Colours 
(mounted). Hokitika. Printed title page plus 20 sheets of ferns. Fern names in manuscript 
Most sheets arranged with lower margin dressed with mosses and lichens. 
Wayte, Edward. Ferns mounted on boards or in books with carved mottled kauri covers 
100, Queen Street, Auckland (Goulding). I have seen a large collection of loose, but 
well presented, quarto boards prepared by Wayte. Each specimen was protected by a 
fly sheet. 

Wildman, W. Addendum to the details published in the 1986 list. Miss Goulding 
(pers.comm.) has suggested a link with stationers Wildman and Airey at Auckland around 

There are probably large numbers of 

seen otherwise unlabelled examples v 

Clark, Sir Mayfield. 

Heape, Richard. 1876. 

Leider, Louis - folio volume with mam 

Tangy, Sir Richard. 

Tmsley, William. 1891. Quarto brov 

iuarto, brown cloth album blocked in gold i 
i by Craig. 

> many totally anonymous volumes. 

..mi aaaumeu mat tnese were always "one offs" and privately compiled by amateurs 
but am not now so sure since W C Wells is on record as having shown at least four 
albums in exhibitions (see below). 

Other names associated with New Zealand ferns around the turn of the century were 

(Brownsey, pers.comm.) 

Atkin, William. 1872. High Street, Auckland. 

Burrett, R. Wellington. 

Austin, Frederick. Fern collector. 

Dall, James. Fern collector. Pittosporum dallii was named after him 

Harrison, Thomas. Fern collector. 

Le.ghton, J F. Bookbinder and stationer, Shortland Street, Auckland. 

There may be books in ex.stence compiled by some, or all, of these people. I have never 

seen any but the names are worth looking out for. 

Exhibitions of Dried Ferns 

Several albums, or collections of pressed New Zealand Ferns, were exhibited during 

tne later part of the 1 9th century (Goulding). 

In Dunedin in 1 865 the Governor General, Sir George Grey, exhibited a collection compiled 

by the Misses Sinclair of Auckland. Ferns mounted by St Johns College, Auckland were 

exhibited by Rev. Blackburn 

nui and T C Tims of Te 

In Melbourne in 1888 W C Wells and J Marshall of Hokitika each showed two albums. 

while E Maxwell of Opunake exhibited a large collection of dried ferns 

In Dunedin in 1889-90 W C Wells of Hokitika again showed albums, this time entitled 

Fancy Books of Specimen Ferns, while C Hicks of Greymouth, Miss L Mams and Miss 

N Falla of Westport and G M Thomson of Dunedin all displayed dried ferns In addition 

Miss M Barclay showed "Plush curtains, plush cushions and New Zealand ferns" 1 

The only examples of work by any of these exhibitors that I have seen are by W C 

Wells, and it may be that this album (entirely handwritten) was one of (hose originally 

exhibited at Melbourne or Dunedin, and G M Thomson author of the 1882 book Ferns 

and Fern Allies of New Zealand. 

Printed Books on New Zealand Ferns - additional to the 1 986 list 

Details of Craig and Dobbie volumes from Goulding, 1 977 

Brownsey, P J and Galloway, T N H. 1987. A Key to the Genera of New Zealand Ferns 

and Allied Plants. Wellington. 31pp. 
Brownsey, P J and Smith-Dodsworth, J C. 1989. New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants 

Auckland.viii, 168pp. 
Craig, E c.1888. New Zealand Ferns, 167 varieties. 104pp. 
Craig, E c 1 890. Catalogue of Ferns and Lycopodiums in the Herbarium of Eric Craig. 

Princes Street, Auckland Birmingham, 31 pp (Not exclusively New Zealand ferns) 
Craig, E c.1892. New Zealand Ferns, 172 varieties. Second edition 100pp. 
Dobbie, Herbert B. 1880. 145 Varieties of New Zealand Ferns, illustrated. Either in 2 

parts, pp.1 -48 and 49-104, or 1 part pp.1 -104. 
Firth, S, Firth, M, Firth, E and Morrison, R 1986. Ferns of New Zealand. Auckland 80pp 
Craig's two New Zealand books were little more than re-issues of Dobbie's work None 
of these three books had any text but consisted of a collection of fern prints in white 

right blue backgn 

These "Blue books" are very rare today and I know of no copies in the United Kingdom 
-> the Ferns of New Zealand given as: Anon c .1 861 , 

I now know to have been written by Mrs S Jones in 1 860 (Brownsey, 

GOULDING, J H 1977. Early publications and exh.b.ts of New Zealand ferns ana me wo.* w «~ 

Craig. Rec. Auckland Inst Mus. 14:63-79. 
RICKARD, M H 1986. New Zealand fern specimen books. Pteridologist 1,3 120-125 


NICK SCHRODER, 2 The Dell, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 1JG 
In this, our centenary year, we focus rather more than usual on the activities of the 
Victorian fern collectors and are fortunate in having an excellent supply of literature 
at our disposal with to study them. When reading the old fern books part, u lar y 
Lowes "Our Native Ferns", apart from the minute detail of the varieties l" 6 ™™* 
one gains an insight into the activities of the people involved. T^™™^ °^ ^^ ^ 
pteridologists referred to when Lowe put quill pen to paper i 
wonder why we didn' 
collections evidently n 

I form, b) Plumose frond 

nged and whole collections were lost to cultivation, we should be especially 

the need to seek out and conserve what we can. 
Returning to Lowe yields some clues as to which Victorian collectors may be worth 
tracing. Several of those mentioned are referred to again and again, and one can even 

geographic "hunting ground", and success at raising new varieties from spores 
One such collector whose name appears frequently is "Mr Clapham of Ramsdale Bank, 
Scarborough". Here is a clear enthusiast with many finds to his credit, and being 
responsible for the several varieties bearing the name Claphamii. In Athynum varieties 
alone, Lowe describes 18 varieties as Clapham's finds, a further 4 raised by him, and 
8 where he is acknowledged as the grower of a scarce variety. 

And so it was that, finding myself in Scarborough last autumn, I decided to attempt 
to trace the garden where such treasures as Athynum filix-femma Acrocladon' were 
known to have grown in the mid 1850s and the 1860s. I will recount my experiences 
for the benefit of any like-minded pteridological historians. I started with the Postal Sorting 
Office which yielded no knowledge of "Ramsdale Bank" either as a house name, street 
name, or district - "And I've been here years, mate!". 

Inspection of the local street maps providing no further clues, led me to the reference 
section of the local library to search the W H Smith Street Directories The 1915 edition 
showed a house, Ramsdale Bank, situated at No 5, Belmont Terrace There could, of 
course, have been other houses bearing this name fifty years earlier, but at least this 
street was in a part of the town which existed from pre-1 850 and was also little-changed 
to the present day. The 1850 Ordnance Survey map yielded both Belmont Terrace and 
a single residence - Ramsdale Villa. 

I was then thrown off the scent by the 1851 census, which was available on microfilm 
in the library and which showed no trace of a Clapham in the vicinity However, the 
following census, 1861, did list one Abraham Clapham, retired wine merchant, living 
at 6 Belmont Terrace with his wife Mary and daughters Marian and Jessie This left 
some confusion as to the precise location of the Clapham residence - further research 
showed the street to have been extended to form Belmont Road and renumbered, and 
Ramsdale Villa split, or rebuilt, with Ramsdale Bank standing on a plot precisely adjacent 
to it. Moreover, the latter plot was clearly shown on a later map as a substantial house 
with a conservatory and a large garden on a north facing slope. 

Armed with my maps I set off to Belmont Road where I found the site now to be occupied 
by the Cumberland Hotel. The original Ramsdale Bank exists as the easternmost part 
of the hotel frontage which has been extended to fill part of the former garden With 
the permission of the proprietor a search of the garden followed. Whilst the paths were 
still laid out as shown in the Victorian maps, I could find but three varieties - all lady 

One was an incisum another bore the marks of an early plumosum similar to Lowe s 
illustration of A.f.f. 'Monkmanii', and the third attempts rather unsuccessfully to combine 
several characters and is obviously a descendant from one of the treasures whic once 
grew in that garden. Spores collected from the latter two may in due course provide 
further evidence of the fern wealth of our forbears. On the other hand, I suspect n 
will be more rewarding to follow a fresh trail... 

My thanks are due to Miss Bishop and Mrs Monteith of the Cumberland Hotel and 
to Bryan Berryman at Scarborough Reference Library. 


PETER TEMPLE, Wingfieid, 2 Deneside, East Dean, East Sussex 
The last issue for 1989 of the Pteridologist contained an article by A R Busby under 
the title "Ferns with other Plants". This contribution provides much guidance and interest 
to us gardeners who, besides growing plants which can delight us, fight those which 
do not throughout the year; yes. ..weeds. However, there is a combination of "Ferns 
with other Plants" which are those which introduce themselves without help to another 
section of the garden; this is the greenhouse whether heated or not. 
The average greenhouse is used for a number of different purposes; seed growing, tomato 
growing, pretty flowers to be taken into the house, with generally a row of raised shelving 
on one or both sides. Tucked away but clearly visible is a hotch-potch of objects, flower 
pots, sowing and potting composts, weed killing and fertilizing cartons c 
and maybe a variety of other objects. Even in those i 
structures there is no immunity from the softening effects of the minute intruders - 
fern spores, but rarely, because of the misguided outlook of some greenhouse owners, 
are the resulting sporelings allowed to 'disfigure and disgrace' that mishmash within 
the glazed walls. 

These minute specks of life-to-be which float around us and, indeed, which we breathe 
can and do find their way into more welcome acceptance. I have the good fortune, 
pleasure and excitement of allowing these floating unseen specks to settle and germinate 
where they will in my greenhouse where, for some forty years or so, I have been collecting 
and growing members of the Pineapple family, the Bromeliacae together with members 
of the Cactacae, the Rhipsalis. I cannot think of any plant more naturally suited to 
companionate Bromeliads and Rhipsalis than ferns of every species dependent only on 
the growing temperatures of a greenhouse such as I have and, particularly so, since 
I endeavour to provide an environment which gives a happy home to all three families 
where they can grow epiphytically, in the greenhouse soil and in the flower pots, living 
as near to their natural lifestyle which means taking the rough with the smooth. 
It is very rewarding and surprising to see what results, and which find a happy home 
with the other genera. In addition to the wanderers, I have methodically blown fern 
spores received from the spore offers of the Society around the greenhuse so that natural 
growth results, sometimes in numbers and sometimes singly - and sometines not at 

My greenhouse presents a 'homely' greeting to the visitor - if she or he is able to 
get in - entirely due in my opinion to the association of my ferns growing among the 
bromeliads and rhipsalis. I do not have any staging. However I must say that occasionally 
I have to cull some ferns which seek to take over, but without them the greenhouse 
would not be so intimate if there were no ferns to soften the picture. 
The ferns are not troubled by snails or slugs, but woodlice, which are a plague in this 
area, do cause some nuisance at times since they are very partial to bromeliad an 
rhipsalis flowers and seedpods. I have to weigh up carefully my method of control wit 
liquid Derris and Malathion and dusting the junctions of floor and walls with GafT) ™ a 
BHC dust. Derris does not appear to disfigure the ferns but Malathion can and often 
cuts them down, but in most cases, sometimes after a very long interval, they will reappear. 
Literally I have to cut out fern plants from the bromeliads and rhipsalis before tney 
smother but in most cases I replant them haphazardly. 

I would say to those greenhouse owners who want a natural effect in their 9reenhouses 
of which they can be proud and 'at home', let nature do its job for them and perhap 
aid them in concealing their brickabrack which is found in the greenhouse and i 
give a friendly and natural touch. Of course there is a wealth of other combination* 

)ver so many years some of the ferns growing among 

l my greenhouse which have dropped' in or have resulted from the spore offers are - 

Adiantum - a variety of these including the tiny A. raddianum Gracillimum', the 

Five Finger Fern A. hispidulum, A pedatum and A capillus-venens 

Asplenium nidus the Birds Nest Fern', and A. falcatum 

Doryopteris sp. 

Drynaria rigidula the Oak Leaf Fern' 

Cryptogramma crispa the Parsley Fern'. 

Cyclosorus in varying forms differentiated by the separation of the blades Very 

Cyrtomium falcatum Rochfordianum' the Japanese Holly Fern Very prolific 

Cystopteris bulbifera the Bladder Fern' 

Davallia sp. 

Lygodium palmatum the Climbing Fern' - very tender and delicate 

Microlepia speluncae 

Pellaea ovata the 'Button Fern' 

Phyilitis scolopendrium the 'Harts-tongue Fern' - very prolific 
Platycerium bifurcatum the Stags Horn Fern' 
Polypodium diversi folium - very prolific 
Polystichum sp. 
Pteris argyraea. 

ro close I must tell you that in my Living Room I have a light fawn coloured armchair, 
'ery near to a large Japanese Holly Fern (a beautiful specimen), which each season 
s turned to light brown colour by the wealth of spores settling on it - but as yet no 


A R BUSBY, 16 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry 

In recent years there has been a great deal of interest by many members in ^^'"9 

Adiantum monochlamys. Puzzled by this enthusiasm and not knowing the fern, I asked 

a fellow member. Why all the fuss? "Because it's so beautiful "!, came the reply. 

I was anxious to meet this paragon that appears to elude fern growers I thought my 

chance had come a little while later when, visiting a garden I know with a small fern 

border, I was pleased to find a small fern labelled A.monochlamys. however, d< 

turned to disappointment when I found myself staring at Adiantum 

I have got that so why all the fuss? 

Sometime later I had the chance of discussing this with a notable fern ? 

I enquired, "how do you separate A.monochlamys 

"A.monochlamys has only one sorus per pinnule' 

the fuss is about? Surely not. 

At Southport Flower Show, I was asked to check tl 

stand and I was pleased to see that all the ferns 

myself in front of a label proudly proclaiming A.monochlamys 

of Avenustum. I carefully lifted a frond to peek 

it had mostly one sorus per pinnule, was 

H Figs and captions from Hoshizaki, in Baileya 1 970) 

Further enquiries revealed that it had come from a fern nursery 30 years « 

kindly given a fertile frond to press and take home to compare with my own A 

They were virtually identical. Searching through various fern literature, A monochlamys 

was often mentioned but never illustrated, very frustrating However, on page 182 of 

Hoschizaki (1970), there is a small silhouette illustration of A monochlamys and a line 

drawing of two pinnae showing one sorus per pinnule, the entire thing looking nothing 

A.monochlamys is described as having one, rarely two, son per pinnule yet all the material 
I have examined has had commonly two, sometimes three, sori per pinnule. 
Determined to persist with my searches, I enquired of yet another colleague if he had 
A.monochlamys and, if so, would he send me a fertile frond This he did and at first. 
I was sure that I had received A.monochlamys but, by carefully comparing it with both 
Avenustum fronds and the descriptive material in Hoshizaki, I found no clear indication 
that I had indeed received material of A.monochlamys. At the time of writing, I am 

still looking for this elusive fern so if any member can 
will the real A.monochlamys please unfurl 
Throughout this note I have changed events slightly i 

tile material. 


How to use a hand lens 

Using a hand lens is mud 

away from the door you cai 

all will be revealed. So it is with a hand lens - try to use it as a magnifying glass 

and you will see nothing but put the hand lens close up to the eye and you will see 

everything in close-up. 


Hold the hand lens between thumb and forefinger and rest forefinger on eyebrow and 

thumb on cheekbone: this holds the lens steady against the eye. 

With the other hand hold the object to be viewed with the thumb and forefinger. 

With a 10x hand lens the working distance, .e. the distance between lens ano i ODjeci. 
is about 20mm ( 3 / 4 mch). The object can be brought into clear focus by carefully adjusting 
the working distance. Lenses with higher magnification have shorter working distances, 
eg. a 20x lens will have a working distance of about 8 mm (Via mch > 
To practice, try examining the cuticle of the thumb nail that would be holding the object 



and distributed by Pat Hill-Cottingham and Alan Morton, Blackthorn Cottage, 
Chawridge Lane, Winkfield, Windsor SL4 4QR. Disc, 5%" 360k for IBM- 
compatible MS-DOS PC. Price approximately £10. 

This is a computerised multi-access key. The program contains a main key covering 
British fern species and six sub-keys each covering a small, difficult group of taxa. The 
user selects a key and is presented with a list of diagnostic characters from which 
one is chosen. A list of corresponding character states is displayed, from which one 
must be selected. Following this, a reduced list of possible taxa is shown and the diagnostic 
characters offered again. The process is repeated until only one possible taxon remains. 
Instructions, a glossary of terms, a list of characters and the results of a diagnosis can 
be printed from within the program. A printed set of instructions and a sheet of diagrams 
to illustrate the glossary are included. 

The program is intended for use by Country Trusts, Reserve Managers, Field Course 
Tutors and anyone interested in identifying ferns. 

The program is easy to use following the clear instructions. The program takes the user 
step-by-step through the process by means of self-explanatory screen menus and prompts. 
There is no facility within the program to enable changes or extensions to the taxa 
or characters, but examination of the structure of the files on the disc reveals that this 
would be simple to accomplish. 

There are a number of errors and confusing points such as the sub-key called 'Polystichum 
spp. (Shield-Ferns)' only containing two of the three native species of Polystichum and 
the inclusion of a number of characters in the 'Dryopteris affinis' sub-key which are 
not linked to the taxa concerned and hence have no effect on the diagnosis when invoked. 
The main key generally produced a correct diagnosis when tested but the sub-keys proved 
regularly reaching an incorrect conclusion. This is due to the 
> offered are significantly overlapping in many cases, being based 
on a description rather than a diagnosis. 

There is very little available in the way of computer aids to identification and attempts 
like this should be welcomed and encouraged. However, the implementation here is 
in danger of falling between two stools, in that results from the reasonably accurate 
main-key could be achieved without the trouble of a computer, and the potentially much 
more useful specialised sub-keys are too inaccurate and simplistic. Problem areas like 
those covered in the sub-keys need a more sophisticated approach, such as comparison 
methods using Bayesian probabilities, to be really useful and thus warrant the 
inconvenience of using a computer rather than a paper key. 


GUIDE DES FOUGERES ET PLANTES ALLIEES by Remy Prelli, second (revised) 

edition,; figs. 76. 14x20 cm. Text in French. Editions Lechevaher, Pan 

1 990. Price 220 FF. 

After a period of many years with no book on French ferns in print, 

of the first edition of this book in 1985 was extremely welcome. The a r . 

of a more comprehensive volume will surely further boost interest in the marve 

This book differs from the first edition in many ways. The introductory chapters hai 
been slightly condensed, while the systematic section has been expanded by abou 

Ptendologist 2, 2(1991) 95 

pages. This extra space has allowed a clearer format for generic and specific headings 
to be adopted, making the book easier to use Full dichotomous keys are given down 
to specific level. All hybrids are listed and most are described (except, curiously. 
Asplenium). There have be 
being reinstated in favour 
for C. pteridioides, while I regret that, perhaps inevitably, C. dickieana has been retained 
The black and white photographs have almost all been replaced by excellent line drawings, 
these are often a vast improvement, especially in Cystoptens, Asplenium and Dryoptens 
Descriptions down to subspecies level are particularly good, eg in the Asplenium 
trichomanes and Dryopteris affinis complexes. In the latter case there is an excellent 
diagram showing the inter-relationships between the species and hybrids Finally, the 
bibliography has been completely updated, but on the debit side the index is still 
frustratingly difficult to use with entries at generic but not specific level 
I hked the first edition of this book and in this revised form it is greatly improved I 
feel it can be recommended to botanists with an interest in French or European 
ptendophytes. Unfortunately, however, the price (about £23) will be too high for many 


FERNS AND FERN ALLIES OF CANADA by William J. Cody and Donald M. 
Britton. 430 pp. The Canadian Government Publishing Centre. Supply and 
Services Canada. Ottawa, Canada KIA 059 ISBN 0-660-13102-1 Price $38.50 
Also published in French under the title: Les fougeres et les plantes alliees 

On holiday in Canada I was delighted to c 

of Canada are much more diverse than t 

species have a slightly alien look, so it was 

and explanation. 

The book has a familiar appearance, for one is strongly reminded of Chris Page's book. 

The Ferns of Britain and Ireland. Both books are exactly the same dimensions and in 

soft covers. The Canadian book is laid out somewhat differently, the ferns being listed 

systematically rather than alphabetically. The distribution maps are all together at the 

of the plants are often quite life-like. 

The book is very readable, even for the layman, and there is a useful glossary of botanical 

i fern are fascinating and useful, and give many II 

The Remarks' 
ils, for example. 

explaining why the bracken I saw did not look like tne British equivalent c 

I was a little surprised to see Phyllitis still included as a family but re; 

the subject of botanical argument. 

I was very pleased with this book and can recommend it without i 

be of particular interest to anyone visiting Canada and also to fern growers who like 

to grow species from other countries. I am sure that many of the ferns described would 

be welcome visitors to a British garden. 

This book <s now available from: Books Express, P.O. Box 10, Saffron Walden, Essex 

CB11 4EW. 



Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden, Volume 53, 1989. 399 pp., 110 
figs. 180x254 mm. Price $85.50. 

The fern flora of Puerto Rico has been studied, on and off, during most of the twentieth 
century, but this is the first book of the fern flora to be published. It is also the latest 
in the author's series of books on the ferns of the West Indies, following on after Flora 
of the Lesser Antilles, Volume 2, Pteridophyta (1 977) and Ferns of Jamaica (1 985). 
376 species are recognised here, an increase of 56 over the number given in the most 
recent list in Flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands by Liogier & Martorell (1982). 
Twelve new species or combinations are given and 22 endemic species described. 
The introductory sections are brief but to the point and include some useful maps of 
geology, topography and climate as well as a short account of some aspects of Peurto 
Rican fern ecology. The systematic section is very similar to that in Ferns of Jamaica, 
i.e. there are full dichotomous keys, synonymous names, descriptions, details of 
distributions and habitats. 

The book is well illustrated. About 139 species are depicted in line drawings or in 
photographs, mainly of herbarium material. Some of these illustrations were specially 
drawn for this book but many are recycled from the author's, and other works, covering 
the ferns of the West Indian region. At the end of the book there is a useful list of 
the ferns of each of the Virgin Islands, a checklist of all the fern taxa known in Puerto 
Rico, a glossary and a bibliography. 

In summary, this book is produced to the high standard we have come to expect from 
the author and it is strongly recommended to anyone interested in the ferns of the 
central American tropics. 

THE CORNISH FLORA SUPPLEMENT 1981 -1 990 by L J Margetts and K L Spurgin, 
1991. Trendine Press, Cornwall. About 120 pp. plus map. 140 x210 mm. Price 

Cornwall has one of the most interesting pteridophyte floras in England and a supplement 
to its flora is very welcome ten years after the main Review of the Cornish Flora 1980 
by Margetts and David. Only new records are given here; therefore, for a full, up-to- 
date picture of the county flora both volumes are needed. 

Perhaps of greatest interest is the batch of new records for Huperzia selago, rare M 
lowland Britain, but I am also fascinated by the large number of introduced pteridophytes 
now established in the county; Selaginella kraussiana, Pteris cretica, Dicksonia antarctica, 
Polystichum falcatum, Blechnum chilense and Azolla filiculoides. 

Although only a supplement, there are interesting new pteridophyte records in this boo 

that will necessitate reference to it when a visit to Cornwall is in prospect. 

REAP A DESTINY by T D V Swinscow, 1989. 334 pp., 135 X 220 mm. Price 

£14.95 post free, from BMJ Bookshop, BMA House, Tavistock Square, Londo 


Although ,n no way a fern book this autobiography by a member of this Society <* 
39 years cannot go unmentioned. It is a very readable volume which I am sure 
members who have had the pleasure of knowing the author will find of great interest. 



A very comprehensive collection is stocked by 





Catalogue on request 


Specialist Fern Grower 

A wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially Adiantums 

Culag, Green Lane, Nafferton. Nr. Driffield, East Yorkshire, Y025 OLF 

Send 60p for catalogue 


Judith I. Jones, 
1911 4th Avenue West, Seattle, Washington, 981 1 9, USA 

Los Angeles International Fern Society 

LAIFS Fern Journal bimonthly includes fern lesson, 

educational meetings, materials, spore store, books 

Annual dues: $15 domestic, $19 overseas surface, $24 overseas airmai 

P.O. Box 90943, Pasadena, CA 91109, U.S.A. 

Hazel Rickard 

The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shrops, SY8 2HP 
Please send stamp addressed envelope for list 

The British Pteridological Society 



Volume 2, Part 2, 1991 


President's Letter 

Musings on another Maidenhair Mystery 

Variation in Blechnum spicant 

Equisetum Fungicides? 

My Filmy Fern House 

Barry A Thomas 
Judith Jones 
J W Dyce 
R N Timm 
Christopher J Goudey 
Martin Rickard 
Bridget Graham 
Pteridology in France Past and Present: A brief survey 

Andre J Labatut and Michel Boudrie 

Photographing Ferns, Part 1 (Cont.) 

Caving with a Feminine Touch 

Fern Hunting 

The Hardy Fern Foundation Breaks Ground 

Fern Mania 

New Zealand Fern Specimen Books etc. 

Additional Information 

On the Trail of Collections and Collectors past 

More about Ferns with other Plants 

Will the real Adiantum monochlamys please unfurl? 


My Interest in Ferns 

Centenary Fern Show Pebworth 

From the Spore Exchange Organiser 

What's in a Name 

Collector's Corner - Nature Printed Plates 

Fern Corbels in Churches 

Cards and Posters 

How to Use a Hand Lens 


Fame in Natur und Garten 

Flora of East Riding of Yorkshire 

Computer Key to the Ferns of the British Isles 

Guide des Fougeres et Plantes Alliees 

Ferns and Fern Allies of Canada 

Ferns of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands 

The Cornish Flora Supplement 1981-1990 

Reap a Destiny 

The Ptehdologist Volume 2 Part 1 was published on 21 May, 19 90 
__ ____ Publish ed by the British Pteridological Soc 'f^_____— — — ' 

Printed by METLOC Printers Ltd., Loughton, Essex 

C N Page 
Ray Woods 

J W Dyce 
Sue Olsen 

J W Dyce 

Martin H Rickard 

Nick Schroder 

Peter Temple 

A R Busby 

E A Elliott 

Martin Rickard 

Margaret Nimmo-Smith 

A C Jermy 

Barry A Thomas 

T D V Swinscow 

Martin Rickard 

A R Busby 

Volume 2 Part 3 





Edited by 
MR Richard 

Officers and Committee for 1 992 

President: J. H. Bouckley 

President Emeritus: J.W. Dyce 

Vice-Presidents: J.A. Crabbe, A.C. Jermy, R. Kaye, C.N. Page, M.H. Rickard, G. Tonge 

Honorary General Secretary AR . Busby -rjroziers', 

and Archivist ! 6 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 

(Tel: Coventry 71 5690) 

Assistant Secretary (Membership); and Miss A.M. Paul, 

Editor of the Bulletin: Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, 

Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD 


Dr N.J. Hards, 

184 Abingdon Road, Didcot, Oxon, 0X11 9BP 

Meetings Secretary: A.C. Pigott, 

43 Molewood Road, Hertford, Herts. SG14 3AQ 

Editor of the Fern Gazette: Dr. B.A. Thomas 

Botany Department, National Museum of Wales, 

Cathays Park, Cardiff CF1 3NP. 

Editor of the Pteridologist: M.H. Rickard, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, 

Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2HP 

assisted by J.W. Dyce 

Committee: G. Ackers, P.J. Acock, P. Barnes, J.M. Camus, Mrs M. Nimmo-Smith, 

N. Schroder, R.N. Timm, Dr T.G. Walker, J.R. Woodhams 

Fern Distribution Recorder: a.J. Worland, Harcam, Mill Road, Barnham Broom, 

Norwich, NR9 4DE 

Spore Exchange Organiser: Mrs M . Nimmo-Smith, 201 Chesterton Road, 

Cambridge, CB4 1AH 

Plant Exchange Organiser: Mrs R. Hibbs, 30 London Road, 

Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 3BW 

Booksales Organiser: s j Munyard, 234 Harold Road, 

Hastings, East Sussex, TN35 5NG 

Trustees of Greenfield Fund: A.R. Busby, Dr N.J. Hards, J.H. Bouckley 


ges, a spore exchange scheme and fern 
;~ -, --— -»ip which includes gardeners, nurserymen and botan 
the Fern Gazette. Pteridologist 
yof spe 

obtained. (Remittances I 

. aversion charg. ' " 

it receiving the Fern Gazette £2.5 

regalis, the frontispiece of Linton's Ferns of the English Lake District) 

ling are £3.00 extra to cover bank < 
•4.00. or for tf 

i Q C c t ?, U i mberS r. of £ e Gazet te7Ptendologist and flu//ef/n a 
id btar Lane, St Mary Cray, Kent BR5 3U. from whom fi 


Mille Ante Bis Millisimum Annum 

celebrations Unfortunately, 

celebrations our thoughts must now be directed to the future of this great Society 
There are two very important ingredients of a good thriving society, these being 

j going to be lost through a variety of reaso 
a healthy condition, it is vital that new me 
iradual increase or growth in the number of people joining 

If every member is enthusiastic enough to try to make sure tnat tney matte at least 
one new introduction before the end of 1999, I am convinced that, after allowing for 
natural wastage, such growth could be achieved Personally. I think it could be done 
long before the end of this century. Why not have a go? 

There are many activities arranged by our Meetings Secretary and his Committee and 
there are also more arranged by Regional groups, and all members are encouraged 
to get along to these. They are pleasant, educational and healthy activities, enabling 
everyone to make or renew aquaintances, exchange views and also to make suggestions 
for future gatherings. 

i during the coming year and wishing you much success 



J.W. Dyce, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG 10 1LT. 

Reginald Kaye was 90 years old on the 11th of April, 1992, and the BPS cannot let 

the opportunity pass to pay tribute to him, our longest surviving member - he joined 

the Society in 1929, several years ahead of me, and he. Jean Healey and I are the 

only survivors of the pre-war membership. 

From his earliest years ferns have been one of Reg's great interests, in addition to 

his love for alpines. After spending some years with Ingwersen's nursery at Gravetye 

in Sussex he moved back up north to Silverdale where he acquired Waithman's nursery. 

There, on the limestones he loves, he devoted his life to alpines and to ferns, eventually 

becoming our foremost fern nurseryman with his very comprehensive collection of 

varieties of British ferns. It could have been better still if he could have afforded to 

buy Cranfield's huge collection which was offered to him for £500 at a time when 

that sum was a lot of money and beyond Reg's reach. Eventually, on Cranfield's death, 

that priceless collection was flame-gunned - a very painful story which I have narrated 

elsewhere. Instead, why could not Cranfield have passed the collection on to Reg in 


AUG 2 9 1992 

Reg was elected our President in 1963 to 1966, a very popular choice, and his nursery 
has been a mecca for fern lovers world-wide in the post-war years. Ferns from his 
nursery now have their homes in many countries, particularly in the United States. 
Some years ago he did a lecture tour of that country and endeared himself to fern 
growers there. 

In 1 968 he published his book, Hardy Ferns, which has become a "bible" for fern growers 
and lovers in many countries. The book is now out of print and in recent years Reg 
planned to write a second edition which is badly needed. Most unfortunately, his present 
state of health has prevented him from completing the work. 


Divide as a Rule 

In the past, when exhibiting hardy ferns was a commonly enjoyed pastime, it was a 

general rule that ferns with an erect rootstock, such as Dryoptehs, Athyrium, Polystichum, 

etc, were exhibited as single crowns. An untidy tangle of fronds did not attract our 


I, too, think that single crowns are more attractive, both on the show bench and in 
the garden. 

Ferns grown as single crowns display their various features more effectively, especially 
if they are named forms. 

I now make it a habit to reduce all my ferns that are developing multicrowns to single 
crown plants which are then re-planted in threes or fives, thus not only ensuring a 
good stand of ferns but also enabling them to display their features to the best effect. 
This job needs to be done every four years or so, depending on how vigorous a particular 
species or variety may be. This year I lifted a large clump of Polystichum setiferum 
'Plumosum Bevis' which had not been divided for ten years. Pulling the crowns apart 
is out of the question so you must resort to the time-honoured method of using two 
border forks back to back to gain maximum leverage. Begin by placing the forks in the 
centre of the clump and forcing it into two halves. The clump will separate naturally 
between the crowns. Then divide the two halves and continue in this manner until 
the clump has been reduced to several single crowns. You will find that they will separate 
with the minimum of damage to the roots. They can go back in the same place but 
replenish the soil by forking in a bucket or two of leafmould or garden compost wrt 
a handful of blood, fish and bone fertiliser. Ensure that they are planted firmly so t a^ 
the crowns are snug into the ground otherwise the soil will sink leaving the croW " 
proud of the soil and prone to collapse or drying by the wind. After planting, wa e 
well and top dress with a suitable mulch while the ground is moist. 
Next year I shall be lifting < 
March, weather permitting, 2. 3(1992) 99 

AQUATIC FERNS (Based on a talk given at the autumn indoor 

meeting at Kew, 1991) 

JACK BOUCKLEY, 209, Woodfield Road, Harrogatre, N. Yorks HG1 4JE 

As the name implies, aquatic ferns grow in water. Some of them can withstand long 

periods of drought which will leave them growing above the water level They have 

136 m til 65 m. years ago. 
» mainly for the keen fern grower 

what suits plants ir 

Yorkshire. Experimenting is essential. My garden is clay and the water is neutral to 

acid, having come down from the peaty moors However, let's get down to the first 

of the alphbetically arranged plants. 

Firstly, Azolla. There are a number of these but the one normally seen in this country 

is A. filiculoides (Fig. 1a) and it is not a British native. It is a free-floating fern which 

will form colonies on ponds where it will propagate itself readily by self-division, even 

a fish-net or by hand. It is an attractive little plant, sometimes turning pink in autumn, 
and it may die down to a floating or sinking bud which can grow again the following 

Next comes Ceratoptehs thalictroides. This is a tropical plant which will grow anything 

from 6 to 15 inches (15-38 cm) tall and is an ideal plant for a well-lit heated tropical 

fish-tank. Plantlets are produced on the fronds from which they will self-detach and 

then float about until they find a place to root. The bright-green fronds will push above 

the surface of the water, displaying their fine divisions. Economically, it is quite an 

important plant as it is eaten raw or cooked in many countries. 

Natives of this country are Isoetes histrix(not a real aquatic), /. lacustns and /. echinospora 

(Fig. 1b and 1c) - the spring and the common quillworts. To see them in the wild where 

they can form carpets on the bottom in water usually under 12 feet (4 metres) deep 

but they can occasionally be found in 18 feet (5 metres) deep lakes. 

To keep these at home, plant in an aquarium or container in a compost of poor nutrient 

trying if you can get plants. 
Now we come to more introductions to this 
distribution covering many parts of the world, I 
where it grows in margins of lakes and also in 

so that the rim of the container of neutral compost is two or three inches (5-7 cm) 
below the water surface, then the four-lobed fronds will push their way above the surface, 
looking like a lush stand of clover. In the evening the fronds fold up to triangles the 
same size as one of the lobes. M. quadrifolia can also be found with incised fronds. 
Another marsilia, M. drummondii (Fig. 1d) is very attractive, being covered with silvery 
hairs, the density of which depends on the depth of water. Try plants at different depths 
to find which is best for your conditions. This plant is not quite as hardy as the M. 
quadrifolia. I take all my plants into a frost-free greenhouse in late autumn for over- 
alities of my greenhouse failed 
I everything was frozen solid down to 12° F. (-12° C.) M. quadrifolia survived but 

Pillularia globulifera (Fig. 1e) is < 

from pieces of rhizome which wander across the surface of the r 
It normally grows to about four inches (10 cm) tall and is sometimes free-floating until 
it finds a place to root. In the garden, it is best in a pot of soil-based compost with 
the whole pot submerged about two inches (5 cm) under water, when the un-fernlike 
fronds will show above the water, looking more like a small sedge or rush They may 
die back in winter but will revive again the following spring. The colour is bright-green 
and, kept in the close confines of a container, they will form a lush dense growth 
It will withstand periods of drought. A pot of them in an aquarium would make very 
good shelter for fish spawn and fry. 

Another clover-like plant is Regnellidium diphyllum (Fig 1f). This a tropical plant from 
South America and its common name is the Latex Fern, as the stem, if broken, will 
exude a white latex substance. It will grow to a foot (30 cm) or more in height and 
has bi-foliar leaflets at the top, each lobe being up to four times as big as the Marsilea 
quadrifolia lobes. Propagation, again, is easy by rhizome. It will adapt v 

permanently in water. It is not at all hardy and it intensely dislikes alkaline v\ 

Salvinia is another floating fern with two distinct types of fronds (Figs. 

The buoyant frond which can be seen on the wat( 

uses - firstly, to keep the plant afloat and secondly, t 

Under water, looking more like a frond skeleton, is the other trond whicn is sometimes, 

but not always, fertile. The plant readily divides and will quickly form quite attractive 

masses on the surface. It is not hardy. 

f York University for the 


Dicksonia antarctica and Dicksonia fibrosa - a correction 

In the 1990 Pteridologist I discussed ways of distinguishing Dicksonia i 

D. fibrosa. Since then the characters described have not proved 100% reliable on their 

own. I now know that it is most unlikely that any established Cornish specimens are 

D. fibrosa. The confusion has arisen because D. antarctica apparently varies from north 

to south in its range in Australia (Chris Goudey, pers. comm). The forms grade into 

each other but at their geographic extremities are quite different. Some stands do approach 

D. fibrosa in pinnule, pinna and frond shape, and cannot, therefore, be reliably separated 

by frond silhouettes alone. The following article by Dr Chirs Page gives a full account 

of the better key differences. 


102 Pteridologist2,3(1992) 


C.N. Page and Ruth Hollands, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh EH3 5LR. 
Of the four species of the austral tree fern genus Dicksonia that are present in Australia 
(from southern Queensland to Tasmania) and New Zealand, one. D. lanata Colenso, 
is usually not of tree dimensions, and so is not included in this account. Of the tree- 
forming species, D. squarrosa Spreng of New Zealand is especially distinctive in 
appearance. By contrast, D. fibrosa Colenso of New Zealand and D. antarctica Labill. 
of Australia form a closer species-pair, and can be more difficult to separate. 
In the Temperate Fern-Houses at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, and at Glasgow 
Botanic Gardens, many fine specimens of these tree-ferns (totalling over 1 00 individuals, 
many well over a century old) have long been cultivated in comparable conditions of 
soil and climate. The differences reported here are mostly base 
on these specimens, backed-up by field and herbarium study. 

Plants of D. squarrosa form long-fronded. slender-trunked ii 

, reaching 2-4 m high in cultivation, but up to 6 m in the wild (Page & Bennell, 

1986). Unlike the < 

i trunks scarcely i 

root masses, and so the persistent leaf-bases remain mostly exposed, covered in rigid, 
dark, perpendicular blackish hairs. Beneath the crowns, old fronds are shed from the 
trunk as they die, to a ccumulate in large numbers beneath the trees (Page & Brownsey, 
1986). Underground rhizomes usually link the plants, which consequently form quite 
dense groves. The fronds of mature plants are similar in size to those of D. antarctica, 
but are distinguished by having much longer stipes, up to about one third of the length 
of the frond, which are dark in colour. The pinnae are typically quite widely spaced 
along the frond, with a very glossy upper surface, and a texture which is harsh to grasp. 
Dicksonia fibrosa 

Plants of D. fibrosa form relatively short-fronded, moderately thick to thick trunked trees 
(usually 25 - 30 cm diameter in cultivation, but exceptionally up to 60 cm in the wild) 
which are usually about 2 - 7 m high (Page & Bennell, 1986). Like D. antarctica (see 
below), the trunks secondarily thicken with a dense weft of old root masses, hiding 
the persistent frond bases, and giving the trunks a tawny grey-brown colouration. Beneath 
the crowns, old fronds usually persist in moderate numbers to form a pendulous skirt, 
except in tall trees in the most exposed situations (Page & Brownsey, 1986). Unlike 
D. squarrosa, plants are not linked by underground rhizomes, and so grow individually. 
The fronds of mature plants are usually about 100 - 160 cm long, and the stipes are 
very short and pale with only moderately long (c. 1 -1 .5 cm), soft, lax brown hairs, whic 
are usually tenaciously retained by the plant when lightly pulled. The pinnae, whic 
continue nearly to the base of the frond, are typically very numerous and each narrow 
but closely-spaced, with a glossy upper surface, crisply undulate pinnule margins, a 
a texture which is especially harsh and prickly to grasp. Frond outlines tend to na 
a distinctive widest point about two thirds from the frond base, tapering fairly abr ^ 
but more gradually below this point. Throughout the frond, the fairly stiff and stra g 
pinnae tend to be angled forward at about 30 degrees from perpendicular. 
Dicksonia antarctica 

Plants of D. antarctica form long-fronded, thick to very thick-trunked trees (usually 
80 cm diameter in cultivation and in the wild) which are often 3-10 m high, bu 
reach 15 m or more in height in both cultivation and in the wild (Page & Bennell, ™° 

Pteridologist 2. 3(1992) 103 

Like D. fibrosa, the trunks secondariy thicken with a dense weft of old root masses, 
hiding the persistent frond bases, and giving the trunks a tawny grey-brown colouration. 
Beneath the crowns, old fronds nearly always persist on the plant in large numbers, 
to form an impressive skirt (Page & Brownsey, 1986). As with D fibrosa, plants are 
not linked by underground rhizomes, and so grow individually. The fronds of adolescent 
and mature plants are usually about 200-250 cm long, and the stipes are very short 
and pale with long (c. 3 cm), pale brown, soft, lax, silky hairs, which usually detach 
from the plant by their bases extremely easily when lightly pulled. The pinnae, which 
continue nearly to the base of the frond, are typically broad and quite widely spaced, 

width throughout much of the central part of their outline, with an indistinctive widest 
point usually about the mid-point, tapering more equally both above and below this 
The pinnae of mature fronds are also much more flexible than are those of D fibrosa, 
and tend to be more perpendicularly arranged. They also curve gradually basally and 
droop somewhat downward at the tip and either side of the pinna midribs. 
D squarrosa thus differs from the other two species by several characters, but mainly 
by its slender trunk and large dark-scaled fronds with long, dark stipes, which are shed 
from the crowns when old, as well as underground rhizome links 

D. fibrosa differs from D. antarctica in having markedly smaller fronds on mature 
i short, strongly-retained hairs, crisply undulate pinnule margins, and 
, narrow, crowded and forward-swept pinnae, which are more rigid and 
i differs from D. fibrosa in having markedly larger fronds (even on small 
trees only a metre high), with long, weakly-retained hairs, flat pinnule margins, and 
less numerous, broad and more widely-spaced pinnae, which are more flexible and soft 
to the grasp. 

These differences are based on the morphology of mostly adult plants, and probably 
apply in much lesser degree to juveniles. Nevertheless, young plants generally increase 
in size very rapidly, with their fronds reaching nearly adult morphology through their 
first decade. Even for juveniles of D. fibrosa and D. antarctica however, the features 
of pinna breadth and spacing and frond texture may still help to separate them at a 
relatively young stage. 
1a. Stipes long, up to one third of the length of the frond, trunks of trees slender, less 

than 20 cm diameter, plants usually linked by underground rhizomes D. squarrosa 

1b. Stipes short or 0, trunks of mature and semi-mature specimens broader than 20 

cm (usually 30-70 cm), specimens solitary 2 

2a. Fronds of mature and semi-mature plants usually about 100-160 cm long, with 
a glossy upper surface, and a texture which is very harsh and prickly to grasp, pinnules 

with undulate margins D. fibrosa 

2b. Fronds of mature and semi-mature plants usually about 200-250 cm long, with 
a dull upper surface, and a texture which is fairly soft to grasp, pinnules with flat margins 

PAGE, C.N. & BROWNSEY, P.J. 1 986. Tree-fern skirts: a defence against climbers and large epiphytes. 

J. Ecol. 74: 787-796. 
PAGE, C.N. & BENNELL. F.M. 1986. Dickonsia, in The European Garden Flora (ed. S.M. Walters 

104 Pteridologist2, 3(1992) 

a talk given at the autumn indoor meeting at Kew, 1 991) 
JOHN WOODHAMS, Tropical Section, Living Collections Department Royal 
Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB 

It should be said at the outset that ferns are not the most troubled plants with regard 
to pest and disease problems though there are a number of relatively common "nasties" 
that will pay them attention, and if allowed to persist can become rather damaaina. 

If incorrect, cultural methods and growing conditions may result in ferns looking visibly 
unhappy and this can happen surprisingly quickly. A common example is the drying 
effect on the atmosphere in the home, caused by central heating. However, it will often 
be found that a fern suffering considerably in one location indoors will recover if relocated 
to another room, or even moved to another place in the same room. The author only 
recently needed to remove a cultivar of Adiantum raddianum from a southerly aspect 
room, where it was increasingly unhappy, to a position near the window in a north 
facing room. Improvement was soon apparent, the plant showing improved vigour and 

One should aim to avoid situations that can become too hot, or suffer excessive fluctuations 
of temperature, though a night time drop in temperature is usually acceptable and, indeed, 
II] !^ £m !- SltUati ? nS ' beneficial Draughts should be avoided, especially for the placing 
" 't and tender items, for this can encourage the prevalence of mites 
broad mites, especially, which cause foliage distortion). Also, avoid a 
situation where a plant would be in strong sunlight for long periods, especially if directly 
behind a window, though, equally, a dark and gloomy corner would be ill-advised, 
especially through the winter months. 

Drought is, of course, an anathema to so many of the ferns, so much so that within 
a few hours a perfectly marvellous plant can be reduced to a shrivelled apology that 
may take months to recover - if recovery proves possible. On the other hand, damage 
due to over application of water does not, in general, cause such an immediate problem 
as drought but, nevertheless, can result in damage to the root system and/or rhizome, 
etc. With most ferns this is likely to be more prevalent through the autumn and winter 
months when growth is at its lowest ebb. Again, standing potted ferns (unless of water 
or wetland habitat) in a saucer or tray which may accumulate up to an inch or more 
of water is not advisable, for this will cause the compost to become waterlogged and 
anaerobic, to the detriment of the plant's roots. Incidentally, this is likely to be more 
of a problem where plastic pots are used. Standing plants on top of a shingle bed in 
\ P 'f "1 saucer or tra y- where water can be added to a level below the pot base, is 
immediate area around the plant is slightly moistened, 

It would seem pertinent to offer a few words of caution concerning t 

plants to add to or build a collection, for, unless care is exercised, it is at this swy- 

that pest and disease problems can be inadvertently introduced. 

It is wise to check over all possible acquisitions with care and select visibly healthy 

plants, divisions, etc Beware of signs of dessication for this may not only be due to 

drought but could be the outward sign of root or stock ailment that is best avoidea 

Inspect foliage and growing points for insect pests or signs that they have previously 

jist2.3(1992) 105 

j plant attention, for eggs laid and not easily observed will be the next generation 
o trouble the plants and you! 

If, on running through your cultural < 

problem/s then attention should tur 

disease related one. 

In thinking about pest and disease problems and controls, it should be s 

pesticides and fungicides can be phytotoxic, especially to ferns; they m 

to the persons applying them an 

use physical or biological control measures where available, resei 

long stop should all else fail. 

As more research effort is channelled toward biological, or what is more correctly I 

Integrated Pest Control (where predatory insects, certain fungal and bacterial < 

integrated pattern), the armoury is expanding, with some promising results 
Physical traps are also playing an increasingly important role to catch winged pests 
such as white fly and are used also to monitor the degree of certain infestations Usually 
in the form of yellow or blue plastic sheets (scne produceu and marketed in sheet 
size 25 x 40 cm) and coated in a long persistence glue, they are hung or located at 
crop height where they are most effective. No pesticide is used in their manufacture. 

The attack may be from the fern aphid Idiopterus nephrolepidis which is black with 
white legs, or the green Myzus persicae, or possibly others. They congregate on the 
young fronds and growth points and suck the plant sap, debilitating and distorting the 
plants and, by their method of feeding, can transmit viruses from plant to plant 
Control can be by washing the aphid colonies off the plant with a tepid water spray 
from a pump-up sprayer (a few drops of washing-up liquid may be added to help the 
water to penetrate the aphid colonies). Alternatively, use the biological control agents 
Aphidoletes aphidimyza and/or Aphidius matricariae. The former is a predatory midge, 
the larvae of which live by piercing the aphids and devouring their body contents, while 
the latter, a small wasp-like creature, lays an egg in the aphid, which hatches and 
proceeds to devour the body fluids - eventually pupating and emerging from the aphid 
as an adult - thus continuing the cycle. 

Pseudococcus obscurus is probably t 

found in glasshouses in Britain, but 

bug Pseudococcus longispinus. 

They tend to form colonies and hide 

points of ferns where they feed on the plant sap 

fly, mealy bugs excrete a substance c 

forms a coating on lower foliage a 

by a fungus called sooty mould, which looks most unsightly and can be detrimental 

to plant growth if the coating is heavy and widepsread on the plant. 

Control of mealy bug (Fig. 1) (all Figs. opp. p. 108) can be effected by the introduction 

on the mealy bug colonies. Though freely available from suppliers, this predatory insect 
sy about plants and conditions. However if Cryptolaemus likes your 

conservatory or glasshouse (not su 
job, though it has to be stated that t 
more fluffy mealy bugs so do not b< 
the adults e 

mere are also species of mealy bug that live in the compost feeding on the fern roots 
These are difficult to get at and a soil drench of a Malathion based insecticide is preferred 
- use at or slightly less than the manufacturer's recommendation. Malathion can be 
used to control mealy bug on the upper parts of the plant if predator and physical washing 

Sooty mould may be sponged off the plants in the same way as described here for 
the physical removal of scale insects or, if a heavy coating has developed it should 
be allowed to dry out completely, causing it to flake and peel, whereupon it can be 
swilled from the foliage. 
Scale Insects 

A variety of scale insect species can attack ferns, though the most commonly met with 
are soft brown scale. Coccus hesperidium, and the fern scale or snow scale Pinnaspis 
aspidistrae. The latter appears as tiny white flecks on the fronds, usually scattered over 
the undersurface and feeding by sucking the plant sap, causing yellowish white marks 
which, in a heavy infestation, can cause the frond to appear mottled. Both types of 
scale mentioned can severely debilitate a fern and must be treated. 
Ferns with fronds that lend themselves to physical washing - the Asplenium nidus group, 
Microsorium punctatum and some members of the Elaphoglossum genus, etc., can be 
washed clean of the pest, using tepid water and a soft sponge. The larger scale species 
the most successfully treated in this way. Do not attempt to use the hard cellular 

sponges for i 

the frond tissue - change 1 

bowl or bucket frequently. Obviously, some juvenile scale stages will be overlooked but 
a thorough and careful washing will give very satisfactory results. 
Biological control can be attempted, using the small wasp parasite Metaphycus helvolus, 
though warm conditions seem to be necessary for this to be able to work effectively. 
A microfungus, Verticillium lecani, marketed under the proprietary name "Mycotal", has 
been found to gradually lessen infections, though again warm conditions coupled with 
a high relative humidity level are essentials for this agent to work. It is, however, ideal 
for use in a tropical fernery where the preferred relative humidity level of 85% plus can 
be provided. 

White oil, which works mostly by smothering the insects, thereby cutting their access 
to air, can be effective, though usually two applications are necessary and there is need 
to give good coverage of the foliage colonised by the insects. Use as recommended 
by the manufacturer and I would advise not using more than two applications in 

succession, for the product can be damaging to young fronds, and will cause dark areas 

to develop on older fronds if used too frequently. 

A systemic insecticide is likely to be the most effective treatment and there is a product 

still available which has dimethoate as the main systemic ingredient. Best advice is 

to try this on one or two plants initially - watch after a day or so for any sign of toxicity 

on the foliage. Do not apply spray if the temperature is over 24 C (75 F) or if in bright 

sunshine. A good rule for most insecticides. 

White Fly 

Generally, very good control of the glasshouse white fly, Trialeurodes vaporarium, can 

be effected using the parasitic wasp, Encarsia formosa. 

Ptendologist 2, 3(1992) 

As with all biological agents observation is paramount, and early c 

allows introduction of the predators before extensive colonisation of 

place. Nephrolepis spp, in particular, can be the subject of i 

Some of the quick acting, flying insect control products can be usd to spot treat, but 

remember, if biological control is to succeed, indiscriminate or over use of chemical 

formulations should be avoided, if possible. Also the quick-acting (knockdown) products 

will often only knockout the adults, being of little use against eggs or scale stages of 


Red Spider Mite 

Tetranychus urticae, the two-spotted red spider mite (Fig. 3) can be troublesome, the 

problem often exacerbated by an incorrect environment, which usually means too hot 

and dry. A light misting over of fern foliage, using a hand trigger sprayer or small pump 

pressurised type, using rainwater or filtered tap water at room temperature, will physically 

combat spider mite attack and can also be of benefit to the ferns. However, avoid wetting 

the plants during periods of low temperature or late in the day, especially in winter 

There is a predatory insect, Phytoseiulus persimilis, (Fig 4) which will frequently give 

more than adequate control. Again, early detection of the pest allows rapid introduction 

of the predator, so avoiding chronic build up of spider mites. A further aid to assist 

the predator gain control is to fairly forcefully wash over the foliage (both upper and 

lower surfaces) and allow to dry before the first introduction P. persimilis can live on 

the eggs of.the red spider mites if adults and young are in only minimal numbers 


Various species of thrips are becoming troublesome, including Thrips tabaci Their rasping 

type of feeding on both the upper and lower surfaces of the fronds of a range of fern 

species causes a silvering affect, disfiguring the plants, and in numbers they are very 


A predatory insect, Amblyseius cucumeris, can be used for light infestations It feeds 

by devouring the first stage of the young thrips as they hatch from the eggs It will 

also feed on pollen should thrips be unavailable, but our precious ferns are unable to 

help here ! "Mycotal" will work well if the same conditions of temperature and humidity 

mentioned previously may be used to good effect. 

>n increasingly troublesome if sporadic pest (Fig. 5) of some rhizomatous ferns and 
-.e clump forming types, especially those liking drier conditions. Adults eat notches 
ut of the foliage and lay eggs at the base of the plant where the resulting grubs will 
ivade the root area, devouring plant tissue below ground level 

k relatively simple treatment, using a beneficial eelworm (Fig 6) to carry a bacterium 
Mo the bodies of the vine weevil larvae, results fairly quickly in their death - where- 

Procedure for application 

nix the eelworm culture with water and apply this by 

plants affected. There is a different eelworm species 

against the larvae of the fungus or sciarid fly, Lycoriella auripila. and 

way The products are marketed b 
as "Nemasys" and "Nemasys H" - the latter being for fungus-fly larvae. 
The predators and biological formulations arrive through the postal sen 
be dealt with as soon as received. Some of the formulations need to t 
low temperatures if not used quickly. 

108 Pteridologist 2, 3(1992) 

The different producer companies package them in a variety of ways, many of which 
are very simple to handle and apply to the plants. The author is given to understand 
that at least three producer companies will deal with the amateur market. 
Natural Pest Control, Watermead, Yapton Road, Barnham, Bognor Regis, West Sussex 
English Woodlands, Hoyle Depot, Graffham, Petworth, West Sussex, GU28 OLR 
"Wye bugs", Wye College, University of London, Wye, nr Ashford, Kent TN25 5AH. 
Each company may not handle the same range but will be able to advise as to availability 
and supplier. It may be found that availability of some predators and other agents through 
the winter months is variable. Many of the predators are naturally-occurring insects 
in the British Isles and have to be encouraged into breeding cycles at a time when 
they would normally be hibernating or otherwise inactive. 

JONES, D.L 1 987. Encyclopaedia o 
Plants, Collins. 


BARRY A. THOMAS, Department of Botany, National Museum ol Wales, Cathays 
Park, Cardiff CF1 3P 

JOHN WILLIAMS-DAVIES, Department of Farming, Crafts and Cultural Life, 
Welsh Folk Museum, St. Fagans, Cardiff CF6 6XB 

Bracken is a very successful and invasive weed. Although once restricted by broadleaved 
woodland it has spread rapidly because of woodland clearance. It is still invading margin 
agricultural land. 

Originally the only practical method of controlling the spread of bracken on hilly an^ 
had been by scything, which was an extremely slow and laborious process^ The 
bracken was often stored in stacks for later use as bedding for cattle. After the a 
of the Agricultural Wages Board in 1921 it became impractical to employ men specu 
for bracken cutting as it was far too expensive. 

In 1930 Charles H. Williams Ltd. of the Glaslyn Foundary, Porthmadog ^^^^ 
a machine for bracken cutting to a patented design of James Pugh, a s peep based 
of Gartheiniog, Aberangell, (see Fig. opp p. 109). The design was a simp le on ^^ 
on the roller principle to be pulled by horse. Carbon-steel knives were attache a ^ 
iron discs arranged along a six-foot axle. As the machine was dragged forwa ,^ 
knives turned and cut the bracken. It was capable of cutting up to ten acre V^^ 
a considerable improvement on the one acre or so which could be doi 
It also worked efficiently on very steep slopes without showing any signs c 
and stones caused no damage. The cutters were also designed so that tney 
used singly, in pairs or in threes. ds 

The most reliable method of eradicating bracken was to cut in June, w en .^^5 
had nearly reached full height without unfurling, and then at about six-wee y ^.^ 
This effectively exhausted the food reserves in the underground stem, tn ^ 

the plant. So successful was the machine that it could almost be said ^^ ^ 
itself redundant. Once the bracken had been cleared it was a relative y ^ ^ g nQ 
with fertilisers to keep the land clear, with a result that the braC JjJ n ^ Wa r because 
longer needed. Production ceased around the beginning of the Second Wor df . y - s t jme 
of lack of demand and partly because of increasing demands upon the > o ^ ^ ^ 
from war work. Judging from the increase of bracken, perhaps it is 
remaining machines out of the museums and back onto the hillsides. 




Machynlleth. p^ 17 

Ptendo,og,st2.3 ( 1992, 109 


Deformed ferns at Otterhead - Somerset/Devon 

In 1 987 a photographic group organised a walk round Otterhead Lakes which are situated 
in the Blackdown Hills about ten miles south of Taunton The county boundary bisects 
the lower lake. Ferns then as now were the predominant summer ground flora, the 
area being best known for spring snowdrop displays 

The former estate of about 150 acres was originally known as Wick Farm In 1841 
it was purchased by William Bleadon, a surgeon, who erected a mansion and laid out 
the grounds to incorporate three lakes Two of them remain and are usd by anglers 
Bleadon died in 1864 and the place was acquired by Justice Mellor and then his son 
in-law the Hon. Sir W.H. Goschen who died about 1935 The house remained empty 
Wessex Water bought the estate in 1939 and on instructions from the local Council 
demolished the house in 1947. Now Wessex Water with the Somerset Trust for Nature 
Conservation and the Forestry Commission manage the area 

During the 1 987 excursion I observed a large number of fern fronds with what I described 
as frizzle ends, or distorted tops (see Fig opp .). At the time I attributed this to the possible 
use of herbicides, but as I was also then researching the Victorian Fern Craze I did 

likely the owners knew each other socially, or their gardeners did At Nettlecombe the 
Trevelyans and their gardeners were keen collectors of mutations, and other fern oddities 
I was not able to trace any definite link, and until recently forgot the matter 

Following the centenary symposium of the B.P.S., I return 

look. It is now rather overgrown, and the lower lake restricted to anglers Some > 

were slashing at the ferns which still predominate and threaten to obliterate bo 

paths and picnic areas. Bracken is encroaching and, under t 

growths of about seven prolific fern species Lady Fern predominates and there are 

sufficient distorted fronds to be significant. From two to ten per plant, with the same 

feature appearing occasionally on Broad Buckler Fern, but not on Male Fern or any 

I suspect an entomologist might know the cause of this occurrence However, for anyone 
wanting to see for themselves, it is quite a pleasant walk, preferably on a cool breezy 
day There is a car park Take the Hon.ton road out of Taunton (B3170) and turn right 
a a sign marked Otterhead Church The next turning to Royston Water', the name now 
given to the lower lake, is for anglers only 

(I'm sure Primrose is nght to attnbute th,s damage to insects Very often small 
r*n k» c «n i.wmn th*ir *na* on fern croz.ers The eggs develop into wh.tegrubs which 
damaged crozier usually reveals the grub (Ed ) ) 

Ferny Doylies 

On visting "Lilies ", "an historic house with 20 rooms of books in a country setting 
40 miles from London", I was intrigued to find, on the top floor in a display cabinet 
on the outer wall of room 1 5, a display of doylies made out of Lace Bark (Lagetta hntena). 
the spathe of the Silk Cotton plant {Calotropis procera), and decorated with ferns from 
Jamaica, some of which had outlines similar to our Rustyback Fern. For those interested, 
"Lilies" belongs to Peter Eaton (Booksellers) Ltd; its address is Weedon, a couple of 
miles north on the A413 out of Aylesbury. Bucks It is open most days except Sundays 
The telephone number is 0296 641393 you can also see the first TV. tube 



A R BUSBY, 16, Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry CV4 8GD 

i praising ferns for their various shades 

It is true that there are many shades of green in ferns, from the deep glossy green 

of Cyrtomium fatcatum, to the most pastel of greens as seen in Adiantum pedatum, 

and, in between, every other shade of green imaginable. 

To my mind, colour in ferns falls into two categories, those with colour in the frond 

that fades as the frond matures, and those whose colour persists throughout the life 

of the frond. British ferns are not noted for their colour but can perhaps compensate 

by their tendency to produce varieties! 

I would suggest that the exception is Dryopteris affinis and its subspecies and varieties. 

True, the colour is somewhat ephemeral, but the sight of its yellow-green fronds adds 

a splash of gold to the fern border, especially if it is planted where the sun can catch 

it and if several plants are grown together to make a feature. As the season progresses, 

the fronds develop a shiny mid-green, with the hint of yellow, as if to remind you of 

its youthful glory in the spring. 

Athyrium filix-femina is usually seen as a totally green plant but red-stemmed forms 

are often encountered. Casual observation suggests that the red-stemed forms hold their 

fronds more erect and tend to be more brittle. I have also noticed that the red form 

tends to produce its fronds slightly earlier in the season. Red-stemmed varieties are 

quite common and, although I am not a lover of the Lady Fern and its varities, if I 

must profess a preference, it would be for the red-stemmed forms. 

Interestingly, while visiting Wicken Fen during October 1990, I noticed a red-stemmed 

form of Thelypteris palustris. The stipe and rachis were red and the red flush also ran 

into the base of the pinnae. I found it quite distinct and spores from it were included 

in the 1991 Spore Exchange list. It might be worth selecting good colour forms from 

the progeny. 

Osmunda regalis has its forms Purpurescens' and 'Gracilis' which produce purple frons 

in the spring, but both become dark green in time, with the colour persisting only m 

the stipe and rachis. 

However, if we want to add greater colour interest to the fern border, we must tur 

our attention to foreign hardy ferns. 

Adiantum pedatum star, japonicum produces in the spring the most heavenly pink-tin e 

fronds which fade to green as the fronds mature. 

Arachnioides simpiicior, has wonderful bottle-green fronds with a dash of yellow o 

each side of the mid-rib. (syn A. aristata 'Variegata? Ed.) 

Athyrium niponicum var. pictum has steel-blue fronds with burgundy-coloured vein^. 

and the pinnae splashed with silver at the base. Select carefully to ensure a goo 

Athyrium otophorum, in the spring, has yellow fronds with red stipes and rac i 

the fronds turning green as they mature but the red stems persisting. 

Athyrium vidalii, has fronds which emerge purple-black in the spring and slowy 

dark-green as they mature. 

O^hnun, pe„„,na. ,n mos, forms. ,s a rich mixture o. ^«££^ 

spring with purple fertile fronds displayed proudly during the summer, mosi 


j colour; it's a pity that < 

Dryopteris erythrosora anc 

ones, in some forms, late 

fern in their collection. 

Dryopteris wallichiana is a very variable species, apparently, if the experts I 

believed. I know it as a fern with bronze-yellow fronds sporting stipes and 

clothed in chocolate-brown scales 

Lunathyrium japonicum - I list this because the one I have is very colourful, r 

Athyrium niponicum var pictum. However, I stand ready to be corrected on this 

Onoclea sensibilis, apart from the usual green form, has a pink version which 

attractive until I was shown a red form Deeper in colour and larger in su 

totally seduced me from the pink Tends to be invasive. I prefer to grow it i 

pot but it does not travel well and is easily damaged. 

Variegation has never featured regularl 
examples amongst the indoor 1 
mention. Asplenium i 

egation in other species from time to time, dui 
I look forward to other members adding 


BRITISH ISLES by Clive Jermy and Josephine Camus and Illustrated by Peter 
Edwards, 1991. Natural History Museum Publications, London, pp. xiv, 194, 
> illustrations, probably over 200. 148x210mm. Price £7.95. 

This new field guide will be warmly welcomed by the large number or T.eia oowmbib 
with an interest in the British Ferns It is concisely laid out and contains all the basic 
information one would expect, but, above all, it is thoroughly up-to-date 
Introductory matter includes notes on how to use the book, the fern l.fe cycle, a glossary 
and a dichotomous key. Further, keys are included throughout the book at the beginning 

The mam systemat.c section covers all known British pter.dophyte Coverage 
of each includes diagnostic characters, habit, habitat, distribution and conservation status, 
together with useful notes for comparison with closely related taxa All known hybrids 
are listed but they are not illustrated or described. 

This is a very well organised work covers the key points of each fern . disagree 
with occasional statements, e.g. I don't think most cult.vars of Asplemum seolopendnum 
are sterile also are there really a few sites in NW Britain for Dryopteris cnstata? More 
importantly, it should be noted that the figures of the two non-native species of Blechnum 
on p. 1 83 have been transposed. 


FERNS IN THE HOME (Based on a talk given at the autumn 
indoor meeting at Kew, 1991) 

A R BUSBY, 16 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 
Growing ferns in the home is not easy as it demands skill, patience and a good measure 
of dedication. Some knowledge or interest in their natural habitat will provide useful 
guidelines to their successful cultivation. It is far more difficult to produce the right 
conditions for ferns to grow well than for many other popular pot-plant subjects. For 
example, a Swiss cheese plant, Monstrosa deliciosa, or a rubber plant, Ficus robusta, 
can survive the gloomiest of corners on a minimal amount of attention. Not so the 
ferns. They require regular attention and some consideration if they are to flourish in 
the home. In other words, they provide a challenge and for those who are prepared 
to meet that challenge, ferns will prove to be a very rewarding and decorative subject 
for the house. 

When we consider pot plants for interior decoration, we situate them to our liking and, 
although many foliage plants are fairly obliging in this respect, ferns are not. We have 
to find a situation to suit them rather than us. So, even if our large Woodwardia radicans 
would be a magnificent feature in that corner behind the television, the Woodwardia 
will think otherwise. The dappled shade of a temperate forest is one thing, the dusty 
dry corner of a British living room in January is something else. If we are to meet 
this challenge, there are six conditions that need to be considered: temperature, light, 
humidity, watering, feeding and potting on. Considering that ferns have adapted to habitats 
as diverse as from the deep shade of a rain-forest floor to the bright sunlight of the 
same forest's canopy; and from the rock fissures and screes of an inhospitable mountain 
t shady protection of a temperate wood; and even the contrasting conditions 

room or windowsill for the ferns we have acquired. Knowing the habitat of a particular 

species will guide us to simulate the conditions it requires in the home. It is this 'fine 

tuning' which provides the challenge. 


All ferns respond to good light without direct sunlight. They do not require gloomy 

conditions. A north-west or east facing window is a valuable asset for fern growing. 

A south-facing window is fine as long as the plants are not in direct sunlight for the 

than on the windowsill itself. Some ferns do require 

Platycerium species, are good examples. They are ferns of the forest canopy where 
they have adapted to direct sunlight and are able to survive long periods of drought. 
The best place for them is hanging in a south-facing window but, better still, a greenhouse 
or conservatory. Finding the right place in relation to light for the majority of ferns is 
not usually very difficult or critical. 

Surprisingly, most of the 'exotic' ferns used as pot-plants will tolerate quite low 
temperatures. They prefer to be warm rather than hot and respond best to a fairly staDie 
temperature regime. Anything between 12-18°C (54-64°F) is suitable. If plants are kep 
on the windowsill, avoid trapping them between the glass and the curtains at nig 
dunng the winter, where they will become chilled. Many of the 'exotic' ferns will tolerate 
short periods at temperatures down to 7°C (44°F) without coming to much harm. 

This has a direct correlation with temperature and is much more important and difficult 
to get right. Humidity, the amount of moisture in the air, is measured by a hygrome^- 
This consists oft 

measuring 'bulb' surrounded by wet muslin. This depresses 

shows the room's 'relative humidity'. The relative humidity (or RH) of a centrally heated 
living room is usually about 48%. Compare this with the RH of a warm greenhouse 
with a soil floor which is usually about 70%. The greenhouse will have a far more 
buoyant atmosphere for plants generally, and ferns in particular Obviously, we cannot 
arrange for damp conditions in our homes but we can assist our ferns by providing 
a moist microclimate around them. This is easily done by placing the ferns on saucers 

amongst and around the ferns will help reduce any stress they n 
to a dry atmosphere. 

Watering is a skill that has to be learned. It is the one major stumbling block for indoor 
gardeners and it is where the vast majority of the gardening public make their mistakes 
Flowering plants, which have an advanced plumbing system, can tolerate long frequent 
periods without water and will quickly revive after a good soaking Ferns, by virtue of 
their primitive 'rigid' plumbing system, will not tolerate long periods in dry conditions 
They show their disapproval by losing their fronds, followed quickly by losing their will 
to live. This is where the skill, patience and dedication is required I have no qualms 
about using hard tap water although soft or rain water is preferable. The best routine 
is to check the ferns for watering at least twice a week. The drier the atmosphere, 
the greater the plants' demand for water and the greater the evaporation of water from 
the compost. The question most often asked is 'how often should I water it?', but in 
fact, the question should be 'how often should I check it?* The first question is easily 
answered: if the plant is dry, water it, if it is moist, don't! However, there are indicators 
we can observe. Modern peat-based potting compost changes colour as it dries out. 
from dark brown when it is wet, to light brown when it is dry. It also shrinks away 
from the side of the pot as it dries. Any shrinkage suggests excessive drying and is 
a condition that should be avoided. Once a peat-based compost dries out it is extremely 
difficult to re-wet. Rely on your index finger. Rub the surface of the compost. If your 
finger is damp, the plant is fine; if your finger remains dry, the plant needs water 

Ferns are not gross feeders but, like all plants confined to a pot, they require nitrogen, 
phosphate and potash plus all the other macro- and micro-nutrients. The golden rule 
is 'little and often'. Be guided by the manufacturers' instructions but apply at half-strength 
about once a week in the growing seasc 
to have one particular day of the week 01 
feed to a dry soil. Any proprietary plant 1 
Baby Bio, Phostrogen, etc. 

Most pot plants produced today are grown in peat-based composts and any subsequent 
potting should be done in a peat-based compost I have found that for ferns it is beneficial 
to add about one quarter by volume of Perlite to three quarters of compost This improves 
the drainage and aerates the compost. It also assists the shaking down of compost 
when repotting. The feed provided in a proprietary compost only lasts about eight to 
ten weeks unless a slow release form is incorporated. Nitrates are easily leached out 
of the compost each time a plant is watered so, after ten weeks, regular feeding should 

Eventually all plants become potbound: the roots completely f 

condition of the root-ball is easily checked by tapping out the contents of the pot Before 
attempting this, always ensure that the roots are well watered. It makes it easier to 
ease the root-ball from the pot. This is particularly applicable to plants grown in clay 
pots. If you that the plant will benefit from being potted on, choose a pot about 
two sizes up from the old pot, for example, from a 5" up to a 7" pot. This ensures 
a comfortable amount of room and compost for the plant to explore. However never 
be tempted to over-pot by placing a plant into a pot several sizes too large Make sure 
the rootball ,s thoroughly watered before repotting and afterwards water again 

i use piastic pots tor the vast majority of my ferns as they prevent the compost from 
drying out too quickly. Clay pots can be used but extra care with watering is required. 
Many ferns are very suitable candidates for hanging baskets. Most of them, such as 
Nephrosis, Platycerium, Davallia and Phlebodium are epiphytic and prefer high-light 
conditions and good drainage. Chipped bark incorporated into the compost will assist 
with this. Wire baskets with coir fibre liners or moss, and plastic hanging pots can 
be used. Remember, though, that ferns suspended in mid-air will dry out more quickly, 
so they will need closer attention. 
Maidenhair ferns 

These are worth a special mention. They are the one group of ferns that have a wide 
appeal to the general public. If you attempt to grow maidenhair ferns for more than 

new old and dead fronds. This is easily avoided if, during January and February, all 

the fronds are cut down to soil level. If the plant is pot-bound, pot on as described 

earher. If ,t ls a plant pot-bound in a 6" or larger pot, divide into two and repot into 

xne same size or slightly smaller pots with fresh compost. The result is a spring flush 

or new fronds that will look good throughout the new season If you keep a close check 

on the watering you will have two large ferns instead of one. 

List of Plants available from Supermarkets and Garden Centres 

Most of the following species and varieties feature regularly on pot-plant sale displays, 

but some of the others are scarce. 

Adiantum hispidulum, rosy maidenhair, and A. pubescens, a very similar species, are 
seen frequently. 

Mantum raddianum (syn. A. cuneatum) is the common maidenhair of the pot-plant 
trade. It has produced numerous varieties amongst which 'Fluffy Ruffles', 

hragra ntlsS|mum . < Fritz Luth - - Micr(vjnnu|um . and - Weigandii < can be found, most 

usually un-named. 

Asplenium bulbiferum. hen and chicken fern 

r.-p.nnate fronds, is hardly ever found i ' 
fern which will often appear at private plant sales. 

Thf rnir n,dU , S ' the b ' rd ' S nest fern < has sim P ,e en t're fronds held nest-like in a rosette 
k.!^ ' 8rS An 9 u statum' and 'Fimbriatum' can now be found. The latter appears I 
I propagated by division only. 

3 sterile and mu 

Blechnum gibbum is an erect fern with pinnate fronds which are pink when young 
TeOcTnVV^ 9 ° n ,he trance of a miniature tree fern with a stem up 
occ^nZ , Qh h is difficult t0 ke ep >n good condition beyond five years, a 

Zn"^ ' S We " WOrth Seekin 9 ft h as handsome pinnate fronds, mahogany-red when 
waterinn tk S \ Cre u epm9 rhizome < so te "ds to wander out of its pot, and dislikes over- 
watenng. They both prefer acid conditions. 

Cyathea dealbata, the silver tree fern and national emblem of New Zealand, is occasionally 

imported from Holland and may turn up in larger garden centres. 

Cyrtomium falcatum, Japanese holly fern, is popular as both a hardy garden fern and 

as a pot plant. Its hard shiny glossy green fronds prevent it suffering from all but the 

most outrageous neglect. C. fortune! is also common. 

Dicksonia antarctica and D. fibrosa, are occasoinally found with Cyathea dealbata. but 

beware of incorrect labelling! They generally prefer acid conditions. 

Davallia solida var. fejeensis and other hare's-foot ferns may be available. These make 

excellent basket ferns and will stand drier conditions. 

Didymochlaena truncatula is often overlooked in the | 

appearance. However, in i 

i with bi-pmnate fronds 

with glossy dark-green pinnules, often rosy-red when young. Keep tnis Tern wen wdu^u 
and fed, otherwise it drops its pinnae and looks terrible. 

Doryopteris pedata, is a small fern with very appealing attractively-shaped fronds that 
improve with age. The variety palmata is larger with deeply-cut fronds. Hemiomtis anfoha 
is a related fern which has 'plantlets' on its entire fronds and dislikes 
Microlepia speluncae, the so-called carrot fern, has soft hairy tripinnate light-green fronds 

Nephrolepis exaltata, the Boston 1 

» general public 

recognise it as a fern. Several fancy cultivars are available in aoa.t.on 10 .n«™ B ,™„.-. 

forms. Linda' has very congested and dissected fronds. 'Duffii'. a cult.var of N. corditolia. 

with rounded button-like pinnae, is well worth seeking. 

Petlaea rotundifolia, the button fern, is a very common amenable small rosette fern 

enjoying an acid compost and good light. P. falcata. a larger colonising relative, is more 

difficult to keep in good condition. 

Phlebodium aureum and its cultivars, with attractive glaucous fronds, make excellent 

basket ferns, eventually growing to several feet in height but. unfortunately, are not 

commonly available. They withstand drier conditions and enjoy being potbound. 

Platycerium bifurcatum, the stagshorn fern, always causes comment from the uni nitiated 

It prefers a very open free-draining soil-less compost with added chipped bark nd enjoys 

being suspended in a pot or basket or grown wired ontc -cork ££ G-v-t plenty of 

sunlight, watering once a fortnight in summer, once a montn in wime. 

P. grande has been found with diligent searching. 

Polystichum tsus-simense, better known to British growers as a foreign hardy fern is 

quite often offered as a pot plant. Perhaps someone knows why this Poiysvcnum 

no other is used in this way. 

Pteris cretica, the Cretan brake, is .he most ubiquitous of ferns, appearing * *£** 

green grocer's by the trayful. usually in several **^ , "^^^ , ^2£ 

dimorphic with the fertile frond narrower and held st.ffly erect. The ™^™™°£™ 

forms need more light as they lose their colour in too much shade. The addmon o^ 

lime to the compost is beneficial Occasionally other .ncludmg P. argyraea and 

P. tremula can be found. 

Rumohra adiantiformis, is the floristry fern, but despite its popularity «^^ 

imported from Florida in their thousands, I have never seen it for sale in a garden 

, swamp fern, is vigorous with wide-ranging rhizomes 
It remains barren unless these rhizomes ar able to 
is verv attractive with bronze-tipped young fronds 

temperature than most of the other ferns 

s been found in aquarist suppliers:- 
Bolbitis species reportedly crop up but found by others not me. 

Ceratopteris thalictroides, water fern, has lettuce-green fronds with bulbils often produced. 
The fertile fronds are strongly dimorphic, being very thin. Often found planted or floating 

Isoetes flaccida, found just once in an aquarist shop in the Midlands, but it is well 

worth checking carefully through tropical aquaria suppliers for pteridophytes. 

Trichomanes speciosum is often used but is usually supplied as cut fronds pushed ii 

rock wool filled containers. However, rooted portions r 

Selaginellas. These really are the cinderellas of the 

whole chapter to themselves. Those commonly available « 

kraussiana which has both green and gold forms, S. 

many more species deserve to be more widely grown. 

I am sure that this list is not exhaustive and would be pleased to receive feed-back 

of what is available in your area. If you find your local outlet has a poor selection, 

then why not turn your attention to the Society's Spore and Plant Exchange Schemes 

where you will find a wide selection of species to challenge you. Fibrex Nurseries and 

Mrs Jean Marston also offer a much extended range of non-hardy ferns by mail order. 

'The Plant Finder' will also supply the i 

exotics including tree ferns. 

i Books 

Fern Growers Manual, B J Hoshizaki. KNOPH, 1975 
Encyclopaedia of Ferns, David Jones. BMNH, 1987 
Maidenhair Ferns in Cultivation, Chris Goudey. LOTHIAN, 1985 
The Plant Finder, Chris Philip (Hardy Plant Society). MPC, 1992 


MICHAEL G. SEARLE, Oak Lodge, 108 Cumnor Hill, Oxford, 0X2 9HY 

In continuance of this query, The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia and elsewhere, provide 
the following information, regarding the constituents of Equisetum arvense L, as aconitic 

manganese, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, tannin, a complex of alkaloids and a bitter 
glucoside. The flavonoids are quoted as being luteolin, isoquercetin and equsetrin^ 
However, different authorities seem to have varying ideas as to these constituents and 
also the possible toxicity of what is a well-known medicine for the treatment of urinary 
stones, cystitis and prostatitis. It is suggested by Michael Hallowell that thiammase in 
Horse Tail causes a deficiency of vitamin B1, permanently damaging the liver. Of course, 
the amount of any chemical contained in any one plant of equisetum will depena 
its growing conditions, as well as the make up of the soil in which it is growing, su 
that the same species growing under different circumstances could well present a diftere 
set of constituents, particularly in respect to quantity. There appears to be varying ioe 
about the numbers of different species of Equisetum, one source quoting 25 kno 
species, 7 of which grow in Britain, and another quoting 1 6, with 1 1 in this country 
To underline the variation in constituents, E. hyemale is reported to be the best clean* 
as it deposits the most silica on its outer skin In passing, it is noted that a unci 
of Horse Tail, used daily, is recommneded for perspiring feet. 

To return to the main question, a number of writers refer to the antiseptic and disinfecnve 
properties of our plant and it is to be noted that sulphur appears in the list of constituents, 
but, I suspect, in amounts decernable only to an analytical chemist 
Seeing that speaking to plants is no longer considered eccentric, is it possible that plants 
react to the placebo effect?? 


Over the last twelve months the Society has published the following three Special 
Publications as part of its centenary celebrations. 

British Pteridological Society Special Publication, number 3, 1991 Pp iv, 38, 
several black and white photographs and figures. Price £3.00 + post & package 
In this book Jimmy Dyce covers all the major topics of interest to the fern grower At 
long last we have here the very book we need in reply to the question Is there a simple, 
inexpensive book for beginners on how to grow ferns?' In his usual very readable style^ 
Jimmy works through the fern life cycle, variation in ferns, the cultivation of ferns and 
their propagation. At the end he gives a series of very useful appendices providing basic 
facts for the fern grower. 

The bad news is, this fact-packed volume is already nearly out-of-print However. I am 
delighted to hear a second, expanded, edition is proposed! 

THE HISTORY OF BRITISH PTERIDOLOGY 1891 - 1991 edited by J. M. Camus_ 
British Pteridological Society Special Publication, number 4, 1991 Pp 127, 
26 black and white photographs. Price £5 + post & package. 

articles on various aspects of ptendology 

and the BPS over the last 1 00 years. The contributions are either personal r 

eg. by Prof. Holttum and Christopher Fraser-Jenkins, or ^^^J^J!^ 

and Peter Barnes, or studies of the Society c 

Matt Busby and Nigel Hall. To cap it all, th 

Bridget Graham and Ray Smith. The whole volume i 

bargain at £5! 

PAPERS READ AT MEETINGS 1894- 1905, British Pteridological Society Special 

tten t 
. makes very absorbing reading 

Publication, number 5, 1991. Pp. 233 approx., 
photographs. Price £7.50 + post & package. 

several black and 

i papers was long 

overdue. Original c 

that our Society's earliest publications £ 
. The information in 
contributions from many of the founders c 

Phillips, and Dr. F.W. Stansfield. Much of tl 

and I am sure it will fascinate today's growers. In effect, these papers are the forerunner 
of the British Fern Gazette which started publication in 1909 

All three of these publications are excellent value and surely essential reading for all 
BPS members! All are available from BPS Booksales. 



PETER H. HAINSWORTH, Station House, Achnashellach, Strathcarron, Ross- 
shire, IV54 8YR 

Three years ago I wrote of my first adventures in raising ferns from spores {Pteridologist 
1989). It is just possible that some members may be interested in my further adventures. 
There must be others in a like position to myself, isolated from other members, except 
for a major excursion once a year, and I know some are asking the same questions. 
Being of an experimental nature, I am never satisfied. The bare essentials of fern raising 
appear in several books, the most extensive perhaps appearing in David Jones's 
Encyclopaedia of Ferns. But the finer points of fern physiology and development, as 
far as they are known, are, I expect, still tucked away in academic archives and 
nurserymen's heads. Anyone trying to write a book on the subject would be into an 
enormous amount of work digging out the information for a very limited readership 
and, therefore, profit. What Government research station is going to spend time on 
a subject of negligible economic importance? It could possibly be a labour of love for 
a dedicated fern enthusiast (don't look at me) with lots of spare time and, preferably, 
a degree in botany (and access to Martin Rickard's library!). 

Starting with basics, the first details I would like to know are the required conditions 
for spore germination. Obviously, light, warmth, moisture and nourishment are essential 
for subsequent growth. Air we take for granted, but how much of each and at what 
stages for each species for optimum growth? Moderate light is needed for most ferns, 
if not to initiate direct germination, certainly for growth. High levels of direct sunlight 
lead to pale green prothalli and fronds, if not actual bleaching and withering. 
A temperature of between 55-65°F seems to be the minimum for germination for most 
spores and if they are not showing after four weeks I begin to have doubts about their 
viability, though a few take six weeks. Temperatures above this give faster growth for 
most things but at 90°F, or over, prothalli go brown at the centre and edges and slowly 
expire. For me, this usually means the unexpected first sunny day in May and I am 
50 miles away! Direct sun in spring or summer is usually lethal, though not always 
immediately apparent, even half-an-hour from a shaft of sunlight from an unexpected 
direction. My only safe place in summer is under the green-house staging, even though 
the average light there may be less than optimum. 

Experiments with the chilling of newly sown spores, a necessary procedure 
seeds, have proved inconclusive. Sometimes the chilled sr. 

the unchilled ones from the same batch not at all. On other occasions both have tane- 
the same time to germinate. The species tried were mostly alpine or cold tolerant - 
Asplenium viride, A. adiantum-nigrum, and A. ruta-muraria, also Polystichum lonchit* 
P. vestitum, P. makinoi and P. polyblepharum. Obviously, something else is at wor 
here, possibly moisture levels again, and as no-one else has noticed this effect put 
it down to a vivid imagination. 

What of the nourishment? A major problem is that prothalli are likely to be in a small 
bulk of compost for six months or more and will almost certainly run out of nutrients 
Can a compost be devised that will provide very slowly released nutrients over 
per.od or is it better to transplant the prothalli once or twice into fresh compost^ ^ 
feed? Sporelings certainly grow much faster when transplanted. What so 

""■ Experience with the sort of fertilisers commonly used in corT1 P°^ icf , rs 
lowed that fern roots are sensitive to these. The slow r 

m this respect and prothalli have grown well 
un out of steam after i 

with small * 


from plant stalks, seaweed, poultry manure and limestone grit up to % inch sieved, 
in equal proportions. This provides a good physical mix put through a . inch riddle 
and provides nourishment for a few months - sterilised for spores, unstenhsed for 
sporelings in the hope of offering a good mix of mycorrhizal fungi Experiments with 
Cocopeat instead of my somewhat stodgy and very acid peat are encouraging 
Feeding, in an emergency, works well, using a soluble high-nitrogen feed, at about a 
quarter of the recommended strength, with a pipette, drop by drop between prothalli 
Despite sterilisation by pouring boiling water over the pots of compost, I have had persistent 
trouble with moss until recently. At first I thought it came from airborne spores, then 
through the water, but after eliminating both of these the trouble had to be faulty 
sterilisation. I came across a most interesting publication called the Moss Growers 
Handbook by a Michael Fletcher and learned things about mos 
omit. From his experience it seems that mosses exist as bh 

the equivalent of fern prothalli) in grains of soil and this fitted well witn my own 
observations, both indoors and in the garden The trouble was my lumpy compost - 
the heat was not getting to the centre of the lumps. So now I pour boiling water direct 
on the soil - no paper (which disintegrated anyway) - three or four times in quick 
succession. This is very effective but does strange things to plastic pots! 
Another mystery, so far unsolved for many of us. is what makes prothalli germinate 
or perhaps I should say, not germinate? Sometimes they grow and grow up to % ot 
an inch or more with frilly proliferations on their surfaces and edges but no fronds 
appear, even after 18 months. Do they have only one chance in their lives to produce 
sporophytes and if conditions are not right just carry on growing? A bit of a dead end 
from an evolutionary point of view! But we accept that ferns are different! 
Obviously, there has to be some water on the to facilitate 'ertjlisatjon but 
ion will occur abundantly in cool periods of weather and at night My own 
e very wet underneath, especially where they contact the soil I did wonder 
, temperature of the propagating case was preventing this early in the summer 

I the falling temperatures and increased 

: autumn. Both could 
have provided the s'purThey'we'reVhere for a fortnight andth ^ 
case. Two months later quite a ni 
I had hoped for to prove the poim 
to produce SDorelinqs at a certain size, perhaps A ot an men dcrus», » uw 
otherwise suable. And if any fronds appear months later they are from late 9erm,n«.ng 
spores. This is something the Victorians must surely have found out and no ou 
of our members have too. 

There is a beautiful series of pictures of germinating spores and . ^^^^21 
in C.T. Druery's British Ferns and their Varieties. He tells us that 9e'm.nat,onjakes 
place in a "few weeks" and fronds appear "a month or more J«« r ^ then 

does not happen often enough. We have to bear in mind that mosx re a 

was of easy Athyrium and Dryopteris varieties. Another thing to Dear '" " 
they did not have plastic pots - even stood in a dish of water and covered^ with i glass, 
earthenware pots would be much better aerated. 


, have any reliable figures, as we have with seeds, of the 
.. ,__ ^ o .u„ ot i oa ct inna enouah for sowing the 


spring. Some last fa and, as with higher plant seeds. storage_condit,onsr 

. marked effect. It seems logical to assume that many v 
normally spending their winters in col' 
stored in a fridge. Osmunda regalis i 

t stand much drying, 

I for the short life of its spores I 


it 2. 3 (1992) 

In September 1975 I was near Valencia on the SW coast of Ireland and noted on some 
of the peat bog workings a thin green line 3 inches down from the surface. It was 
made of many thousands of tiny plants with a round leaf about 1 / 4 inch across on 1 
inch wiry stems. Totally mystified I took a fist-sized piece home and twelve months 
later realised that I had a clump of many Osmunda regalis plants. Some are still in 
my garden. Evidently, there were viable spores by the million over acres of these bogs 
- but not a fern in sight. My own explanation is that these bogs were covered with 
Osmunda at one time and were "harvested" for their stems for orchid growing, for 
which they were highly prized. This was a widespread practice in parts of Wales too, 
around the end of the 19th and beginning of this century. This makes the spores 75- 
100 years old, - unless someone has another explanation? Certainly at 3 inches down 
in the peat they must have been there a long time. 

Wondering if this could be turned to the advantage of the spore exchange, I have been 
experimenting with spores kneaded into a ball of freshly dug, sticky wet peat, (not the 
sort you buy in bales). A small portion mixed with water and spread on the usual compost 
following summer but few or none after two years. A 
5 natural conditions; presumably, the spores would 
*en in conditions of little oxygen, high C0 2 , no light and usually wet, not to 
mention the possibility of inhibiting substances in the peat (H 2 S?) Easy enough to repeat 
in a laboratory if anyone has the facilities. I also tried keeping spores in a corked test- 
tube of water, but this did not work. 

Inevitably, a few pests have turned up. During the winter of 1 989/90 lots of tiny black 
aphids turned up in the warmed propagating case on young sporelings and potted plants, 
but, oddly, never on prothalli. A few proprietary aphid sprays were tried, cautiously, 
but the damage they did to young fronds (and sometimes older ones) was quite 
unacceptable and led to moulds later. They were not, I think, damaged by the chemical 
involved but by the detergent materials in the formulation used to reduce surface tension, 
a point fairly well confirmed by the use of a few drops of washing-up liquid in water, 
which was equally damaging. So what to do now? I discovered that "Vapona" strips 

dramatic results and no damage. Th< 

odd plants, so the strip is set amongs 

is usually sufficient. 

From time to time newly emerged prothalli develop frilly edges, suddenly diminish or 

disappear, or older ones curl up having apparently lost their roots (rhizoids). On one 

occasion I found a minute maggot associated so gave it the blame, and found that a 

minute spot of the forbidden DDT would usually stop the trouble. Then a visit from 

a nurseryman member told me what I needed. "Fungus gnats, try flypaper". I did, and 

over the next three weeks caught 60 in the case. Still an odd one turns up from time 

to time but hopefully not enough to give much trouble. 

Another trouble is rotting prothalli, sometimes with a white filamentous mould appearing 

on the compost. The centre turns brown, and if they are thick, quickly spreads througn 

them all. Fairly obviously caused by warm damp conditions, I am now trying to leave 

the case open for a few hours each day to let things dry off. I tried "Benlate" recent y 

on a spare potful without any obvious damage, so it may be worth trying if things ge 


Perhaps I should be thankful for what I haven't got. 

Mice are always with us and 1990 was a "boom" year for them. They are curiously 

selective. In the fern polytunnel they cleared my maidenhair ferns in a week, then mo 

on to Pteris multifida which were gone in a few days. Several mice were caught (.nciuoi a 

voles). Then another invasion got busy on Cyrtomium fortune!, but were stopped Deiu 

Last spring they repeatedly attacked Athyrium otophorum The odd 
thing is that closely allied species adjacent are ignored. They are not usually difficult 
♦~ tr*o „with npamiK hut at three or four mice a week, it means daily attention to the 

Somebody i 

! answers or bits of answers to some of these problems Some 
annual publication are that one forgets to write in until it is too 
ay letter is almost impossible. If you have any thoughts, now is 

the time to make notes, put them on a piece of paper where you will be constantly 

reminded (diary?) and write them up around Christmas time. There is at least one other 

member who will be interested. 

Looking on the bright side, if we knew it all, fern raising would not be such fun - 


J. W. DYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

Following up my article on Variation in Blechnum spicant in the 1991 -ssue c 

Pteridologist. Vol.2 part 2, I have to report a very pleasant discovery 

Browsing through a collection of old fern potographs which were passed or > to me 

many years ago by Percy Greenfield, I came across one photograph taken Dy u 

of his 'Concinnum Druery' variery of Blechnum spicant. 

What a pity I did not discover this before my article was published last year! J 

lamented the fact that we had no photographs of the vanety^and ' •" P£~ 

I can now remedv this omission. BUT, ^mystery ^^^^ references , 

Blechnum spicant 'Concinnum Dr 

122 Pteridologist 2, 3(1992) 


NEIL TIMM, Aldre, Grimsby Road, Binbrook, Lines. LN3 6DH 
The subject of raising ferns from spores has, I am certain, been covered many times 
in the journals of the B.P.S. by members more able than myself. However, I offer as 
an excuse for writing this article, the fact that it is a subject which seems to be of 
endless interest to fern enthusiasts, and that. 

Having been spore-raising for only some five years now, no part of the system here 
described can claim to have been tested over a long period of time though, in that 
short time, most of these methods have successfully produced large numbers of plants. 
Perhaps, more usefully over that time, a number of techniques, for almost every part 
of this system, have been tried and abandoned as inappropriate, or for various reasons 
unsuited to my disposition. What remains works well for me and, if so, therefore should 
work well for anyone. 

The spores, are, of course, at the beginning of any method of fern growing. So far 
I have only used two sources, those sent out from the Spore Exchange, (over which 
no control can be exercised, but which always prove to be reasonably clean and pure 
when I grow them), and those collected from stock plants, and the plants of other members. 
When collecting from stock plants I do not go to great lengths to prevent cross 
contamination, but have so far been little troubled by it. Whether this is purely good 
fortune or, in part, the method of collecting the spores is impossible to say. Generally, 
however, I try, as far as is practical, to prevent contamination by such relatively simple 
methods as collecting each frond separately and sealing it in its envelope before the 
next is cut, keeping the envelopes away from the plants, and preferably collecting from 
plants which have not been grown too close together, as the number of spores falling 
on a frond from other plants must diminish rapidly as the distance from those plants 
increases. I really feel that this simple idea could make a big difference to the amount 
of contamination, especially when the spores are collected from a garden where many 
different ferns are often grown in close proximity to each other. It is probably highly 
desirable to wash the frond under running water and/or in a sterilizing solution at this 
stage, but so far I have not done this, though I do try to make sure that any frond 
used is free of all blemishes, moulds and rusts, etc. Nor are the spore envelopes sterilized 
but, in order to reduce risks, clean paper should perhaps be used. If possible, new typing 
paper taken fresh from, and stored in its packet, seems to be as good a choice as any 
and, possibly because it is smooth and does not readily gather dirt, it has proved quite 
good to date. At least the number of contaminated cultures I get are not too excessive. 
As soon as a number of spore envelopes have been filled preparations for sowing begin, 
because I feel, as it seems do many people, that the fresher the spores are, the better 
they germinate. Not only that, but it makes sense, particularly if you do not run to any 
form of artificial day length correction, to sow in the natural season when the spores 
would be shedding and, hopefully, germinating, in nature. Certainly they will not germinate 
m the cold dark depths of winter, and sowing immediately can do no harm. The compost 
which is used for sowing the spores differs little from ordinary fern compost, and is 
commonly a standard soilless potting compost. One advantage of this is that, especially 
•f you can get one of the professional products, they contain good wetting agents, making 
it easy to water both the compost itself, and any other ingredients which have been 
added to it. Additives which have been tried with some success include up to WJ* 
crushed limestone and brick for spleenworts, etc., though even with this I still find tn 
the spleenworts are one of the most difficult groups to germinate, except, P^f'™ 
scolopendriums which grow like weeds. Also, more commonly added is around w* 
peat for calcifuges when not using an acid compost from the start. Especially wn 

for the dilution of nutrients caused by 
a spore mix is a good idea anyway, as be 
which can at least do no harm), is prin 
the food most likely to be needed by small plants lacking an extensive root system, 
and the most difficult for them to obtain. If possible, the need for extra feeding later, 
when the prothalli or young ferns have begun to grow, should be avoided, as this will 
eliminate the chance of introducing contamination with the feed, as well as reducing 
work. In fact, I find it is rarely necessary to feed the plants again before pricking out 
Therefore the bone meal, which is usually added at about % the John Innes rate, would 
seem to be doing its job. 

These compost mixes are used to two-thirds fill one pound glass honey jars, the compost 
at the bottom of the jar being usually used in its natural state, but the top inch or 
so is passed through a riddle. This is not to help the plants in any way. but s.mply 
because it makes pricking out easier if the sporelings. are not all rooted together into 
one large lump of compost. Indeed, since the prothalli have no proper roots, but only 
rhizoids shallowly attached to the surface, in all probability the texture of the growing 
medium makes little difference to them. At one time I placed gravel in the ^"om of 

Indeed, the only real reason for filling the jars as deep as two thirds full is that this 
lifts the plants nearer the top to make for easier pricking out Also, a larger volume 
of compost is perhaps, more likely to remain evenly moist. Probably the best way to 
fill the jars is to fill them up to the top loosely, which will give approximately the needed 
depth when the compost is levelled and lightly pressed. The jars can then be watereo 
with a fine rose to achieve the desired moisture content; this watering also helps to 
wash any stray compost from the sides of the jars, which can then be given a day 
or two to settle, to be sure the moisture content is correct and stable have tmany 
settled on using glass jars for growing spores after having tried several other types 
of container, including plastic lunch-box type cartons, and the plant pots in plast, bags 
method, and am now convinced that glass jars are by far the best or several rea .sons 
Firstly because as with the pot and plastic bag, it is a sealed closed system like a 
wardL case which means that no extra watering will bj .needed ah er -^ ^ 
reduces work and the risks of introducing contamination the water A sealed system 
also means there is no risk of the compost drying out if neglected, and since it is constantly 
moist there is no risk of the prothalli being dry at the vital and, perhaps, short moment 
when the male gametes are released, it being unnecessary tc .give any extra 
at this time under this system. Secondly, as most of the <f"^™ ^ e ^ 
the metal lid, instead of on the glass of the * and the glass «^ . «« V 
seen through than many materials such as plastic bags, the culture can alway De v 
and. moreover, without the risks of opening the container. Jars also have the^amages 
of being clean, tidy and durable, to my mind no small benefits, especially. ^^^ 
from a beekeeping supplier, by far the chea P e ^ s ° urCe CO nven.em plastic pots This 
the lids, only about three times the price of much less conve £ chemist 

is also considerably less than the price of similar jars ^^™*™™*™J* would 

Er5SS=r r ^^ ;:s ^ p,n8 

"""I™ being sterilized by beat. The^xed^rdboard 

3 be removed, i 

and fungi, 

uired. on,y one good enough . .Keep , out the spores ,0, m oss : ano u, 
I not be needed. After loosening the lids ot tne ja s. , 

124 Reridologist2. 3(1992) 

autoclave or domestic oven to sterilize; a microwave is not suitable because of the metal 
lids. For a long time I used a compost sterilizer to sterilize the jars with their contents, 
though I did find that the jars needed a little longer than a batch of compost, presumably 
for the heat to penetrate the glass. (Note that jars should preferably be cooled slowly.) 
I now, however, use a domestic oven which does the job equally well. If using an oven, 
the jars will need to be placed on the top or middle shelf, at gas mark one, for about 
an hour to an hour and a half, though this may vary from oven to oven. In an electric 
oven a setting just below boiling point will be needed. When the jars have cooled the 
lids can be screwed down tight. This, then, is another advantage of the glass jar over 
other methods, as this heating leaves the whole jar, including lid and compost, completely 
sterile and with the contents covered throughout; also, the original moisture content 
of the compost remains unaffected. Thus it is possible to have the jars already prepared 
with the correct moisture content. For most ferns, a little wetter than you would normally 
expect jjotting compost to be just after watering, seems to provide enough moisture 
lh I have found that cheilanthes did well on a much 
, may need to be a littler wetter. Perhaps it may not 
fern grower assures me that composts for spore- 
raising cannot be too wet. 

Usually the jars are then left a day or so to settle down before sowing, but if a large 
batch has been made, they may be sealed down and kept as long as desired, or at 
least until there are enough spores to sow the full batch. Sowing is normally done 
m a draught-free room, naturally, away from any ferns. The spare jars and other packets 
of spores are kept in another room during sowing to avoid cross contamination. I rarely 
sow only one jar with the spores of one species, because it is easy to sterilize large 
batches of jars using the methods described. Sowing in more than one container gives 
some insurance of success, as there are always some failures in most sowings, and 
the jars being quite small, this costs little in extra spores. The way which I have found 
suits me best is to press a piece of paper a little larger than the top opening of the 
jars, onto the spores as they lie spread in the bottom of the spore envelope. When 
the paper is lifted off this leaves most of the dross behind in the envelope, then the 
paper is placed, with only the small number of spores that will have adhered to it, 
over the top of the jar's mouth and given a sharp tap. This gives an ideally thin sowing, 
and, since I have been using this method, over-sowing has rarely been a problem, and 
clumping out of the prothalli unneeded. After sowing the name of the spores, and any 
other details wished for, are written on the lids of the jars with a marker pen. Then 
I remove the jars, envelopes and other materials from the room. Having cleared the 
room, the working surfaces are wiped with a damp cloth and hands are washed. This 
at least gives any stray spores time to settle. 

As the jars are glass with metal lids they may be very prone to overheating if placed 
m strong sun, therefore, even if the ferns sown have a high light requirement, they 
must still be placed out of direct sun in, for example, a north window or shaded greenhouse. 
If the light levels are very low the jars may be spaced a little to reduce the shade given 
PY the lids. Very rarely need anything more be done to the culture until the pricking 
out stage is reached. However, an eye can be kept on things, just to be sure that the 
moisture and fertilizer contents do not require topping up I like to leave the prk*.ng 
out until the sporelings are at least two centimetres high, as they seem to get going 
better rf transplanted at this larger size. Transplanting is done with tweezers, fifty * 
e.ghty plants being transplanted to a seed tray if done carefully it is possible to get 
several crops from each jar over a period of time. The trays with the sporelings must, 
of course, be kept in a close humid environment, such as they have been enjoying 
Lni t Jar !' SmCe jt iS rather a l0t to ask the sporelings to put up with being transplanted 
and to adapt to a lower humidity at the same time. This sort of humid environment 

Pter.dologist2.3(1992) 12b 

could be provided by a frame or propagator, but the method I like best is to place the 
trays of plants into plastic bags, supported above the sporelings by two or three wire 
hoops pressed into the compost at their ends. This system has the advantages that, 
firstly, it permits large numbers of trays to be used at the same time at little expense 
and, secondly, of allowing each tray to be treated differently, as, for example, when 
hardening off by opening the bags a little. The trays, I find, must be left in the bags 
for at least four weeks, or preferably longer, before hardening off I do not bother to 
sterilize the compost in these trays to any great extent, at least not if it is fairly weed 
seed free to begin with. The result of not sterilizing is usually a growth of moss, but 
this is only slow if the trays are kept covered, and plants of a good size at the pricking 
out stage seem well able to cope with a slight growth of moss, though it would be 
perfectly possible to sterilize the trays by pouring boiling water through them, in the 
case of, say, very valuable ferns. The plants are then left in a the trays for as long 
as possible before potting, and I do feel that, as with pricking out, large ferns seem 
to get going better, which is the opposite of normal woody perennial plants I do not 
know why this should be so; perhaps it has something to do with the way ferns grow, 
with the next generation of fronds and roots already forming towards the tip of their 

, this is about I 

: and new experiences i 

and, if anyone 

highly recommend l 


A WORLD OF FERNS by Josephine M. Camus, A Clive Jermy and Barry A. 
Thomas, 1991. Natural History Museum Publications, London. 1 12pp., numerous 
colour plates 218 x275 mm. Price £9.00. 

I suspect by now many members will already be familiar with this superb book, one 
of several published to mark the centenary of the British Society It is 
a general interest book, one that is a joy to browse and show to friends who, perhaps^ 
might not understand what we see in these plants. All the main groups of pter.dophytes 

are represented with first class colour photographs. 

contributed free of charge by f 

lovers from all over the world. This is a book of relatively few 

; chapters 

organised 1 

le, fossil ferns, ferns of the world by habitat 

the perfect i 

world of ferns 

We will all have our own special highlights in the book, but I derived most pleasure 
from seeing tree-ferns in their natural montane grassland habitats on the > Isle °' ^ un '° 
and on Papua New Guinea; could they be hardy!? There are many, many other photographs 
worthy of mention but no space to itemise them here. 

Inevitably, no two people would choose the same plates; for my part I would have P referr ® 
to see more cultivars of our British ferns included. The authors are all ™ an, «* ° 
their preferences emerge in the selection of a rather larger proportion of photographs 
of examples of the unfemlike Eouisetaceae, Salviniaceae and Marsileaceae than I would 

will help to popularise ferns. 
n natural history 


All round this is an excellent work 

126 Pteridologist 2, 3(1992) 


JUDITH JONES, Fancy Fronds, 1911 4th Avenue West, Seattle, Washington 
981 19, USA 

Dryopteris dilatata 'Jimmy Dyce', as Martin Rickard and I are inclined to call this variety, 
was the mystery Dryopteris sp. in the nursery for some years. It made one of those 
spontaneous appearances as a population in some other culture sown from spore collected 
in Jimmy Dyce's garden in 1986. 

As the population matured and a nice threesome adorned a prominent place in our 
display garden, customers began clamouring to have it. Should we gear up production 
on a plant with the dubious title of Dryopteris sp.? Unlabelled plants cause no end of 
confusion in the commercial trade. Large nursery companies delight in coining illegitimate 
names for market plants. I become unreasonably "bent out of shape" when a fern I 
introduced to the market turns up with a "new" name. 

Everytime I took this plant through the Dryopteris key in Page's The Ferns of Britain 
and Ireland I landed squarely down in dilatata, except that it was somewhat atypical 
in its upright rigid habit and thick fleshy texture from the type plant. I sent fronds to 
Jimmy twice and he couldn't relate it to dilatata at all. I kept insisting there must be 
some historical precedent somewhere. In preparing this article I believe I have found 
it in Moore's Nature Printed Ferns and reiterated in Lowe's Our Native Ferns. 
The plant that Moore describes as var. valida and Lowe as var. vallida is a perfect match 
in all respects, especially the form which both authors record was found by Mr. Tait 
in Monkland Glen, near Airdrie, Lanarkshire. First let us look at var. valida itself, using 
Lowe's description as it is a condensed version of Moore's detailed exactness: 
"A handsome (infinitely so, we think) Fern, thick and fleshy (when fresh, not when 
dried). Fronds bipinnate, or often tripinnate (especially the lower pinnae pairs), large 
and broad. Stipes stout and moderately scaly. Pinnae broad and crowded. Pinnules more 
or less divided, almost to the midrib; oblong ovate, and curving somewhat forwards. 
The lobes oblong obtuse, lobate-serrate, with bristle-tipped teeth. The venules end on 
the margin on the upper surface in a hair-like white line, giving a falsely strigose 
appearance". This last sentence is a direct verbatim quote by Lowe from Moore. This 
character is only apparent under magnification and not the naked eye. 
But the description of the form found in Monkland Glen and named subvariety erecta 
by Moore is the real clincher for me. Moore's description most aptly fits the primary 
distinguishing characteristics of this variety. It has "long stipites (meaning that the pinnae 
are distinctly stalked) and ovate triangular fronds, very erect in habit, pinnae distinctly 
concave, pinnules distinctly convex, having a crispy appearance. Length of frond above 
two feet". BINGO! It is this crispy appearance, due to the dichotomous nature of having 
the frond surface concave, curled forwards, and convex, curled backwards, at the same 
time, that has been so difficult to describe. This three-dimensional curved charact * 
is totally lost in herbarium material. As I hold a dried pressed frond next to a fresniy 
picked frond the former is but a sad reflection of the latter. 

It is no wonder that Jimmy could not recognize the plant which he collected in 196 
on the Isle Arran and which is still flourishing in his garden. (WAS now in my garaea 
Ed.). When I showed slides of my plants at the BPS Centenary Symposium in July, Ma 
(Rickard, of course) recognized the form immediately. In his own words (or a facs ' wjth 
thereof) he remembers Jimmy and Fred Jackson each arriving back at the cars 
a crown of what he thought to be rather unimpressive wizened D. dilatata. Ha! 
Here in the U.S., especially in the Pacific Northwest, Dryopteris dilatata 'Jimrny Dyce 
is gaining a well earned reputation as a top notch landscape plant. Because of us 


erect form and its attractively domed caudex, complementary planting 
right up to the base of the crown and still be clearly visible The fror 
evergreen for us, with deterioration beginning in the stipe so that 
over after heavy rains or snowfall yet still appear attractive 

trait not always to be had with Dryopteris, especially the European ar 
It has the typical D. dilatata verve for life and is a very successful self-s 
Considering Jimmy's great zest for life and his far reaching efforts I 
members part of the fold, no matter how far from England tl 
'Jimmy Dyce' is certainly a reflection of I 
worth cultivating. (Phew! JWD.) 


Centenary Day on Whitbarrow Fell (Monday 23rd September 1991) 

Figures in the midst 

Hooded, cladded, shrouded shapes. 

Stepping, stumbling, all look the same. 

Eyes ablink with biting rain, 

Keenly searching the wild terrain. 

Blurred outlines bend to eroded lime 

Carved by the elements in concert with time, 

Heads together in dual look alike. 

Slowly advancing on the hike, 

a endless grike. 

Along the r 
Then at an 

Hearty greeting, wind sw 
More of the party there V 

Leaning backwards, forwards, against the gale 
Did you see ... ? What did you say? 

Then descending, the weather relenting 
Morecambe's bay unveiled its view. 
And progress now was greatly eased, 

Steep paths yielding to a softer climb, 


Pteridologist 2, 3(1992) 


CLIVE JERMY, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD 
ANTHONY PIGOTT, 43 Molewood Road, Hertford, Herts SGI 4 3AQ 
The Golden Scaled Male Fern, Dryopteris affinis complex, is one of the most fascinating 
British pteridophyte flora. As we get close to the resolution 
project to discover the geographical 

lex. We would like any interested members 

Dryopteris affinis complex. It reproduces 
ily form pure strains and partially fertile 
its origins with the Common Male Fern, 

of this puzzle, it seems a good time to start a mappi 
distribution of the various taxa within the complex, 
to help us in this exciting project. 
It is worth recalling a few points about t\ 
without needing fertilisation, and so can < 
hybrids. The group appears to share some 

Dryopteris filix-mas, but at least one ancestor has still to be found. There seem 
three good species within the complex in the British flora, with seven or so distinct 
morphological forms. 

For the last two years, we have been accumulating data on the various morphological 
forms, wherever possible using the same set of cultivated plants, to enable accurate 
correlation of distinguishing features. We have worked with Mary Gibby, who has carried 
out cytological examination of the plants. The information so far assembled includes 
photographic and scanning electron microscope images of sori, chromosome numbers 
and pairing behaviour, descriptive data on over thirty diagnostic characters and a computer 
expert system' that can be used to identify an unknown specimen. This year we hope 
to add iso-enzyme and flavonoid data, which may give conclusive evidence on the biological 

987-88, the Botanical Society of the British Isles organised a sample survey of the 

... .~~, w„, llIC uuianibai ouuieiy oi ine Driusn isies a 
vascular plants of the British Isles to assess changes in 
carried out in the 1 950s and 1 960s. They recorded th< 

pattern of 429 pre-selected 10km squares in Britain 

and in each of these squares, they recorded the same in 3 pre 
squares). We are proposing to map the D. affinis complex 

give a reasonably precise and statistically so— 1 - : ~* * 

of various morphological forms of the 
complex across the British Isles. All records 
will be lodged with the Biological Records 
Centre at Monks Wood. 
People will be able to contribute by collecting 
fronds of all the distinct morphological forms 
that can be found in any of the 1 0km squares 
in the sample. Records from other squares 
not in the sample will also be very welcome. 
Anyone wishing to participate in the project 
can obtain a pack containing full details of 
the project, the 1 0km squares concerned, the 
latest identification notes on the known 
morphological forms, record cards and notes 
on how best to collect and preserve material 
can be obtained by writing to either B.P.S. 
Mapping Project, c/o Fern Section, The 
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, 
London SW7 5BD, or to A C Piqott 



P J ACOCK, 13 Star Lane, St Mary Cray, Kent BR5 3U 
There is a number of problems in keeping horsetails healthy without I 
amok. Kept in pots, there are problems with watering control, growth c 
out of the bottom of the pots, silica and other deficiencies, and the r< 

i trying to confine horsetails to clay pots sunk t 
ble to risk the more vigorous species as my i 

any escaped from the confines of their pots Fortunately Equisetum 
hyemale, E. x moorei, E. variegatum and E.bogotense are very well behaved and have 
; while taking in water through the sides and 

n the top pool in the garden and 
run out into a lower pool, but a tank could also be free standing Before building such 

as moving such a heavy structure, once constructed, will be, to say the least, problemai.c! 
Some horsetails definately need shade and can suffer severe scorching in hot sun, 

Figure 1 - Equisetum 

based concrete < 

fitted a two inch (5cm) plastic 

; an overflow The outflowing 

3uilt a tank two and a half feet (75cm) deep by about two feet (60 cm) wide by t 
et (90cm) long, using a strong concrete mix with a -«-» 
i make it thoroughly waterproof. To avoid stagnation 

ain pipe about six inches (15cm) from the bottom 

ater ,s allowed to run into a lower pond an e *f t^*^ 

■e concrete was set I made a 5 to 6 part sharp sand to cement mortar m.xw^ 

'as water porous. At this stage I also included some apples r * 

> rot away and leave water cavities. Care must be taken, th< 

ot to allow the horsetail roots to escape their confines. 


Into the mortar I sank various lengths of 5 inch (12cm) and 7 inch (18cm) drain pipes 
cut into lengths from 15 inches (40cm) to 28 inches (70 cm). I used an angle grinder 
to cut the pipes, bought damaged from a builder's merchant. This is a hazardous job 
on two accounts, namely, the danger of the tool and the dust created. If in any doubt, 
I would recommend getting someone else to do it. An aesthetic arrangement of the 
two sizes of pipe were then placed into the mortar, making sure each bottom is sealed. 
I also included a two inch plastic pipe amongst the drain pipes so that most of the 
water passed down to the bottom of the sump rather than to a few favoured tubes. 
The porous mix was then placed around the outsides of the pipes to within three inches 
(8cm) of the top. 

I fitted a plug of the waterproof mix across the top to cap between the pipes so that 
water could flow along the top and into various tubes in greater or lesser amounts. 

From then on it was trial and error with vat 

which situation. I have not lost any yet in two to three years, but E. fluviatiie does 

get badly scorched, and, you would probably have guessed anyway, E. arvense has escaped 


MARTIN RICKARD, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shropshire, 
SY8 2HP 

One of the first books on ferns that I bought back in the mid-sixties was History of 
British Ferns by Edward Newman (1854). By today's standards it is still an excellent 
book giving much information not available before or since. One of the features of the 
book was the fairly frequent mention of sites, mysterious to me at the time, such as 
Ludlow, Leominster, Titterstone Clee, Aymestrey and Shobdon in the Welsh Marches. 
About fifteen years later, by sheer good fortune, I moved into the heart of this region 
and began discovering these names for myself and something of Newman's ferny activities 

1826 Edward's parents (George and Ann) moved to Leominster 

from Godalming i 

Surrey to join the family grocery business at 1 2 Broad Street, Leominster (now £ 
agent's). Although it seems that Edward never lived in the town, 
1876) that at about 1830 he started planting ferns in his parent's ga 
presumably at Broad Street. Then in 1836, with his brother Henry, he transplanted them 
all into one spot which he called his fern garden, adding a few species collected in 
Wales. He further developed the collection in 1837, 1838 and 1839. He was surprised 
how easily all the species could be cultivated (Newman, 1876). A full account oJh«s 
fernery at Leominster is given in the introduction of A History of British Ferns (lo^j, 
reprinted in 1844, but left out of later editions. The garden was enclosed _ by J^"f n ° e 
all but the north side, and further divided by "close imitations of 
stone walls that ever deformed the face of a hedge-less country"! (Newman, 
Armed with the above information I hunted around the town of Leominster to 
find his fernery. Research led me to 46, Etnam Street. George Newman mov 
from Broad Street in 71836 and stayed until his death in 1845, when it passed t 
(Edward's brother) until he moved out in 1 855. The house was lived in by various rr 
of the family until 1901 when Henry returned there to live until 1908, when 
Sadly, for me, the house has now been converted to a children's home and t 
garden is barren. It is, however, partially surrounded by walls and I feel pre 
that this was the site of the 1836 fernery. Certainly in living memory (c. IS 


Pteridologist2,3(1992) 131 

1 Leominster is rather complicated, and I am very grateful 
9 relationships for me There are several addresses 
which were inhabited by members of the family during the middle to late nineteenth 
century. One is the greengrocer's shop at 12, Broad Street, together with 14 Broad 
Street - both with little scope for a garden. Others were Newlands House, a Swiss 
chalet type building in spacious grounds on the western side of the town and, nearby. 
The Vista. Sadly, Newlands House was demolished earlier this century for the building 
of a housing estate, but even today evidence of the estate can be seen in the abundant 
Cyclamen hederifolium throughout the site and, in one garden, a few plants of Polystichum 
setiferum 'Divisilobum'. I have not yet been able to trace The Vista 
Rumour has it that there was a good grotto at Newlands House well stocked with ferns, 
however, I am beginning to question this because, not far away on the Barons Cross 
Road, the final ex-Newman residence I have traced still survives This is Buckfield which 
was built in 1863 for Josiah Newman (another of Edward's brothers) when he moved 
from 14, Broad Street. On Josiah's death in 1885 the property was taken over by h.s 
son, Henry Stanley Newman JP. It is a magnificent pre 

with ornate ironwork and a superb stone fountain. At t 

archway there is one of the finest surviving \ 

1872 by Pulham and Sons of Broxhourne, Herts. A later member of this 

firm, J R Pulham, was coerced into the secretaryship of our Society from 1948 50 by 

W B Cranfield, although he was not a fern man. 

The work of Pulham and Sons was recently featured on the BBC TV programme The 

Victorian Flower Garden. The rockwork shown in the programme at Madresf.eld Court 

in Worcestershire was constructed in 1878-9, although dated 1876 in Picturesque 

Ferneries and Rock Garden Scenery by Pulham (c. 1877). It is remarkably sim,lar "} 

style to the one at Buckfield Keep (as the half of the house with the grotto is called 

today). Both are constructed of, mostly, artificial rock, presumably ' 

was made up of little more than a core of miscellaneous rubble faced with a rock coloured 

cement. At Buckfield, however, it does seem possible that the red sandstone rock .s 

natural Herefordshire stone. These 'boulders' were very skilfully arranged into strata 

giving the overall effect of a grotto in the best picturesque traditions. Pulham s 

description of the Buckfield Keep grotto suggests that, though small, it was one ot n.s 

more imaginitive efforts (Pulham c. 1877). 

From the outside at Buckfield Keep there is little evidence of a grotto. a^ f ~ m a 

large ra.sed bank and an entrance through a small conservatory, glazed in tWica^'Ctona" 

«yTo. with a rock surround (Fig. 1, opp. p. 132). Straight on , a smal I ch amb er wh« re 

the vine in the adjacent vinery was encouraged to spread its r00 % Th %' S ^^ 

a rock arch while, to the right through a short rock lined passage Fig. 2 opp V- 32 

is the larger chamber, measuring about 20 feet wide by 30 feet long (6 9- res) 

This is beautifully rugged in construction, including geological faults in i "J * roc k s ^ 

There is a raised walkway at one end over a ^ ^"^^J^ J^S 

small glazed area, presumably reserved for filmy ferns^At one i 

but it has been open to the elements since about 1950; nevertheless, some ferns 

survived, including:- 

Polystichum setiferum 'Divisilobum' Dryopteris oreades 

Cyrtomium fortune! * f inis [f^^Z 

Ccaryotideum Selagmella krauss.ana 

Asplenium scolopendrium 

Pteris cretica 

Adiantum capillus-veneris 

132 Ptehdologist 2. 3{1992) 

At one time the collection must have been very impressive, as the estate agent's house 
sale details of 1914 mention 'Dixonia', 'Antarchia', {Dicksonia 
and 'Radicaus' [Woodwardia radicans !). 
The grotto at Buckfield Keep is 
framed glasshouses. Thanks to t 
is in reasonable conditio 
too quickly, unless funds can be raised in the near future for n 
This grotto never belonged to Edward Newman but it seems probable that he was cor 
during its construction and planting four years before his death. We have it on 
that he had a severe illness in 1873 but recovered quite well until his final illness i 
1876. I like to think that he was fit enough during t 
have some involvement in the establis 
of the ferns there today are < 
1830. Is this the oldest surviving private fern collection in Britain? ! The owner of Buckfield 
Keep, Mrs D Blanchard, is happy to let BPS members inspect this grotto for themselves 
if they make a prior appointment; her telephone number is Leominster 612063. 
There is one other grotto still surviving i 
structure adjacent to Grange Court, which since 1939 has « 
Council offices. This grotto was probably I 

wife, Helen, daughter of Henry (Edward's brother) with whom Edward had built up the 
original fern collection back in 1836. Ornaments and possibly ferns from 46 Etnam 
Street were used in its establishment. The Neilds, like the Newmans, were Quakers. 
Grange Court has another Newman collection; it is illustrated in History of British Ferns 
1854, page 257, as Leominster market-house. A year later, 1855, the building was 
dismantled and moved to its present site by a Mr Arkwright (of the Spinning Jenny 

Although Edward did not live in Leominster he presumably used it frequently as a base 
for exploring the local countryside. The place names mentioned at the beginning of 
this article are within 15 miles of the town. Further evidence of his local rambles can 
be found in his accounts of Herefordshire Ferns (Newman, 1842) and Butterflies and 
Moths (Newman, 1869-70). It is a source of continual pleasure to me when I explore 

Shobdon r 

i around Aymestrey quarry to think that Edward Newman v 

i many cases his records c 

I would like to thank Mrs Blanchard for permission to examine her grotto and for supplying 
many facts about the Newman family in Leominster. I would also like to thank Mrs 
Bentley-Taylor for alerting me to the existence of these Leominster grottoes. 

NFwmau' V 840 A Hist °n> of British Ferns. London. 

J2' ! *J 2 Coun? - Herefordshire). Phytologist, 1,398. 

2 am I f 44 A History of Bntish Ferns and Allied Plants. London. 
S' E 1854. A History of British Ferns. London. 

Kfwmam I 0874 ' A H ' St0ry ofBritish Fer " s ™ h ° r p e°P'e' s edition London , H tion 

NEWMAN En.d. An illustrated Natural History of British Butterflies and Moths (first ed.t.on 

1869-70). London. 
NEWMAN, T P. 1876. Memo.r of the Life and Works of Edward Newman. London, reprinted by 

E W Classey, 1 980. 
PULHAM, J (c. 1877). Picturesque Ferneries and Rock Garden Scenery. London. 

Entrance to grotto at Buckfield K 

Fig. 2. Grotto at Buckfield Ke< 

2,3(1992) UJ 

given at the autumn indoor meeting at Kew, 1991). 
MARTIN RfCKARD, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shropshire. 
SY8 2HP 

During the one hundred years since our Society's formation fern growers have tended 
Jen space on the cultivation of our British species 
se, nothing wrong with that and I am a very keen 
grower of as many cultivars of our native species as I can raise or find However, in 
the last few decades, propagating material from more exotic species has become available 
and the temptation to explore the potential for hardy introductions from overseas has 

My initial interest in growing hardy exotic ferns was boosted by meeting Gerry Downey 
of Bicknacre, Essex in the early 1 970s. Living not far apart, we got together and exchanged 
plants fairly frequently. I was most impressed by the range of his collection, including 
many ferns I'd never seen before, e.g. numerous woodsias, many Northern American, 
European and New Zealand native species, as well as a large number of non-hardy 
types, including filmy ferns and young tree-ferns. At around this time my interest was 
further stimulated by the enquiries of another member, Richard Rush, who was actively 
in contact with fern growers around the world, bulding up a register of ferns grown 
out of doors in their respective temperate regions. Richard's research eventually led 
to the appearance of his excellent book, A Guide to Hardy Ferns, published by the Society 
in 1984. I am quite sure this book had a worldwide impact on fern growers, encouraging 

Obviously, quite a lot of hardy ferns had been in cultivation for many years (see Reginald 
Kaye's book Hardy Ferns, 1969), but if a recent explosion of interest in Britain can be 
traced back to any one factor it is almost certainly the extraordinary collecting ability 
of Christopher Fraser-Jenkins (CRF-J) and his influence on growers like Gerry Downey, 
Richard Rush and me. Throughout this period, while researching into various taxonomic 
problems, notably in Dryopteris, he has been all over the world collecting propagating 
material from hitherto untested species of temperate zones as well as upland regions 
in the tropics. His material has, unselfishly, been made available to the three of us 
at various times, as well as to the Royal Botanic Garden Kew, Chelsea Physic Garden 
and other members of the BPS, including a good collection installed at the Savill Gardens, 
Windsor. A lot of Christopher's collections, from potentially umpromising areas, have, 
surprisingly, become established and proved to be hardy over the last few winters at 
least. Notable examples are many high altitude species from Mexico, Hawaii and the 

When I experiment with planting out new species I tend to play safe, and intially I 
recommend the following simple technique: 

Plant out during the growing season, late June to October, the earlier the better, to 
give the plant maximum time to settle before winter. Of course, choose soil of the correct 
i fern's pH preference is unknown aim for a slightly acid substrata, i.e circa 
i garden out of the prevailing wind, preferably on 
r making artificial banks and mounds. Install 
Plant with its growing axis at 45 degrees, with its roots under a stone and the 
"n protected by the overhanging rim of the stone, so that its fronds grow out more 
>ss horizontally. By this system the plants look natural and the crown is protected 
' excessive winter wet and cold. With prized specimens, straw, or dead lady fern 
ds, etc., placed over the growing point throughout winter is not a bad idea. Some 

Pteridologist 2, 3(1992) 

seemingly inevitable 
i provided by straw etc. can prove doubly useful. 
If an experimental planting fails, try again when further material is available Don't 
automatically assume that the species is not hardy; remember there are many reasons 
why a plant can die! 

The following list of apparently hardy species represents only a minute fraction of the 
ultimate potential for hardy exotic ferns, which could be as high as 2000 species in 
our lowland British climate (more in the mild south-west), but it will, hopefully, stimulate 
other members to explore this rich source of interesting plants for our gardens. 
Adiantum poirettii - Mexico, via CRF-J. Each year I am frightened that this fern won't 
reappear but, so far so good after 4 years, it has! It is a most delicate maidenhair with 
yellow tinted indusia. 8 inches (20cm) tall. (See Fig. 1 , opp. p. 1 33). 
Adiantum x traceyi - North American hybrid between A. jordanii and A. pedatum. Judith 
Jones brought me this plant many years ago and it has thrived. It is not evergreen 
with me but it certainly lasts longer in leaf than most other adiantums. Fronds are 
large, 18 inches tall (45cm), sub-palmate, intermediate between the parents. 
Arachniodes denticulata - Jamaica, Mexico, via CRF-J. Hardy for four years now, a 
remarkably delicate fern with quadripinnate fronds up to 12 inches (30cm) tall with 
me. Almost wintergreen. (See Fig. 2 opp. p. 133). 
Arachniodes standishii - Japan, 
years. Unlike other arachnioid 
Polystichopsis standishii. 24 inches (60cm). 
Blechnum chilense - S. America, or is it B. magellanicum?\ I don't know, but gardeners 
generally seem to accept that the most commonly grown large blechnum is B. chilense. 
There are, however, two distinct equally hardy forms in cultivation; perhaps one is B. 
chilense and the other B. magellanicum? Very handsome, but rarely exceeding 20 inches 
(50cm) with me. In sheltered gardens in the south-west etc. the combined height of 
rhizome and fronds can reach 2 metres. 

Blechnum minus - New Zealand. Long grown by Reg Kaye, it is presumably a calcifuge 
but does very well in a neutral soil on top of Westmorland limestone at Silverdale. 
A broad-fronded, pinnate, pale green species, up to 12 inches tall (20-30cm), with a 
creeping rhizome. 

Davallia mariesii - Japan. Hardy in neutral rock work. The only Hare's Foot Fern of 
proven hardiness but the related Davallia stenolepis may be worth trying outside in 
a sheltered spot. 8 inches (20cm). (see Fig. 3, opp. p. 133). 

Denstaedtia appendiculata - Himalaya, via CRF-J. A pale green species with finely divided 
quadnpinnatifid fronds up to 3 feet tall (1 metre). Deciduous. Unlike D. punctiloba it 

Dryopteris crispifolia - Azores. Named and introduced into cultivation by Dr Mary Gibby 

(Gibby, 1984). Perfectly hardy and large growing, 30 inches (80cm), spreading fronds, similar to Dryopteris dilatata 'Crispa Whiteside'. 

Dryopteris lepidopoda - Himalaya via CRF-J. About 24 inches tall (60cm), very similar 

to D. wallichiana but has the great advantage of all new fronds being flushed a deep 

red colour until fully uncurled, as in D. erythrosora. 

Dryopteris tokyoensis - a distinct species from Japan. Fronds erect, pale green, up to 

30 inches tall (80cm) in Prof. Reichstein's southern Swiss garden. Pinnate or bipinnatiT.a. 

Ptendologist 2, 3(1992) 135 

Dryopteris wallichiana - Himalaya, Mexico, Hawaii, etc Well established in cultivation 
but usually as a dark scaled form. The precise origin of this form is obscure but n is 
presumably Himalayan? Mexican specimens introduced by CRF-J with paler scales were 
formerly separated as D. parallelogramma but these have now been sunk into D 
5 fern about 6 feet tall (2 metres) in Prof Reichstem's garden 
t rarely taller than 3 feet (1 metre) with me 
lalaya, via CRF-J. Possibly the most finely divided of all ferns 
» with ultimate segments almost linear 

Peranema cyatheoides - Himalaya. Noted as hardy i 

fern; its diagnostic character is the sorus suspended o 

Phanerophlebia macrosora - Mexico, via CRF-J. A tall, 30 inch (80 cm), pinnate fronded 

relative of the cyrtomiums with a long stipe covered with papery scales, particularly 

near the base. Pinnae longer and narrower than most cyrtomiums Only a few fronds 

are produced in early spring and autumn; possibly production is controlled by daylength 

(or drought?). 

Phanerophlebia pumila - Mexico, via CRF-J. A small, 12 inch (30 cm), simply pinnate 

fern related to the cyrtomiums. Pinnae margins serrate, pinnae few and widely spaced 

Produces more leaves annually than P. macrosora. (See Fig. 4. opp p. 133) 

Ptecosorus spinosissimum - Mexico. A high altitude fern perhaps related to Polystichum 

Collected by CRF-J. It is a very scaley plant with lanceolate fronds, hardy here for four 

years. Very distinct. So far fronds only 12 inches long (30 cm) with me, but often tw.ce 

as large in the wild. (See Fig. 5, opp. p. 133). 

Polystichum longipaleatum (P. setosum) - Himalaya via CRF-J. Magn.f.cent large glossy 

fronds, 18 inches (45 cm), covered with pale brown bristles. Young fronds resemble 

bunches of hairy caterpillars! 

Polystichum neolobatum - Japan. I was given this by Anne Sleep as not hardy in Yorkshin 

Here in Herefordshire it has suceeded well with its capping of J 

beautiful glossy deep-green species, frc 
texture, spiny to touch. 1 5 inches (40 cm). (See Fig. 6, opp. p. 1 33). 
nalaya, via CRF-J. Fronds pinnate an 

• winter A 

Polystichum squamosum - Himalaya, via CRF-J. Virtually indistinguishable 

P. neolobatum, but, if I haven't confused my labels, fronds of this are rec 

when young. 1 5 inches (40 cm). 

Polystichum stenophyllum - Himalaya, via CRF-J and othi 

species, fronds 6 inches (15 cm) long by less than one 

a bulbil near the tip. The fronds have a slight yellowy tint. 

Polystichum vestitum - New Zealand. Hardy here in for several years 

but remains small, 10 inches (25 cm). In the mild climate of Inverewe -n north-west 

Scotland this species grows to an enormous size, perhaps 30 inches (70 or 80 cm). 

Rachis and stipe very scaley. (See Fig. 3, opp. p. 133) 

magnificent specimen 
is quite unlike bracken 

Pteris wallichiana - Himalaya. Grown for very many years £ 
plant by Lt-Col. Philip Coke at Stinchcombe in Gloucestershin 
and not likely to be invasive. The lamina is fan-shaped (rathi 
held horizontally at the top of a naked rachis, about 3 feet tall (1 metre). Dec.duous. 


Stegnogramma pozoi - Spain, France and tropical Africa. Hardy with me in a humid, 
sheltered spot. The graceful pendulous, pale green, pubescent, lanceolate fronds are 
most attractive growing from a sheltered rock crevice. Deciduous. Calcifuge. 12 inches 
(30 cm). 

Thelypteris erubescens - Himalaya, via CRF-J. Thelypteroids are not usually considered 
important garden plants, but this species could prove the exception if initial indications 
of hardiness are confirmed. The shuttlecock of fronds over 3 feet (1 metre) long are 
graceful in their own right, but there is the added attraction of aerophores (breathing 
structures) at the point where each pinna joins the rachis. Needs a moist shaded site. 

> native of the Pacific Northwest, introduced to me by Judith 
:o 4 feet tall (120 cm), quite unlike the standard 
species of woodwardia with spreading fronds. 

Woodwardia unigemmata - a beautiful near relative of W. radicans over which it has 
several advantages. W.unigemmata is hardier, surviving unprotected here for at least 
four winters (although remaining small); with protection it becomes enormous with 6 
foot (2 metre) long spreading fronds, most with a single bulbil at its tip. New fronds 
are richly flushed with red. 

Space precludes making the above list any longer, but I hope it gives some idea of 
the range of hardy ferns potentially hardy in our British gardens. 

GIBBY, M. 1984. Dryopteris crispifolia - a beautiful fern for the garden. Pteridologist 1 ,13. 
KAYE, R. 1968. Hardy Ferns. London. 
RUSH, R. 1 984. A Guide to Hardy Ferns. London. 


Collectors' Corner 

Following up Barry Thomas's Shorter Note in the 1991 Pteridologist 2. 2, p.80, it may 
be of some interest to record an amusing happening last summer. 
Judith Jones, our Seattle, USA member and owner of Fancy Fronds Fern Nursery, stayed 
with me for two weeks after the International Fern Symposium held in July, during 
which she lectured twice. We spent the time, partly in the West Country, seeing ferns 
in the wild and visiting fern gardens. A visit was paid to Peter Boyd's Museum in Barnstaple 
(see Pteridologist 1.6, 1989). One of Judith's strong interests is in antiques and she 
found much to interest her in the Museum, particularly artifacts with fern motifs. One 
which particularly interested her was a Victorian chamber-pot, artistically decorated with 
fern fronds. One of her ambitions, we learned, was to possess such an antique. 
Later, before she returned home to the USA, I took Judith to visit a large antique emporium 
in an Essex village, a few miles north of me. An energetic time was spent here and 
after making many purchases we descended to the ground floor to pay for them. While 
this was being done I had time to gaze idly around me, when my eye was arrested 
in a startling manner - on a shelf above my head reposed a chamber-pot and, surprise, 
surprise! - it was very beautifully decorated with fern fronds! Very cautiously (I knew 
what would happen) I drew my friend's attention to it. Pandemonium broke loose, f 
sales personnel were startled and Judith was like a dog with not f 

t twenty 

i postscript, it is interesting to add that, among the Society's memorabilia exh *'* 
ur Centenary celebrations at our birthplace in Kendal, Cumbria in September 19* . 
chamber-pots, beautifully decorated with fern fronds, were among the exhibits. 


develops at Brantwood, on the shores of Coniston Water 

E.S. BEAMISH, Brantwood, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AD 

Brantwood estate 

iing back 5000 years I 

sold in 1852 to W.J Linton (see Fig. ' 
wood engravers c 
;. He was involved, in the 1 830 
i the radical republican fringe 

haphazard zeal, 
3 printing press to publish 
another crusading magazine, the 
'English Republic'. However, as with many ol 
short-lived, party due to the inaccessibility < 

Fig 1 W.J. Linton 

Brantwood from i 

> publication was 

. thought was I 

and wrote a 

;o often happens, Linton has his best mem 

t significant work, but in one of his hobbies. ' 

t exquisitely illustrated book, The Ferns of The English Lake Country. 
„ Q ~» s- i 965 | t i S from this work that the inspiration for a new 
Linton Fern Garden' at Brantwood is being drawn. It was felt that the gardens, though 
largely to be designed around the principles and ideas of John Ruskm. also owed a 
memorial to Linton, the first serious gardener, writer, artist and botanist to live here 
Last Easter, it was decided to reopen the Ice House - a cave blown into the roc o 
the hillside by local quarrymen, lined with brick and mortar and used for storing .ce 
throughout the year. The areas around the Ice House were densely overgrown with 
Rhododendron ponticum, presenting a rather dank and gloomy approach to the Ice House 
tunnel In the archives at Brantwood there exists an etching of this area of the garden, 
showing its originally open woodland character. It was, therefore, deeded that the steep 
rocky wooded slopes above and around the Ice House with their naturally r "° ,s ^ ac ^ 
soil would be an ideal siting for a collection of fern and cult.vars based upon 
those listed by Linton in The Ferns of The English Lake Country^ This P^J^^*"* 
undertaken in three sections, with the help c 
. The first bed, at* 

f The Friends of Ruskir 

138 Pteridologist2,3(1992) 

with a collection of the indigenous ferns recorded by Linton as being found in the Coniston 
Valley, (see Appendix). Bed 2, further up the slope, will contain a selection of cultivars 
developed from the parent ferns in Bed 1. This area will be divided by an old pathway 
into, on one side, the more spectacular forms and, on the other, the 'quieter', less 
3 ferns. A winding path leads on to the third area, which will contain examples 
) other fern species mentioned by Linton as being found in the 'Lake Country', 

we also hope to take visitors in amongst the ferns to < 

of these plants as individuals - 

It is, therefore, going to be i 

and that any other interpretive material be simply written, but interesting and informative. 

If any of you, and particularly those in the Lake District area, are able to help with 

sorting out nomenclature and the relationships between the fern species and cultivars, 

I would love to hear from you. At present, we plan to label usina the names that Linton 


J project. 

and scope of our small corner of the fern world. I I 
three editions of Linton's book - the second edited by Barnes and the third by Whitwell. 
I have yet to get hold of these last two editions, but gather that they are increasingly 
full of information, particularly about the many cultivars identified by the end of the 
last century. 

We are also hoping to create a collection of mosses, as groundcover to s 

The propagation and cultivation of these is another subject, as yet to be ir 

Our collection of ferns will gradually evolve over a number of years, being initially restricted 

by the large number of cultivars not available commerciallly. We will certainly be happy, 

in the future, to participate, with both spores and plants, in the British Pteridological 

Society exchange schemes, but will rely somewhat, in the early years, on the generosity 

of those with suitable plants to spare. 

For anyone coming to the Lake District, we would be pleased for you to visit our Linton 

Fern Garden, and would welcome any advice or comments on our work. It is proving 

an exciting and immensely stimulating project for all involved. 

Cystopteris fragilis 
Dryopteris x brathaica 

,3(1992) 1J» 


D SYNNOTT, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 

Oak fern, Gymnocarpium dryopteris (L) Newman, has been reported from nine Irish 

by Praeger (1901 ) for Irish Topographical Botany, apparently based on the assessments 

of Moore and More (1866) and Colgan and Scully (1898). The situation was unchanged 

when Praeger (1934) published his vice-county census in The Botanist m Ireland Since 

then there have been reports of the species in Antrim (Stelfox, 1949) and Cavan (Jermy 

et ai, 1978, and Clapham ef a/., 1987). Apart 1 

only the Antrim records are supported by herbarii 

little doubt as to the accuracy of at least three of the other sightings 

The first Irish record for the oak fern appears in Wade (1 804), "...three 

Found in the stony parts of Turc mountain, Killarney; and among the rocks at tne tan 

of Mam Turc, Cunnamara, Joyce country side". Mackay (1 825) adds, "Foot of the Mourne 

mountains near Tollymore Park". "Tollymore" was to become "Tullamore, County Offaly" 

in Moore's, Nature Printed Ferns (1855). Mackay (1836) calls the plant, "tender three 

branched Polypody" and gives the Irish record as, "Dry stony places in mountainous 

countries. On the Mountains of Mourne; Turk Mountain, Killarney; Mam-turk, Cunnemara, 

» give an accurate description c 

I apparently 

3 dismissed as errors based on beech fern by Moore 
d More (1 866), "We fear that the stations in Districts 1 and 8 belong to P. phegoptens". 
David Moore had found oak fern growing high up on Knocklayd. Co Antrim, in 1836 
There are three fronds of Moore's Knocklayd collection in the general at 
Glasnevin and four, two each in volumes 5a and 5b, in his Hortus Siccus of the Antrim 
flora, also preserved at Glasnevin. All of the fronds are sterile and one. in volume 5a 
of the Hortus Siccus, has a small piece of rhizome attached. 

The Knocklayd record was first published by Newman (1844) but repeated in Cybele 
Hibernica (Moore and More, 1866). The species grew as "a single plant according 
to Newman, or "sparingly" according to Moore and More. Stewart and Corry (1888) 
considered the plant extinct on Knocklayd, and Stewart and Praeger (1895) make the 
following interesting comment, "... a more unlikely habitat for this fern than the bare 
slopes of Knocklayd could not be imagined, ...could it have been planted there, as R 
Robertianum was on Carlingford Mountain?". Johnson (1893) explains .n ,1878 my 
brother and I planted a quantity of Polypodium calcareum on Carlingford Mountain... 
I write this note to let it be known ... that P. calcareum ... is not indigenous 
Stelfox (1949), in his report of exciting later finds, records a further possible -sighting 
of oak fern on Knocklayd. Charles Oldham recalled seeing it therem May_ii aij^ne 

in North Wales. Oldham refused to allow his fifteen year old recollection to be PuW'shfd. 
since he feared that his memory might have played some trick. The ever ^Stelfox 
(1949) states, "Personally I have never since doubted that he saw the oa e 
Knocklayd, somewhat below the summit and on the north face ot tne ^n 
mistakenly reported the altitude as 1800 ft; the summit of Knocklayd is lb»o rt. 
The Knockagh locality listed in Dickie (1864) is an error for Knocklayd. 

There is another specimen of oak fern collected by David Moore in the Glasnev ^erbanurn 
apart from the Knock.avd specimens. It was collected at Castle Howard Park (CountY 

label which gr 
from a cultiv 


>gist 2, 3(1992) 

Oak fern was next reported from County Leitrim, "Benbo mountain, near Manorhamilton 
in Leitrim!, at 800ft above the sea, the late Mr. J. Wynne" (Moore and More, 1866)' 
The use of the exclamation mark is not explained but probably denotes, as in later 
conventions, that a specimen was seen by the authors. A collection of fern specimens 
made by Wynne survives at Glasnevin. It includes Irish, British and Continental specimens, 
attributed to Mr. Mackay, Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Bishop, Capt. During and J.A.W. (Wynne), 
and among them are oak fern specimens from Inverness, Ingleborough and Wales, the 
last initialled, "J.A.W.". The collection cannot be dated but it demonstrates that Wynne 
was sufficiently interested in ferns to have identified the oak fern correctly. Wynne also 
reported beech fern from Glenade, Co. Leitrim (Moore and More, 1866) where it still 

Praeger (1934a) comments, "The Leitrim station for the oak fern (Benbo) was also 
examined in 1933 without success. The record is puzzling, for Benbo is a bare peaty 
hill of metamorphic rock with very little outcrop of rock and no suitable chinks where 
the fern might lurk, nor any gullies or glens". 

Robert Warren made the next addition to the oak fern record. His report of the plant 
is in More (1872), "Near Lough Talt! on the Ox Mountains, Sligo". Warren (1897) gave 
further details of the Lough Talt record in a comment on Colgan's (1896) notes on the 
flora of the Ox Mountains, "It (oak fern) used to grow on the road side between some 
stones at the base of the fence nearly opposite the Police Barrack, where I found it, 
and sent some fronds to my esteemed and valued friend, the late A.G. More, and afterwards 
showed him some plants taken from that site, and growing in the garden here". There 
was no sign of oak fern in its Sligo station when Praeger searched for it in 1933. He 
reported (Praeger, 1 934a), "No trace of the oak fern was seen in the fences (mostly 
old stone-faced) either on the road which passes the now ruined barrack, the newer 
road immediately below, or the short road connecting the two - only Cystopteris fragilis, 
Asplenium trichomanes, A. adiantum-nigrum, A. ruta-muraria, Scolopendrium, Athyrium 
and Lastrea filix-mas". 

Warren was a friend and correspondent of A.G. More. He lived at Moyview, six miles 
north-east of Ballina, in County Sligo. On a visit to Achill in 1873 More became ill 
and noted in his diary for 6th August, "On return I found my friend R. Warren come 

The Clare r 

i was there again in August 1875 (Moffat, 1898). 

icord is in the same category, perhaps no more than a garden escape, it 
is, "Roadside between Broadford Village and the Cliffs of Moher, T.H. Wright" (Colgan 
and Scully, 1898). An obituary of Thomas Wright appears in the Gardeners' Chronicle 
for 5th October 1889. He was a member of the Society of Friends and described as 
a distinguished botanist and pteridologist and a large contributor to the Flora of Cork 
(i.e., Alhn, 1 883). Some of his plant specimens survive in the collection of Thomas Chandlee 
at Glasnevin (see, e.g., Linaria repens) but there is no specimen of the oak fern. 
All of the Kerry records are dismissed by Moore and More (1866) as errors based on 
mis.dentifications of beech fern. The Muckross specimen in Taylor's herbarium (Newman, 
1844) is likely to be from a cultivated plant. 

The Wicklow records for oak fern, "At Sheenabeg near Aughrim, very sparingly, 1879, 
b.H. Kmahan" (Colgan and Scully, 1898) and, "Hill overlooking Glendalough, 1879, E.S. 

1899), are discussed by Brunker (1950) who attributes t 
record to a lapsus calami, since the site is occupied by another rare fern, Asplenium 
billot,,, and the second record to a trick of memory, being reported twenty years after 
the supposed sighting. Marshall's record (1899) was reported in a review, with additional 
records, of the second edition of Cybele Hibernica, which gave rise to a gentleman* 
(pp. 269-272, 315-317, 

Apart from the very dubious sightir 

Stelfox (1949) there have been two reports < 

a very successful investigation of the Garron Plateau in 1949. Stelfox found "a nice 

clump of oak fern ... about 12-15 fronds" on the bank of the Pollan Burn (Stelfox. 1949). 

and comments, "I must agree with Dr. Praeger that the plant is more likely to be due 

to a chance wind-borne spore from Scotland than the last remnant of an Antrim colony" 

He continues in optimistic vein, "Nevertheless, if it occurs in a chink of rock by the 

Pollan Burn, there seems no reason why it should not occur in a similar situation alongside 

any river or stream in N.E. Ireland - or N.W. Ireland for that matter" The Pollan Burn 

plants were still there in 1975 (Hackney, 1982). 

The other recent record for the oak fern is a dot (22/39) in the Fern Atlas (Jermy et 

ai, 1978) for the Bruse Hill area of County Cavan. This Cavan record is repeated in 

Clapham et ai (1 987) but is an error (Curtis and McGough, 1 988). 


In the first half of the nineteenth century oak fern certainly grew on Knocklayd in Country 

Antrim. Several other records for it were errors based on sightings of beech fern, 

Phegopteris connectilis (Michx) Watt. In the second half of the century oak fern was 

seen in Leitrim, Sligo and Clare by reputable botanists who had their records accepted 

by the distinguished compilers of botanical records of that period, Moore and More (1 866), 

More (1872) and Colgan and Scully (1898). Specimens were apparently collected from 

each of the three counties but no vouchers survive. Two Wicklow records are thought 

to be based on a slip of the pen and a faulty recollection. Curtis and McGough (1988) 

suggest that oak fern became extinct in County Wicklow as a result of 

but there is no evidence for this and I prefer to accept Brunker's view that the plant 

was in both instances recorded in error for the county. 

The twentieth century records include a very c 

an erroneous report from Cavan and an ac< 

Garron Plateau in County Antrim. 

f Praeger's stated opinion that tne r-onan Burn recu.u 
is more likely to be due to a chance wind-borne spore from Scotland than the last 
remnant of an Antrim colony it seems best to regard the species as a short-lived colonist 
in Ireland. Indeed, wind-borne spores from garden plants might give rise to wild plants. 
Oak fern became established at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, in the early 
1980's on peaty humus between rocks on a recently constructed wall near the rockery 
at a time when the fern was not in deliberate cultivation at the Gardens. The fern 
was grown at Glasnevin as early as 1804. In his catalogue of plants grown at Glasnevin. 
Underwood (1804) describes oak fern as a hardy perennial, "flowering June to 
September, and gives it the English name, "Branching polypody". He does not give any 
country of origin for the plant though he does so for thirty-two of the fifty ferns listed 
in the catalogue, of which fourteen are from Ireland. 

We know from the above records that oak fern was also grown at Castle Howard Park, 
County Wicklow, in the 1840's and also apparently at Muckross, County Kerry where 
it was collected by Thomas Taylor who died in 1848. No doubt it was widely cultivated 
in Ireland as in Britain in the middle and later part of the nineteenth century during 
what has become known as the Victorian Fern Craze. It is a beautiful plant, and would 



certainly have been sought by avid fern growers. Lowe (1865) states, "Nothing can 
exceed the exquisite beauty of this plant, nor the refreshing colour of its most vivid 
green fronds ... it must remain one of the most beautiful species of our cultivated ferns 
... there is a delicious coolness in the colour of the fronds that is refreshing..." 
Page (1982) points out that oak fern frequently grows with beech fern, whose ecology 
i and Ireland (!) it closely parallels, growing in upland 

Oxalis acetosella, Viola riviniana and Anemone nemorosa, i 
woodland species in moist rocky pockets amongst mossy i 
Adoxa moschatellina, Chrysosplenium oppositifolium and Alchemilla alpina. Beech f 
in Ireland is usually found in mountain rock crevices. Upland oak-birch woodland is 
scarcer and the flora of our mossy mountain screes has less of an alpine facies than 
in Scotland. Suitable niches for oak fern are correspondingly fewer. Pioneer plants have 
seldom survived for long. The Pollan Burn record represents the longest surviving Irish 
population and the only one to be found in a natural habitat which might give the plants 
a greater chance of surviving and expanding to the relatively small number of suitable 
niches available. In fact the plant has shown no signs of increasing. Its status is precarious 
and it may already have disappeared from the site. 

Oak fern appears to be an occasional invader from Scotland or from the shelter of Irish 
f established itself on a number of occasions in wild places 
is failed to spread and can doubtfully 
a permanent n 

. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge. 

n*7ZZ' m ' °^? n the fl0ra 0f the 0x Mountains. Irish Naturalist 5: 301 -308. 

Dublin SCULLY ' R W 1898 Contributions towards a Cybele Hibernica. Second edition. 

SSw^iTi McG0UGH ' H -N- 1988. The Irish Red Data Book. Dublin. 

Tcqmv a i * ™? ° ra of Ulster and Botanist's Guide to the North of Ireland. Belfast. 

/s/es London° LD ' "'"" FARRELL ' L and PERRING < F H 1 978. Atlas of Ferns of the British 
JOHNSON^W.F. 1893. Polypodium calcareum. at Carlingford, not indigenous. Irish Naturalist 2: 
LOWE, E.J. 1865. Our Native Ferns. London 
MACKAY J J. 1825. Catalogue of the indigenous plants found in Ireland. Transactions of the Royal 

Irish Academy 74. 1 03- 1 98 
MACKAY, J.T. 1836. Flora Hibernica. Dublin 

mSffat A r r E i S oJ D 89 w Remarks 0n the Cybele Hibernica. Ed. 2. Journal of Botany 37: 269-272. 
MOORFn J*ZL L r e and letters of Alexander Goodman More. Dublin. 
Mnnof' t fo« M ? flE ' AG 1866 Contributions towards a Cybele Hibernica. Dublin. 
MORF a r 5 ? e ferns of Great Brita,n and Ireland (nature printed). London. 

(science) IMltf™ addit '° nS t0 the flora of lre,and Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 1 
NEWMAnTW Hisfory of British ferns. London. 
PRAFr » ' of? I0Z femS of Britain and lreland Cambridge. 

1 410 lnSh Top °9 ra P hical Botan Y Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 23. 

PRaPfr' r m lilt ThG Way that ' went Dublin - 

q?n crfi '*\* ? 34a New sv M8h Naturalists' Journal 5: 33-36. 

STELFOX. A-W 1 949. Notes on some plants found in the Carnlough District and on the Garron 
qTFWART ca Antnm Irish Naturalists' Journal 9: 31 7-326. 
STEWART ! a • a ^ £?? RY ' T H 1 888 A Flora of <he North-East of Ireland. Belfast. 
STEWART S.A. and PRAEGER. R. LI. 1 895. A supplement to the "Flora of the North-East of Ireland 
UNnFR°\A/nnn art . a ^« ° rry Proceedings of the Belfast Naturalists' Field Club 4: 1 33-236. 
UNDERWOOD J. 1804. A catalogue of plants 
harden belonging to The Dublin Society, i 

Glasnevin. Dublir 

Ptendologist 2, 3(1992) 

WADE, W. 1 804. Plantae rariores 

and valuable, found in Irelar 

WARREN, R. 1897. Flora of the Ox 


FERNS IN YOUR GARDEN by John Kelly, 1991. Souvenir Press, pp. 1 76, 260mm 

x 200mm. Price £18.99 

This book is very well-written by a real fern lover. There is very much good sense in 

it, spoilt only by the fact that many old errors are perpetuated In such an acceptable 

fern book, which is going to be popular and authoritative with readers interested in 

growing ferns and in bringing new recruits into the cult, the author has missed a golden 

opportunity to correct them. 

There are nine chapters, covering all aspects of the subject, from ferns in gardens. 

in woodland, in rock gardens, in mixed borders and in pots. His potting information 

is very good and sound. His garden planting procedures are similar to mine, but with 

one extra excellent instruction (p. 35) which I shall adopt in future - first fill the hole 

with fairly HOT water; this should give the roots a better chance to settle down quickly 

Another suggestion which I shall adopt in future writings is to use the word persistent 

instead of evergreen when referring to fern fronds which survive the winter in fresh 


The chapter which, to me, contains much questionable information is Chapter 6, Fern 

shades and changes. The author has chosen a bad example, in Osmunda, for a fern 

which produces two kinds of fronds, fertile and sterile. In this species the Uonds do 

not look different, only some finish 1 

better example to illustrate the two k 

behave quite differently, the sterile 

the fertile ones rigidly upright and ver 

The author persists in referring to Polystichum setiferum 

Pulcherrimum Bevis'. For 1 00 years this fern was thought to be a variety of P. aculeatum. 

In P. setiferum there is a very small and very select section of variation called Pulchemmum 

which is entirely different from Bevis' which, at the time of its finding, was authoritatively 

considered to be a plumosum but, unfortunately, the wrong name got published and 

it was not thought worthwhile to change it. BUT, in moving the variety into P. setiferum 

it became imperative to make the change. (See the BPS Bulletin 2, No.1, 1981). 

The excellent quality of the illustrations in this book is beyond praise and both the author 

and his wife must be congratulated on their photography. The book is worth possessing 

for this alone and it is, therefore, the more disappointing that this is the part of the 

book which contains most of the errors. I would respectfully suggest to the author that, 

if the book runs to a second edition - as I am sure it will, he refers it first to some 

one who is a recognised authority on fern variety naming. 

The book finishes with a chapter listing, with short descriptions, not only British fern 

species but also many foreign hardy ones which can add to the attraction of the fern 

garden. The Appendix includes a short chapter on Fern Diseases and Pests. 

I noted with great pleasure that many of the photographs were taken in the King s 

Gatchell, Ottery St Mary, Devon garden of my good friends Kenneth and Dolsheen Aaiam 

to whom the book is dedicated. This adds to the pleasure I have in giving the dook 

a place on my fern bookshelves. 



Selected abstracts from 1990 and 1991 Fern Gazettes 

Over this period there were three papers on diseases of ferns. In 1990 Hick and Preece 

give a very interesting review of rust diseases; many are more common than you may 

think, especially on Asplenium scolopendrium. Woods, in 1 991 , gives further information 

on rusts on ferns in Mid-Wales, while the third paper, by Irvine, McElwee and Burge, 

also in 1 991 , shows how curl tip disease of bracken has the potential for use in biological 

control of bracken. 

Cytology and taxonomy receive a lot of attention. In 1990 Rasbach and Reichstein gave 

an account of the cytologically non-homogeneous genus Anogramma; variations between 

geographically distinct populations suggest there may be additional taxa awaiting 

description. Walker (1990) gives an account of Gleicheniageae in Costa Rica. If the 

cultivation of these unusual ferns could be mastered, at least one of the species discussed 

here, G. costaricensis, might be hardy in Britain, as it was collected at an altitude of 

3100 metres. Rasbach, Rasbach and Bennert (1 990) give new records and new cytological 

results for the fern flora of Madeira, where Asplenium adiantum-nigrum and A. x ticinense 

are recorded for the first time. In 1991 the systematic status of Matteuccia intermedia 

was discussed by Kato, Suzuki and Nakato; recent information has shown that M. 

intermedia is not a hybrid but a distinct species related to Onoclea orientalis, a new 

name is therefore proposed - Onoclea intermedia. 

Three new hybrids are described. One, Asplenium x ananense by Rossello and Cubas 

(1990), is a new diploid hybrid from Mallorca, Spain, which has probably resulted from 

a cross between A. sagittatum and A. trichomanes subsp. inexpectans. It is a striking 

plant superficially similar to the long known, but very rare, x Asplenophyllitis hybrids. 

The second is a new natural hybrid in the genus Pteris from the Kumaun Himalaya 

described by Pangtey, Samant and Verma (1990); one parent of this hybrid, Pteris x 

khullarii, is thought to be P. wallichiana. Finally, Bennert, Rasbach, Rasbach and Viane 

(1991) announce the discovery of Dryopteris x furadensis, a new endemic fern hybrid 

from Madeira; it is probably a hybrid between D. aitoniana and D. maderensis. 

Several interesting accounts of pteridophyte distribution are given. Pickering and Wigston 

(1 990) discuss the occurrence of Lycopodiella inundata on china clay at Lee Moor, Devon. 

Six new populations of Isoetes x hickeyi in Canada are reported by Brunton and Britton 

(1991). Young and Leon (1991) give a valuable account of the diversity, ecology and 

distribution of high-elevation pteridophytes within the Rio Abesio National Park, in the 

Peruvian Andes (2300 - 4200 metres); several of the species from the alpine list are 

hardy in Britain; it would, therefore, be interesting to test others when material becomes 

available. Variation between ecotypes in Equisetum variegatum in Britain is discussed 

by Stark (1991). This was research part-sponsored by the BPS Greenfield Fund. 

From fossil evidence, Thomas and Quansah (1991) argue the palaeobotanical case that 

the genus Selaginella should be divided into at least two genera. 

Reviews, 1990: 

Flora of the British Isles by A.R. Clapham, T.G. Tutin and D.M. Moore. 

Ferns and Fern Allies of Canada by W.J. Cody and DM. Britton. 

New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants by PJ. Brownsey and J.C. Smith-Dodsworth. 


Proceedings of the International Symposium on Systematic Pteridology by K.H. Shmg 

and K.U. Kramer. 

Sourn African Ferns and Fern Allies by J.E. Burrows. 





Specialist Fern Grower 

A wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially Adiantums 

Culag, Green Lane, Nafferton, Nr. Driffield. East Yorkshire. Y025 OLF 

Send£1 for catalogue 


Judith I. Jones, 
1 91 1 4th Avenue West, Seattle, Washington. 981 19. USA 

Los Angeles International Fern Society 

LAIFS Fern Journal bimonthly includes fern lesson, 

educational meetings, materials, spore store, books. 

Annual dues: $15 domestic, $19 overseas surface, $24 overseas airmail. 

P.O. Box 90943, Pasadena. CA 91109, U.S.A. 

Hazel Rickard 

The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shrops, SY8 2HP 
Please send stamp addressed envelope for list 

The British Pteridological Society 



Jack Bouckley 

J W Dyce 

Jack Bouckley 

John Woodhams 

B A Thomas and J Williams-Davis 

A R Busby 

A R Busby 

Michael G Searle 

Peter H Hainsworth 

J W Dyce 

Neil Timm 

Judith Jones 

Clive Jermy and Anthony Pigott 

Pat Acock 

Volume 2, Part 3, 1992 


President's Letter 

Tribute to Reginald Kaye on his 90th Birthday 

Aquatic Ferns 

The Taxonomy and Identification of Australian and 

New Zealand Dicksonia Tree-ferns 
Concerning some Pests and Cultural Problems that can 

adversely affect the growth of Ferns in Conservatory, 

Greenhouse or Home 
The Glaslyn Bracken Cutter 
Colour in Hardy Ferns 
Ferns in the Home 
Equisetum Fungicides? 
More Adventures with Spores 
Blechnum spicant 'Concinnum Druery 
Raising Ferns from Spores 
Dryopteris dilatata 'Jimmy Dyce' 
Affinis Watch 
Equisetum Park 
Edward Newman (1 801 -1 876) in the Welsh Marches 
Some Hardy Exotic Garden Ferns New or Uncommon 

in Cultivation in Britain 
Ferns of the English Lake Country 
Irish Records for Oak Fern Gymnocarpium dryopteris, 

a Cautionary Tale 
Divide as a Rule 

Dicksonia antarctica and Dicksonia fibrosa - a correction 
Deformed Ferns at Otterhead 
Ferny Doylies 

Centenary Day on Whitbarrow 
Collector's Corner 

Selectd Abstracts from 1990 and 1991 Fern Gazettes 

Illustrated Field Guide to Ferns and Allied Plants 
Cultivation and Propagation of British Ferns 
History of British Pteridological Society 
British Pteridological Society Abstracts and Reports 
A World of Ferns 
Ferns in your Garden 

The Ptehdologist Volume 2 Part 2 was published on 15 May, 1991 

Martin Rickard 130 

D Synnott 

A R Busby 

Martin Rickard 

Primrose Peacock 

Michael G Searle 

Ray Smith 

J W Dyce 

Martin Rickard 

Published by the British Pteridological Society 

Volume 2 Part 4 





Edited by 

Officers and Committee for 1 993 

President: J. H. Bouckley 

President Emeritus: J. W. Dyce, MBE 

Vice-Presidents: J A - Crabbe, C.N. Page, M.H. Rickard, G. Tonge 

Honorary General Secretary A.R. Busby, Croziers', 

and Archivist 1 6 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 

(Tel: Coventry 71 5690) 

Assistant Secretary (Membership); and Miss A.M. Paul, 

Editor of the Bulletin: Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, 

Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD 

Treasurer: Dr N.J. ar , 

184 Abingdon Road, Didcot, Oxon, 0X1 1 9BP 

s Secretary: AC. Pigott, 

I. Hertford, Herts. SG 14 3AQ 

Editor of the Fern Gazette: Dr B A Thomas 

Botany Department, National Museum of Wales, 

Cathays Park, Cardiff CF13NP. 

Editor of the Pteridologist: M.H. Rickard, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, 

Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2HP 

assisted by J.W. Dyce 

R.G. Ackers, Miss J.M. Camus, R. Cooke, Mrs. D. Fortune, 

S. Munyard, Mrs ME. Nimmo-Smith, N.R. Schroder, G. Stark, 

R.N. Timm, 

Fern Distribution Recorder: A.J. Worland, Harcam, Mill Road, Barnham Broom, 

Norwich, NR9 4DE 

Spore Exchange Organiser: Mrs ME. Nimmo-Smith, 201 Chesterton Road 

Cambridge, CB41 AH 

. 34 Solihull Road, Shirley, Solihull, Warwickshire B90 3LG 
Booksales Organiser: S.J. Munyard, 234 Harold Road- 

Hastings, East Sussex, TN35 5NG 
Trustees of Greenfield and Centenary Funds: J.H. Bouckley AR. Busby, Dr N.J. Har s, 
The BRITISH PTERIDOLOGICAL SOCIETY was founded in 1891 and today continues 
for fern enthusiasts. It provides a wide range of information about ferr 

le literature. It also organises formal talks informal *f c f*^ 

meetmgs, gara- a spore exchange scheme and fern ™ok sa'es^^ 

has a wide membership which includes gardeners, nurserymen and Dotanisis, wu ^ 

professional. The Society's journals, the Fern Gazette, Pteridologist and u " er '"- °. nt £ ri doli 
annua///. The Fern Gazette publishes matter chiefly of specialist interest on intema ^ l0 3 nd me eti 

Membersh ip ,s open to a., interested in ferns and fern-aHies ^^SS^J^SSS 
1st January each year) are Full Personal Members f 12.50, Personal Members nm 
Fern Gazette £9.50; Student Membe- '"tions £20. F 

for all journals - an extra £4.00, or for those not receiving the Fern Gazette £2.50. 

(Front cover: Asplenium Scolopendrium 'Laceratum Kaye'. 

Back numbers of the Gazette, Pteridologist and Bulletin are available for P urc ^ £2" 
13 Star Lane, St. Mary Cray, Kent BR5 3U. from whom further details can be ooiain^. 

This issue is dedicated 

to the memory of 


1902 1992 



Ordinary Member of the British Pt€ 

Honorary Member 

Recipient of the Stansfield Medal 

146 Pteridologist 2, 4(1993) 


I first met Reggie Kaye when my main horticultural interest was Alpine plants but even 

then I realised that he was quite a lot more knowledgeable than the majority of plantsmen 

I had encountered up and down the country. 

But Reg could never remember my name!!! 

The day dawned when my garden pursuits advanced to the study, collecting and growing 

of ferns and it did not take me long to realise that the author of one of the best-known 

fern books was the same person who owned the Alpine nursery where some of my 

plants had been purchased. So over I went to Silverdale - this time to buy some ferns 

and it was then that Reggie showed me round his fantastic garden. 

After a few more visits, Reg still could not remember my name!!! 

Some time later I wrote to him to ask if a few of us could visit his nursery and garden. 

I signed the letter with my Christian name, enclosed a S.A.E. and received a reply soon 

after inviting us over. So on the day, as arranged, a couple of car loads arrived at Silverdale 

and there standing near to his sale room was Reggie, complete with pipe. It was quite 

obvious that he recognised me as he walked over and said in a quiet voice "Hallo, 

which one is Jack who wrote to me?". 

I feel sure that had my name been "Didymochlaena trunculata pseudo 'Jacques' " he 

in his company and he will certaily be 



Reginald Kaye died on August 31st 1992. It had to happen one day, but it is still sad 
to think of the passing of such a good friend. I'm sure that members' meetings wit 
him were usually dominated by fern talk but there was so much more to him. He was 
an accomplished pianist, he would frequently sit and play at the baby grand piano - 
squeezed into the front room! He loved sport, particularly tennis - although I can't imagine 
how a nurseryman could ever find time to indulge this passion! During winter evenings 
he studied astronomy and navigation, became involved in amateur dramatics, acting 
in, and producing, a number of plays. In later years he took up painting, a pastime 
he was able to share with his wife, Marion, as they spent many happy hours together 
attempting to capture the essence of the Lakeland countryside. 

Of course, it is his interest in ferns which most concerns us here. Reg's work directly 
for the Society was less .mportant than some others, notably Jimmy Dyce and I Uive 
Jermy, but he made a very significant contribution towards keeping fern growing beto 
the public eye, culminating in the publication of his excellent book Hardy Ferns in lyo^- 
Details of ferns raised and introduced by him are given elsewhere in this issue, 
he was also a leading enthusiast of alpine and other select herbaceous P lants,a ur ° a | 
shared by his son Jeremy. Work in non-fern areas is outside the scope of this ^.^ 
but in passing it is worth saying that his private garden housed one of the best co e 
of alpines. 

Today we are fortunate that Reg was able to pass much of his knowledg ^5g° y at 
grandson, Dominic, and that Dominic is planning to perpetuate the fern nur 
Silverdale. At the time of writing (March 1993) Dominic is in Seattle, Wasn.ngtor 

USA, working with our member, Judith Jones, learning how fern nurseries are run 
over there When he comes back he will be even better qualified to look after, and 
multiply, all the priceless treasures that Reg accumulated at Silverdale We hope he 
will be as successful as his grandfather - a tough act to follow 

One aspect of Reg's nursery work was the trade displays he mounted at flower shows 
These were of the highest standard, often incorporating tons of Westmorland limestone 

a regular exhibitor at Southport and had at least one stand at Chelsea, in 1939 

My wife and I were able to attend Reg's funeral along with six other Society members 
It was a strange occasion. People were not upset, there was a general feeling of well 
being, it was as if Reg was present and approved of the proceedings! We were all 
so happy that Reg, at the age of 90, had been able to receive his Honorary Master 
of Science Degree from Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, only two months before 
his death (See frontispiece). A fitting climax to the life of one of the great fern men 
This issue of the Pteridologist is, therefore, dedicated to the memory of Reginald Kaye 
Although not exclusively given over to articles of relevance to Reg, I hope it will serve 
as just one more happy memory of a man who gave so much pleasure to his family 
and so many of his friends in the British Ptendological Society 
(For more details, see his obituary in BPS Bulletin, 4, 129 1992) 


J WDYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

It is now over six months since my old friend, Reginald Kaye, died in August last year 

m his 91st year I still miss him sadly, although practically the whole length of England 

very little of each other Mental laziness, one of the penalties of old age. also contributed 
and slowed down our correspondence and interchange of fern knowledge 
This led to a great tragedy - on medical advice Reg had to give up his efforts to write 
and publish a second edition of his book. Hardy Ferns. Martin Rickard had already been 
helping Reg with some of the hardy exotic species new to cultivation so, on hearing 
of Reg's decision to abandon the book, Martin and I volunteered to "ghost write it 
for him. Soon afterwards it seems that Reg sent all the material, his writings, line drawings 
and photographs, to me. The parcel never reached me and, as I did not want it to appear 
that I was hurrying him, it was six months later before we contacted each other ana- 
learned of the loss. By this time the "trail had gone cold" and the Post Office could 
not help us However, the book is too valuable to the fern world and, with the help 
of the publishers, Martin and I are now working on an enlarged second edition which 
will be a lasting memorial to our departed friend 

I did not get to know Reg until after the 1939/45 War when I was given the task 
of bringing our Society to life again after a lapse of 8 years He joined the BPS m 
1929, some years ahead of me, and was already well "into ferns in the pre-war years 
while I was still struggling in the beginner stage Association with Reg and with my 
fern mentor Percy Greenfield, the pre-war Secretary of the Society, rapidly increased 
my fern knowledge and a friendship with Reg was begun which lasted for over forty 
years. Away from his fern nursery, which was very time-demanding, we saw very nttie 
of each other That nursery has been a very powerful magnet which has drawn me. 
and many others to Silverdale over the years. Reg did make time to give lectures on 
his ferns, illustrated by his superb colour slides - he was an accompl.shed photographer 

»■*« Ptendologist 2,4(1993) 

and a skilful artist, on canvas as well as in stone in the garden. His magnificent fern 
rock garden in Silverdale remains as a monument to his skill in the last-named 
accomplishment. He made time, too, to do a 
he was feted by the many fern enthusiasts i 

him in Silverdale it was 
over his many treasures, 
spent by the late Bert Bruty, from Kew Botanic Gardens 
where he was in charge of the Fern Houses, and me, many years ago, when v\ 
to give Reg a week's free labour to bring the collection back into shape after a 
period of neglect. This was not a labour but an education and my knowledge of British 
fern variation improved vastly as a result. 

I could tell of many more happy times spent with Reg and his wife Marion who was 
also a skilled painter, but space forbids. I am left with many happy memories and a 
greatly increased knowledge of ferns from my long association with Reginald Kaye. 


MARTIN H RICKARD, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shrops. SY8 

During his 60 plus years as a nurseryman Reg Kaye raised very many new forms of 
our British ferns; he also was given new forms by other enthusiasts and rescued ferns 
from old collections. Of these new forms many, inevitably, closely resembled earlier 
finds but a few were distinct and of sufficient merit to justify selection, propagation 
and naming. Over such a long period of time it is impossible to give a comprehensive 
account of all Reg's introductions but with the help of his son, Jeremy, and grandson, 
Dominic, I have compiled the following list. I would be very happy to hear of any additions. 
Adiantum pedatum 'Miss Sharpies'. The history of this cultivar is that it was amongst 
a collection of plants amassed by Miss M Sharpies on whose death Reg was offered 
the contents of her garden as the ground was to be built on. The plant was labelled 
'Miss Sharpies' as being its source. Reg was unable to trace its provenance. A Dutch 
nurseryman called at the nursery, presenting bottles of brandy all round and asked 
permission to get a few spores from the fern garden. He was left to collect any he 
fancied. He raised a large stock of 'Miss Sharpies' and they were distributed far and 
wide. Bright golden green in spring. Earliest listing I can find is 1982, but I believe 
Reg first had it in 1965. 

Asplenium scolopendhum (Crispum group) 'Kaye's Splendour'. The sole plant struggled 
for survival at Silverdale after it was described in the Pteridologist in 1988. A beautiful 
form, fronds deeply crisped and lance shaped I fear it is now extinct. Raised from 'Crispum 

Asplenium scolopendhum (Crispum group) Kaye's superb'. See Pteridologist 1988. A 

tall deeply crisped form raised from 'Crispum Moly'. 

Asplenium scolopendhum Ingeborg' Named after a Dutch lady who admired it in the 

nursery An erect ramose marginate cultivar. 

Asplenium scolopendhum Laceratum Kaye'. The most widely known of the Kaye tern* 

It was discovered on a wall in the Silverdale nursery as a couple of chance sporelings 

in 1953 or 1954. Jimmy Dyce pointed it out to Reg but it is quite possible that Reg 

had noticed it earlier Apparently comes 100% true from spore. First described an 

illustrated in the British Fern Gazette in 1 956; the Latin cultivar name is therefore corr 

and legal 

Asplenium scolopendrium Stagshorn' A selected form of ramo-marginate type 
Athyrium filix-femina 'Angustato-cruciatum Kaye's Variety' A selected cruciate form 
where the narrow frond is cruciate throughout its length 

Athyrium filix-femina (Grandiceps group), described as Crispum Grandiceps Kaye' in 
Pteridologist, 1 985. A chance sporeling in the nursery in 1 948 See account in Ptendologist 
1985 for full history and description Listed in the 1989 catalogue, but not available 

Athyrium filix-femina Grandiceps Kaye'. I wonder if this is distinct from Crispum 

Grandiceps Kaye'. 

Athyrium filix-femina 'Nudicaule Cnstatum Kaye' An extraordinary form of grandiceps 

completely lacking any pinnae. Listed in his 1980 list as A filix femma 'Nudicaule 

Cnstatum Kaye's Var ' - a very finely dissected dwarf form This cultivar still lacks a 

legal name 

Anthynum filix-femina (Percristatum group) - marked XXX in the garden by Reg as 

a sign of special quality Probably a sporeling at the nursery 

Athyrium filix-femina (Plumoso-cristatum group) Kaye's sporeling' 

Athyrium filix-femina Sabine'. A delicately cut dwarf crested form 

Athyrium filix-femina Semicruciatum' Listed in the 1957 catalogue Fronds cruciate 

Polystichum setiferum (Brachiatum group) Eaves Wood' A wild find in Eaves Wood 
not far from Silverdale. Brachiate forms in P. setiferum are very i 

Polystichum setiferum Broughton Mills'. Found in the Lake District at Broughton Mills 
by Jimmy Dyce and Reg in 1968. Such a good cultivar would need two of the finest 
fern men to find it! A beautifully crisped dwarf congested form There is some confusion 
over whether or not this cultivar is crested; in the 1982 catalogue Reg says it is lightly 

superficially resemble small c 

discrepancy might be explained if small crests develop it plants get Digger m gem 
Polystichum setiferum (Divisilobum group) Goffey' Sometimes called Mrs Goffey but 
listed by Reg in 1957 as Goffey' Possibly not originally from Reg but I always think 
of this magnificent fern as one of his Broad fronds spread horizontally with extremely 

Polystiochum setiferum (Divisilobum group) John Jeremy Kaye A wild find within a 

quarter of a mile of the nursery by Jeremy Kaye Probably a chance spore from the 


Polystichum setiferum Fol.osum Superbum Kaye' A beautiful plumose form Each pinnule 

slightly sickle-shaped and foliose. 

Polstichum setiferum (Tripinnatum group) - marked XXX in the 1983 list. Obviously 

i/ars, Reg was also responsible for bringing many hardy 
. For example: Polystichum falcinellum, Athyrium palustre, 
. lepidum. No doubt there are others. 

Most important of all was 
fern cultivars at Silverdale. 
l today. 


All members will be delighted to know that our President Emeritus, Jimmy Dyce, has 
been invested as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) at Buckingham 
Palace by Her Majesty The Queen in February this year. The Honour was given in 
recognition of Jimmy's services to the British Pteridological Society. 

npromising platform for someone v 

y pteridologists across the world. Of course we all take an interest in a chosen hoi 

:>r any one of a thousand reasons! for Jimmy it was his background in Scotland wh 
held the key to ferns. The interest grew and he joined our Society in 1 936 Thank goodni 
he did! Jimmy's persistence was probably the sole factor which ensured its survi 

hrough the very difficult period after the Second World War Relatively few fern activi 
survived the war and most of those that did were old An unanimous decision v 
to let the Society fade quietly away. I can just imagine Jimmy haranguing I 

(W B Cranfield) ( 

, refusing t 

s then President's 
■ wanted to keep the Society going 

ime he had rebuilt the Society to about 100 members - enough for survival 

I to work tirelessly for the Society, for a long time personally holding all 
ixcepting that of Editor of the Fern Gazette A full record of his periods 
the various posts was given in the Pteridologist for 1985 
key to Jimmy's recognition now is the unselfish way he has dedicated 
-lis life to ferns, and particularly to our Society, for no personal profit He 
e, gain an immense knowledge of all matters relating to ferns, especially 
of our British species, and meet many wonderful people around the world. 

ch grants at his disposal. 

I members will join with me in thanking Jimmy publicly for h,s enormous 

half of our Society; the honour is richly deserved I am also sure that those 

lit whisky - or wine - will j< 

itinue to give so generously o 

us time to the Society 


additional line drawings, 1992. Ward Lock, London. Price £12.99. ISBN 0-7063- 

Here we have another book written by a horticulturalist who i 
It is a good introduction to hardy ferns for British gardens, with 
garden design new to me. It will be particularly useful as it covers 
available fern species and cultivars. There are errors in the syster 
cultivars are attributed to the wrong species and some out-of 
Such details are important to a specialist but I suspect they ar 
to the general gardener. The colour photographs are superb but the 
The author or publishers, have only occasionally made an attempt to n 

' '' L M ' . _ than hawo mflrip nne or two howlers; for example, 

many of the photographs, and even then nave maae une ui 

a beautiful stand of Matteuccia struthiopteris is labelled Dryoptens filix-mas. is a p y 
the locations of very few photographs are g.ven; many readers might be pleased to 
know where to see these ferns. John Treasures beautiful garden at Burford House 
near Tenburv Wells features strongly and there are even seven photographs taken ,n 
my garden here at Leinthall Starkes! 

At £12.99 this book fills a niche as a reasonably priced, useful guide to garden ferns 
for the general gardener. It is not really a book for the specialist 




J. W. DYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

i strange one to some of my readers. 

3 become more popular plants again, many enthusiasts 

i from spores, and there is a danger that some of them 

i growers who enthusiastically give special names 

r good progeny which show differences, usually quite marginal, from named 

the past which are still being grown. This enthusiasm should be held in 

special names should be considered ONLY if the fern(s) concerned exhibit(s) 

lonal distinctive qualities. They should become "lumpers", which means giving 

etc. The wide 

such that it is only 

e bred. 

In the last century, during what is called the Victorian Fern Craze, splitters proliferated! 
It became, literally, a craze with fern collectors to give special names to every plant 
they collected or bred which differed in only the slightest degree from the species form. 
Even the most ragged depauperate specimens were named - they were name collectors, 
not fern collectors. Their ambition was to increase the number of named plants in their 
collections! Nowadays, we don't want that kind of collector - they did immense harm 
to the fern cult and their activities did much to kill off the Fern Craze. In the old fern 
books we see many examples of their work - even in those of the more reputable writers! 
In 1987 I published in the Pteridologist my Classification Table of Fern Variation. This 
places into divisions, groups and sections all kinds of variation existing in the British 
ferns and gives a useful framework into which to fit the many very similar varieties 
which are grown today, many of them old varieties which have lost their name tags 
and others newly bred by enthusiastic breeders 

A closely allied problem existing today is a practice prevalent in some commercial 
establishments, and in the past with some amateur breeders - labelling their sporelings 
from named varieties with the names of the parents. This has led to a lot of confusion 
in variety nomenclature When a fern varies from the normal species form its progeny 
will, with some exceptions which breed true to the parental form.include a range of 
forms, varying from that of the species itself and on through the variety form to some 
plants which are very distinct improvements on it. These plants are so very different 
from the parent that they cannot possibly be labelled with the same name. Unless they 
are sufficiently distinctive to be given names of thier own they should be called 'Progeny 
of - ', or ( - group). 

A good example from the past is Druery's first sowing of spores from Polystichum setiferum 
■Plumosum Bevis'. About 100 sporelings resulted among them three which were of 
superlative quality - 'Plumosum Druery.i' 'Plumosum Gracillimum' and 'Plumosum 
Grac.ll.mum Cristulatum'. Many of the plants were little better than, or no improvement 
on, the parent but all or most of them got into the hands of other growers and were 
Consequently, today there are many quite different plants 
the name, some of them quite difficult to distinguish from 'Plumosum 
Bevis' itself, others very good varieties although not up to the standard of the true 
'Plumosum Druery.,' I possessed qu.te a few of them - some now grace Martin Rickards 
garden, where they receive the care I can no lonaer aive them. 

Ptendologist 2, 4(1993) 153 


SIMON V. FOWLER, International Institute of Biological Control, Silwood Park, 
Ascot SL5 7TA, U.K. 

For several years, we have been conducting research on the possibility of introducing 
foreign insects to help to control bracken. This method of biological control is relatively 
novel for the U.K., despite beinng successfully used in many other parts of the world 
Some apprehensionn at the possible introduction of foreign insects for bracken control 
in the U.K. is therefore not surprising, particularly from members of the public with 
a keen interest in pteridological matters. Many members of the British Ptendological 
Society may have seen brief news articles in the press concerning this biological control 
programme but may not have had access to more detailed publications in scientific journals 
and conference proceedings. This article is intended to explain what classical biological 
control involves and why it is a safe and sensible approach to the bracken problem, 
but first, why is bracken a problem? 
The bracken problem in the U.K. 

kilometres, with the most serious infestations in upland regions in the west and north 
In some areas bracken is still spreading and the changes in land use and deforestation 
that may be responsible for the increased invasiveness of bracken have been widely 
documented. Bracken can be a weed for a variety of reasons. Losses to upland agriculture 
are caused by poisoning after consumption of bracken by stock and by the loss of grazing 
land to bracken encroachment. The heather moorland vital for grouse management is 
under threat from bracken in many areas and bracken also provides shelter for the 
sheep ticks that transmit louping ill virus to both grouse chicks and sheep Sheep ticks 
are also implicated in the transmission of Lyme disease to a range of animals including 
man. More direct affects on man may also exist from the carcinogens identified in bracken 

areas of the U.K. may be linked to drinkinng water originating trom or 

slopes or to a generally high level of exposure to bracken. Bracken can a 

of amenity and conservation areas, making access difficult or displacir 

desirable plant species. Existing efforts to control bracken largely consis 

regular cutting, crushing or the use of herbicides, especially asulam How 

methods are expensive and require safe access to the land by agncultu 

Bracken often infests steep or rocky slopes making aerial application of 

only current option for control - costing around £100/hectare. Without follow up 

treatments, re-spraying is necessary within 5 years. Indeed, asulam can be so effective 

at preventing new frond growth of bracken in the year after application that large areas 

of bare bracken litter are exposed. Rehabilitation of sites need to be a very important 

part of conventional bracken control programmes and also adds to the cost, particularly 

if fencing is needed to prevent access by grazing animals As well as the expense, any 

Classical biological control of weeds 

Classical biological control of weeds uses introduced specialist herbivores, such as insects 
or plant pathogens, to reduce the vigour of an undesirable plant species This is m 
contrast to the augmentative method of biological control where the effect of an existing 
native herbivore or pathogen is increased, usually by some form of mass release. An 
example of the augmentative approach, relevant to bracken, is the work at the Strathclyde 
University on the possibility of formulating pathogens of bracken in the U.K. as a 
mycoherbicide spray. 

154 Pteridologist 2, 4(1993) 

The ecological basis of classical weed biocontrol is that the abundance of many plants 
in the natural environment is controlled by natural enemies, and that many insect 
herbivores and plant pathogens are extremely host specific. Dutch elm disease provides 
a familiar example among pathogens. Note here that eradication of a target weed by 
a host-specific herbivore is neither ecologically possible n 

programme, if the weed declines i 
> will inevitably also decline because of a decrease in suitable food. 
The first major success in weed biocontrol was the introduction of the moth, Cactoblastis 
cactorum, into Australia which resulted in a reduction in infestation of prickly pear cacti, 
Opuntia species, over 60 million acres during the 1920's. Since this early success, there 
have been at least 729 weed biocontrol programmes using invertebrates or fungi, against 
140 weed species worldwide. One analysis concluded that 39% of programmes had 
led to substantial control of the target weed. Most biological control programmes to 
date have involved the introduction of highly specific insect natural enemies of the weed, 
but recently host-specific pathogens have been used to control weeds successfully. 
Classical biological control can combine environmentally friendly weed suppression with 
excellent benefit/cost ratios. 
Stages in a classical biocontrol programme 
Background work 

Initial research should ensure that sufficient is known about taxonomy and biology of 
the weed, and that the plant represents a suitable target for classical biocontrol from 
economic and environmental/ecological viewpoints. The study of the native U.K. fauna 
attacking bracken was particularly important because the plant is itself a native. Classical 
biological control is usually aimed at alien weeds, but native weeds can be targets if 
appropriate agents can be found in other parts of the world. Knowledge of the economic 
impact of the weed (negative and positive) in the U.K. is required to justify the initiation 
of a biocontrol programme on a purely cost/benefit basis. For example, losses to upland 
agriculture in England and Wales due to bracken have been estimated at £3-9m per 
annum. The total estimated cost of the research already conducted and still required 
to lead to a full field release of one agent is f 0.5m. Thus the total cost of the biocontrol 
programme for bracken to date only represents 6-20% of the annual losses caused by 
bracken to farmers in England and Wales, disregarding the other impacts of bracken 
3 quantify economically. Obviously, the impact of bracken on natural 
_ particularly land valued for conservation or recreation, 
is also important. Care is needed because conflicts of interest may be revealed by any 
of these studies. Economic uses for the target weed may exist, although for bracken 
these consist only of minor use as bedding. The environmental consequences of the 
reduction of weed infestation may be more serious, particularly if control is rapid y 
achieved. Classical biological control of bracken will be slow acting and highly unlikely 
to eliminate bracken rapidly from any areas. Following biological control, native plants 
will be able to re-colonise the more open bracken stands and follow any slowly retreating 
edges of bracken stands. For bracken biocontrol, the most serious issues are whether 
the native flora and fauna that utilise bracken stands will be affected and the nee 
I plants related to bracken. 

x obtaining potential biocontrol 

i by the need to match the climate and the taxonomy 

) U.K. The only country fulfilling these criteria, and haw a 

I from that in the U.K., was South Africa. Field surveys m sou 

i revealed a range of possible agents, but two moths were particularly prormsi ift 
i pyralid {Panotima and angularis) and a noctu.d (Conservula cinisigna). Panotima n 

Pter.dologist 2, 4(1993) 

Host specif n 

) quarantine proved 

Establishing the host specificity of potential agents is the most important time-consumtng 
part of any weed biocontrol programme. In the bracken programme 71 plant species 
were tested. These species were selected using internationally accepted criteria and 
concentrated on plants closely related to the target weed occurring in the U K as natives. 

we still attempted to test at least one species from each family of ferns present in 
the U.K., as well as a range of crops and ornamental species The ptendophyte species 
tested against Conservula are given in Table 1, including species tested in the UK 
and in South Africa 
Table 1 - Pteridophytes used in starvation tests with Conservula cinisigna 


Selagmella kraussiana 65 Amauropelta bergiana 

SCHIZAEACEAE Phyllitis -. 


PTERIDACEAE Matteuccia str 

Ptens cretica 60 DRYOPTERIDACEAE 




Polypodmm vulgare 183 


As usual, the host range testing of larvae of Conservula began with simple no-choice 

tests where first instar larvae were offered one of the test plant species and given the 

basic choice of feeding or starving to death. These starvat.on tests are highly conservative 

and most host specific insect herbivores widen their apparent host range under these 

conditions Evidence of this can be obtained not only from biocontrol screening work 

but also from many ecologic 

So some abnormal feeding ( 

tests With Conservula, 

on several test plants. The tests were expanded and cc 

development to adult moths only occurred with larvae fed 

no larvae survived beyond the first instar on any test plants c 

Its indicate that both species are fully specific 
South Africa in which larvae were never 
; growing nearby to bracken. Another concern is that even 
if the agents are specific now, will they alter their food preferences when released 
into a new environment? Although we are all too familiar with garden pests that can 
feed on many plants, in fact most insect herbivores are so specialised that evolutionary 
change to include additional plant species in their diet is extremely rare. In over 90 
years of weed biocontrol, providing the appropriate host range tests have been conducted, 
there have never been any examples of biocontrol agents unexpectedly attacking non- 
target plants. When we applied for permission to release Conservula, English Nature 
(as the Nature Conservancy Council) accepted that the results were sufficient evidence 
for host specificity. However the Interim Advisory Committee on Introductions (Department 
of Environment) did request that some limited further host range screening be conducted 
within secure field cages, revealing a degree of caution that in our view reflects the 
novelty of weed biocontrol to the U.K. rather than any genuine risk. 
Current status of the classical biocontrol programme against bracken 
Permission to release the first agent, Conservula, into secure field cages, under a set 
of conditions, has been given by the Department of Environment (DoE) and the Ministry 
of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF). The conditions attached to the relase are 
(i) that we ensure that imported Conservula are pathogen free (ii) that Conservula larvae 
are tested against several additional non-native genera of ferns commercially available 
in the U.K. (iii) the design of the secure field cages is agreed with MAFF and DoE, 
and (iv) 36 species of crop/ornamental plants are exposed to Conservula in the field 

The cages will allow detailed monitoring of the impact of Conservula larvae on bracken 
and some of its existing U.K. fauna under semi-natural conditions. The resulting data 
will be used to model and predict the wider impact of Conservula on bracken in the 
U.K. The impact of Conservula in conjunction with other control methods will also be 
investigated, particularly cutting and spray application of asulam. An integrated approach 
to bracken control is likely to be more successful than the control attempts of the past, 
particularly given the vigour and invasiveness of bracken. We expect that the impact 
of introduced biological agents on bracken will be insufficient to achieve control 
independently, but by reducing the carbohydrate reserves in the rhizomes over large 
areas of bracken, more successful local control may be possible using the standard 
methods of cutting or herbicide application. After classical biological control, bracken 
would still remain in large quantities in the U.K. countryside where it had not been 
subjected to a range of control measures. Of course, if frond density were reduced in 
some of the large monocultures of bracken as a result of biocontrol, this would almost 
certainly improve the environment for nearly all the animals and plants that are currently 
found associated with bracken in the U.K. One issue that will need to be resolved is 
the recent claim that two additional subspecies of bracken exist in the U.K. If addit.ona 
rarer bracken taxa do, the possibility of them being harmed by a biocontrol ager 
needs to be weighed against the potential benefits of bracken biocontrol by the vo 
before deciding whether to allow a full field release. 

Monitoring the release, establishment and potential impact of Conservula on bracken 
will be a vital part of any continued programme, and should make full use of the exi 
knowledge of bracken biology and the large number of entomologists and J** 3 ^ 
i U.K. Any release of Conservula in the U.K. s 

.♦. .m:~m : i. .„.:— ~t . K Q rh,„nrn, IS insect for DlOlOgiW 

;tl0 n of the second 

agent, Panotima, could also be mitiatpd 

Pteridologist2, 4(1993) 

Cast iron Coalbrookdale 'Fern and Blackb 

Figs 1 & 2 Within the conservatory at Ampthill. 

Dr S.V. Fowler or from recent publications (and references therein) 

BURGE M.N. & KIRKWOOD, R.C. 1992 The control of bracken Critical Reviews in Biotechnology 

LAWTON J.H. 1988. Biological control of bracken in Britain constra.nts and 

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 3 1 8 335-355 
THOMPSON. J A & SMITH. R.T. (eds) 1990 Bracken biology and control Australian Institute of 

Agricultural Science Occasional Publication No. 40, Sydney. Australia 


RUSSELL SMITH, 6 Settlebeck, Sedbergh, Cumbria LAW 5JJ 
One can accept the assurances offered by Dr Fowler regarding the possible use of the 
moth Conservula to attack Bracken, and yet ask if releasing it would be a sensible thing 
to do. 

t invades valuable farm land, and H 
set-aside' proceeds (There must be 
t compensation for setting aside land 
where Bracken is troublesome). Away from farmland, Bracken is often welcome, 
aesthet.cally or ecologically: on southern coasts .t provides shade for bluebells and olher 
desirable plants where woodland has disappeared, and its scenic contr.but.on on our 
fellsides has been welcomed from Dorothy Wordsworth's day to our ow " ere ,s "° 
case for controlling it there; we have too many upland sheep as it is, and do not ne 

You cannot control a moth's travels, tell it where to go and which plants to ear Innate 
cussedness ( Dr Fowler has apparently not assessed) will surely mean that 
Conservula would leave farm Bracken alone and chew away at the aesthetically desirable 
, ' . . a. _ nr c™ A ,i or k mrrpct in his unprovable assumption 

colonies. This assumes, of course, that Dr Fowler is correct in n.b u. » 
that the moths will confine themselves to limiting Bracken growth, and will not emulate 
Cactoblastis and decimate it, country-wide. 

Far better, it seems to me, to concentrate on developing a ** cke "^ C **™* 
control or even to continue with asulam, strictly regulated by Government dictate ratner 
than by the cost of using it. I hope the Society will say so, loudly 


WIM OUDSHOORN. Usserdijk 333, 21 65 AC Usserbroek, The Netherlands 
The firm of Lemkes and Son at Alphen aan den ^tf^JSffZ 
in the Netherlands. It is at present manageo Dy j^ * / rpn turv Lemkes 

of H, Lemkes who founded ^™™£^ 'ou^nTuLa to 

received the designat.on Royal, an honour given Dy ner j r ^ ^^ 

prominent and successful nat.onal ™ m » m ™"*" h ™ 500 (XX) ($US c.2,000,000) 
turnover of ferns is ten million plants a va^e of WL 3^ ^^ 

Plants are exported throughout the European Community anc I to ma y 
including Central America,. Japan, South Africa, Taiwan ana tne u.o. 

* * fnr the temperate garden and the catalogue 

The company offers a wide range ot terns tor i m ■ House plants like 

produced for the Honade in 1982 H.ustrates 75 of tt ^ ^^ n ° wm Ineatum 
Asplemum nidus, Platycerium flense. J ; jranae^ ^^ ^ ^ qq 
'Brilliantelse' are also grown, the latte 
are produced annually. One plant of Adiantum ca 
per year - enough to produce about 100,000 plants f 

158 Pteridologist 2, 4(1993) 

The collection and storage of spores is an important task. They are stored in the dark 
at a temperature of 6°C and under such conditions most species can remain viable 
for five years. The substrate used to grow prothalli is moss peat. At least 250 boxes 
(30 x 54 cm) are sown with spores weekly, sometimes as many as 500. The amount 
of spores sown per box is measured by weight, depending on the species it can be 
from 10 milligrams to 2 grams and is shaken onto the substrate through a sieve. The 
planter wears a mask to prevent inhalation of the spores. The boxes are kept in the 
greenhouse under 20 hours of light (2800 lux) per day, at a relative humidity of 95% 
and a temperature of 23°C. 

Detailed records are kept of all spore gatherings, sowings and, later, plantings, on 
computer Observations about the rate of growth, attractive varieties and sales figures 
are also put onto the database for future programme planning. 

The time between sowing and the production of young sporophytes ready for their next 
planting varies from ten weeks to 18 weeks. Apogamous species are fastest. Small 
clumps of sporelings are planted in seedling trays which hold 84 or 180 unit plugs. 
Planting out requires dexterity and is done in shifts; hygienic handling is essential. Mostly 
women are employed for this purpose, on a part-time basis; a rapid planter handles 
1500-2000 plants per hour. The propagating trays are filled by machine, at a rate of 
250 per hour, the soil mix being one of peat (obtained from Finland), artificial fertilizer 
and 20% perlite. Most of the young plants are sold in these trays, thereby requiring 
only a single transplanting. Planted trays are placed on aluminium rails on a propagating 
table (108 trays per table) (see photo, opp. p. 1 56). Under the trays are tubes for feeding 
C02 and heating tubes are placed beneath the tables themselves. The tables are really 
water-tight trays and plants can be irrigated with water (maintained at 21 °C. and containing 
liquid food) on a flooding and ebbing system. Each table holds 800 litres of water when 
flooded. Returned water is aerated and the pH checked to maintain 5.5 to 6.0. Oxygen 
and nutrient content and pH is monitored electronically. The nutrients contain enough 
nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur with the following 
trace elements: iron, manganese, boron, copper, zinc and molybdenum. In addition some 
extracts of algae are added to give unknown microelements. Over the table is a 'tent' 
! during the first 3-4 weeks; after that they 
Dy removing the plastic. Tables are on rollers and can be compacted 
or parted to form a gangway when plants have to be tended. In this way the maximum 
area in the greenhouse is covered by the tables and plants. 

In the open greenhouse the day temperature is kept at 20°C, dropped to 19°C. at night, 
and the relative humidity is kept between 75-85%. These conditions are maintained 
by large suspended fan units in which the air is sucked in at the bottom and vented 
horizontally at the top. Into the air current water is atomised at high pressure (30 atm/ 
bar) to maintain humidity and in summer air intake can be cooled by as much as 
4-5°C. if necessary. Intake from the outside air is filtered for insects using gauze. This 
will reduce the actual area of the intake and flow of fresh cool air. 
To overcome this the area of gauze is proportionately greater than the window area. 
Another parameter monitored is carbon dioxide content of the greenhouse air and added 
C0 2 (from pure gas cylinders) leads to an increase in assimilation, and thus growth, 
of the plants. C0 2 content of the air is measured by a selector at eight different points 
•n the greenhouse and valves are automatically opened to allow in the correct amount 
of gas. Gas levels are recorded daily to check against growth rates. 
From mid-September to mid-May natural day-length is increased to 18hrs/day and the 
lights switched on if the outside light level is below 2000 lux. Lemkes irradiates wit 
SON lamps (high-pressure sodium lamps) which give 2500 lux per sq.m. 

Ptendologist2.4(1993) 159 

If general nursery hygiene is strict pests can be kept to a minimum In an operation 
where peat and other decaying plant remains are common Saara flies, generally known 
as fungus gnats, which have a short and rapid life-cycle, can be a major pest, they 
can enter when doors are open, or on clothing of operators At Lemkes chemical 
insecticides are not used in the nursery but these gnats can be caught on glue tubes 
fixed in the ridge apex of the greenhouse. Sciarids are particularly a pest of prothalh 
on which the small maggots often feed. Those houses or frames containing the growing 
prothalli are maintained at a higher air-pressure so that airflow and air currents are 
always moving out of the container (the so-called vacuum system), and flying insects 
cannot fly in against the current. 

Propagation by spore is the most cost-effective method for commercial growers but there 
are occasions when one wants to reproduce a variety that market research shows is 
a good seller. The best way to achieve this is by tissue culture where very small amounts 
of actively growing tissue is grown on gelatin plates Lemkes has only a small laboratory 
for such activity and when necessary, contracts out large-scale requirements Tissue 
culture is needed or is best for: sterile species/hybrids, varieties which are not obtained 
from spores as "true to type", species badly affected by fungi, and new varieties where 
results are needed quickly for a marketing drive. The Boston Fern (Nephrolepis) cultivars 
are particularly well suited to this kind of propagation 

Lemkes exports considerable quantities of young fern plants in boxes containing six 
trays, each with 180 plants - 1080 plants which weigh about 13 kg They have given 
much thought to find a system which ensures safe transport of the product at minimum 
freight charges For air freight, in which a kilo of lead is charged I 
as a kilo of plants, an optimum weight/volume ratio package h" 
Temperature changes are the main problem and plant 
now used ensures the plants arrive at the customer's door in good conottion ana mey 
can be unpacked and, whilst still in their inner packing, can be placed in a nursery 


MARTIN H RICKARD, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shrops. SY8 2HP 
Through the Victorian period and the early years of this century ferns touched on many 
aspects of everyday life. Recently, the Pteridologist has featured jwo ar 
ferns, but many other items featured f 

: ng gardens 

: Coalbrookdale foundry near Ironbridge 

were probably r 

; phot opp p 157) 

The majority of fern seats were made by tr 

in Shropshire. I do not have precise dates t 

to 1900 The commonest design is Fern and Blackberry' 

ferns are rather stylised but there cannot be much doubt that the species «P™«°- 

Pteridium aquilinum or Bracken The are confined to small. d.amonc -shaped 

boxes along the top of the seat back. The to^^^^^«£ 

one type of 'Fern and Blackberry', there are, in fact, 30 or more arnerem » •- h 

available were single seats, doubles. 3' 5" and 4' V long, and trebles. 6 long Some 

or all of the longer models have a decorative frieze of cast iron along Upfront under 

-je2£:£zS£& ins zr™* ™? irsr 

fairly easily, priced a, anything from £400 to £1400, depending on dealer ^"d_co_ndmon 

Don't be put off though, one of these in your garden is not |ust 

is unbelievably comfortable! 

Two other fern designs were made at Coalbrookdale; today these I 

only ever seen pictures of these models. Osmunda Fern' is a bea 
1 ), made up with panels of typical Osmunda regalis fronds; it does not 
as 'Fern and Blackberry'. This was available as a single, double, 3' 
; 6' 5" long. Seat and c 

e most beautiful, it is called 'Osmunda regalis'. Although 

nly seen the company engraving it is obviously a work of art (Fig. 2). The back 

is one incredible collage of osmunda fronds with strands 

ik like, foxgloves. This model was available with small shelves v 

. Versions offered are similar to the other designs, except no single seater 

> been made. 

i manufactured 
- a modified diamond about 4 
Coalbrookdale do not have a r 
Forgeries complicate the issue, 
modern copies are made of alu 
lift it, it is probably not cast iron. 
(Figs. 1 and 2 

supposed to carry t 
fact, many s 
lis is not an infallible guide t 
in one probable cast iron forgery dui 
some other very lightweight alloy. If \ 

J permission of the Ironbridge Gorge M 


MICHAEL CRADDOCK, 40 Russell Drive, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, MK45 2TX 
Two hours a week and a minute sandy garden are the cause of much anguish and 
With imagination, thought and, ideally but not necessarily, a conservatory, 
however, be overcome to successfully grow many different ferns 

obviously enables the growth of a much wider variety of ferns, as well 
as being an ideal place for germinating spore and the growing of sporelings Also it 
gives considerable joy in winter months when garden plants are dormant, it is therefore 
an invaluable asset if the space can be spared. 

Within the conservatory (see Figs 1 and 2 opp. p. 1 57) we have benches both sides 
with shelves above; benches are base lined with builder's plastic sheeting with upturned 
lip edge, and onto this is put an inch (2.5 cm) or so of builders sand which is then 

keep the matting moist for long periods. Gravel trays are used extensively on all shelves, 

22 inch (50 cm) square trays on lower shelves and oblong 42 x 15 inch (105 x 38 

cm) trays on upper shelves; these also have capillary matting in the bottom for even 

distribution of moisture. These trays are excellent for holding many pots, perhaps 40 

spore pots on one tray. 

Benches and trays prepared in this manner make watering easier as the whole bench 

or tray can be watered directly, saving time watering each pot individually By using 

peat based compost the plants will take up moisture from below as required 

When it comes to being away from home for a few days, especially in summer months, 

plants can easily dry out quickly; an extra soaking of the bench will eliminate any short 

term risk of drought, 

to do it right. The humidity created from t 

to the well-being of the plants. 

As we all know, ferns will grow within 

there, even with artificial light and humi 

and tolerant of ferns will eventually succumb to the hostile environment unless positioned 

in one of the few best places. 

So with the facility of a conservatory many of the less suitable places can be brought 

alive with ferns, changing them periodically back to the conservatory to rejuvenate and 

return to their former growing glory. At this point it may be said that many unlikely 

ferns, such as male fern, look and last well in the home, so there is plenty of choice 

Watering in our conservatory is with rain water collected in three butts from its own 

roof. Relative humidity is usually around 80% in summer, time controlled artificial lighting 

by fluorescent tubes enhances daylight in such places as under benches 

Shading in the summer months is provided by old Venetian blind slats, one slat every 

3 feet (95 cm) or so, screwed to the roof rafters in one direction and others slipped 

between in the opposite direction. This method enables different parts to be shaded 

heavily or lightly as required by just slipping in more or fewer slats These can be removed 

in minutes on the arrival of shorter days and decreasing sun. 

Winter heating in the conservatory is provided by a small gas boiler which is set to 

maintain a minimum temperature of 55°F (12°C), this being a temperature whereby 

most plants will continue to grow slowly and therefore still provide interest and activity, 

even though it may be well below freezing outside; the boiler, by the way is not a 


Pests cannot be completely non-existent in such an environment, but if 

are thoroughly checked and a watchful eye kept, no pest should become e 

Corner cutting, regrettably, is practised to save time although no problems t 

resulted to date! 

Beyond 1 

don't give you the desired three or four c 

loads of gatecrashers c 

waiting for a place to be found in the garden sometime, and others that would find 

the garden too cold, such as tree-ferns and woodwardias. A small electric heater keeps 

this area just frost free in winter. It has a similar arrangement with trays decked on 

Our minute sandy garden has, in most parts where there are ferns, had builder's plastic 
sheeting laid to a depth of 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm), to retain moisture. The sheet 
is punctured with suitably placed drainage holes to prevent the soil becoming too 
waterlogged. The hose pipe, even if not banned, cannot compete with the plastic sheet 
which seems, so far, to work very well. 

Contentment for me cannot be found in a few ferns and at the risk of being frowned 
upon by the school that believes the true beauty of an individual plant may be lost 
when crowded out by others, our ferns have been planted much too closely, in order 
to have as many as possible. There is no such thing as too many and a place can 
be found somewhere for more. Most, at present, are in a relatively juvenile state so 
probably some will need relocating later, but many ideas float around, its just a time 

It is hoped this story may inspire others with small awkward gardens to step back and 
think again what can be done, as the delights are indescribable from that first crozier 
pushing through in the spring to the green carpet in the spore pot. 


Remembering Reg 

The Master has gone Will come, ere sun or rain 

In latter months, slowly waning We should not mourn 

Like a setting sun Through them he joins us once again 

Yet, his ferns do raise His legacy is everywhere 

Their croziers firmly still Abundant - and will stay 

And proudly spread their For they will be here for many a a 

Fronds as was his will And so the Master has gone 

The sori shed their spore Ah yes, sadly, in a way 

To rest and flourish ever But just try telling that 

Would he have wished it To my Asplenium Scolopendnum 

Other, oh no - never 'Laceratum Kaye' 

And like the dawn the ferns RAY SMITH 


MARTIN H RICKARD, The Old Rectory, Lemthall Starkes. Ludlow, Shrops SY8 2HP 
I don't think too many people would disagree that the ferns accumulated by Reginald 
Kaye at his Silverdale Nursery make up the most important collection of cultivars of 
our British ferns in existence today. Over the years from the 1920s to the 1990s Reg 
raised many new cultivars from spore and bought collections from many of the old 
pioneer growers, saving many of the classic cultivars from banishment to oblivion Over 
this period notable acquisitions to the Silverdale garden include ferns from Percy 
Greenfield, Robert Whiteside, Mr Penny and John Stormonth (Kaye, 1991) Reg also 
acquired individual plants from many other sources right up to the time of his death 
in August 1992 

Sadly, however, the big one got away. That big one was the collection built up by William 

Bathgate Cranfield over many years from the beginning of this century until his death 

in 1948. Cranfield was President of the British Ptendological Society from 1920 until 

1 948 At some time, probably in the late 1 930s or 1 940s, Cranfield offered his collection 

to Reg for £500 (Kaye, 1991); an enormous sum of money, roughly equivalent to the 

cost of a semi-detached three bedroomed house in London before the war Such a sum 

was out of the question to Reg, or anyone else, so the collection was willed to the 

Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley The story of its subsequent demise has 

been told several times recently by Jimmy Dyce (eg Dyce, 1990), and i< 

m this issue (Rickard, 1993). In short, only a relatively small number 

actually collected from Cranfield's garden 

to local gardeners and the rest were flame-gunned so the ground c 

vegetables. It is a tantalising thought that some treasures may still i 

anonymously tucked away in private gardens! The loss of the bull 

collection was clearly a severe blow to the fern cult in this count 

been able to buy it! 

Cranfield's collection was frequently referred to in the early volumes 

Gazette. Therefore, from this source alone we have quite 

grew, how he grew them and the appearance of his garden 

Cranfield was a relatively rich man and was able to buy i 

the market, perhaps out-bidding other growers? Or perhaps he was given first refusal? 

Either way, most of the better collections ended up at Enfield Notable acquisitions were 

the Moly collection (pre- 1910), the Henwood collection (complete except for a few 

distributed as sourvenirs in 1937), as well as plants from Harris at Bristol (originally 

m the A M Jones collection), T Bolton of Warton, Dr Stansfield, C T Druery and, almost 

certainly, C B Green It was always tempting to think that Cranfield was given, or bought, 

Druery's collection, but I have only recently found proof, thanks to Peter Barnes of Wisley 

drawing my attention to Druery's obituary in The Garden There Cranfield states, "While 

his entire collection of British Ferns and numerous notes and writings have passed 
:nrrp« Hnr.nn thfi latter oart of his fife." (Cranfield, 1917) 

t and enclosed 

□dition to acquiring so many collections, it must not be forgotten tn £ 
3 tremendous amount of spore sowing, raising many first class cultivi 
garden at Enfield extended to about 4 acres. Many of the ferns > 
:ries of bays, each was 21 feet wide by 27 feet from back to fror 
privet hedge These bays were set up in 1912 when Cranfield cl< 
to the north of his spinney. By the late 1940s Jimmy Dyce tells me 
been replaced by low walls The bays were under the shelter of lofty 


a woodland area. Each bay consisted of a short path, surrounded horse-shoe fashion, 
by wide sloping beds, here and there furnished with stepping stones. There were seven 
of these bays, five devoted almost exclusively to cultivan 
to Asplenium scolopendrium and one to Athyrium filix-fe 
kept seedlings for trial. 

Nearby, in a spinney, a wide range of ferns were grov 
cottage, cultivars of Dryopteris were concentrated. Other 
the small aspleniums, were kept in a greenhouse. Beca 
perfection with protection they were grown in a cold f 
frame was devoted to dwarfs - mainly Asplenii 
and yet another to other Asplenium scolopendrium varieties. 

Thanks to the recent rediscovery of a collection of the notebooks at the Royal Horticultural 
Society Gardens at Wisley, it is now possible to build up a complete picture of the 
treasures in Cranfield's fern collection at around 1915. 

This collection includes five notebooks, surprisingly in Druery's handwriting, describing 
Cranfield's collection. In The British Fern Gazette, 1915, Druery reveals he was invited 
to Enfield by Cranfield to take stock of his collection of British Fern varieties, with a 
view to their systematic classification and proper naming. Druery comments that he 
imagines the collection to be practically the most representative, the choicest and most 
up-to-date of those in existence at the time, presumably the summer of 1915. It is 
therefore logical that notebooks in Druery's handwriting listing all Cranfield's ferns should 
exist. One of these notebooks gives locations of ferns in a garden, obviously Cranfield's. 
I believe the other four notebooks, which are smaller, simple alphabetical lists, were 
written at the same time. 

The four smaller notebooks are well organised, each dedicated to a single group, it. 
Lastrea (Dryopteris, Oreopteris etc.), Athyrium filix-femina, Polypodium vulgare, and 
Polystichum. There is no book listing all the aspleniums. 

For records of aspleniums and other genera we have to rely on the larger notebook 
which gives the composite record of the entire collection and its distribution in Cranfield s 
garden at Enfield. These lists describe his collection before he acquired Druery's ferns. 
Subsequently Cranfield updated the notebooks at various times with additions. It is easy 
to distinguish Cranfield's writing from Druery's. Druery's writing is very neat and usua y 
easily interpreted, unlike Cranfield's which is grotesque and very difficult to read - even 
if it does have the advantage of being very easily recognised! 

From all these books we therefore have a good record of Cranfield's collection. The 
list below summarises the highlights among the hardy ferns in 1915 when Druery 
his inventory; tender ferns are another story!: 

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum - only two notable cultivars: 'Caudifolium' and Gran 
Asplenium obovatum - 'Microdon' - a hybrid, not a cultivar. 

Asplenium scolopendrium - 152 distinct forms listed. Most notable are the for ^ sed 
'Crispum', 62 in all! Treasures in the 'Crispum' group which are now lost or unrec09 nd of 
are 'Cowburnii', 'Grande Moly', 'Splendens Moly', 'Gray', 'Fimbnatum Croppei ' a^ ^ 
course, many more. There are, however, interesting omissions - for example, ^ 

no 'Crispum Fimbriatum Stansfield'. Other than crispums the range of varie .' poW 
fairly predictable with similar forms of most being available today; one exceptio , 
extinct, is 'Viviparum O'Kelly'. 

Asplenium trichomanes - 5 forms including the long lost treasures 'Incisum 
and 'Incisum Moly'. 

variety 'Cristatum', 

Ptendologist 2. 4(1993) 

Athyrium filix-femina - 109 named forms listed Most are st.ll grown today as or.g.nals 
or progeny - eg 'Clarissima', Frizelliae', Gemmatum'. Kalothnx', Victonae 

Uncoglomeratum' and several of the 'Plumosum' group However, there are several 
plumosums unknown now, eg. 'May', 'Hodgson', Horsfall', and Stansfield' He also grew 

Elegans Parsons' the parent of the 'Plumosum Superbum' range raised by Druery In 
about 1916, he lost 'Girdlestonii', one of the most beautiful forr 
by Druery (1910); it is presumably extinct today. 
Blechnum spicant - 9 forms. 'Serratum' and 'Cristatum' forms are grown today, but 
in addition Cranfield grew 'Lineare Barnes', Trinervo-coronans' and Imbricatum' Similar 

Dryoptens affinis - 20 cultivars. Most still in cultivation, either as original clones or 
sporelings. There were only two cultivars apparently unlike any we know today - 
Fimbriato-cristata' and Percristata Apospora'. 

Dryoptens dilatata - 15 cultivars Again nothing of great interest, apart from the form 
of Foliosa-cnstata' originally collected in the Azores - this is 
form of D. azonca. It would be interesting to know if this cultivar 
Dryoptens filix-mas - 39 forms Again, as above, most still in cultivation either as original 
clones or sporelings 
Dryopteris oreades - 9 forms. Again, nothing greatly different from anything currently 

; cultivar - Plumosum', which is not uncommon 

Oreopteris limbosperma - Cranfield grew 1 2 cultivars, all are now extinct although we 

do have a narrow form recently found in the Radnor Forest not unlike Angustifrons 

Whitwell'. Other treasures on his list included 'Filifera Wiper', Plumosa Dr Stansfield 

and Grandiceps Smithies'. These may not have survived until the 1940s as Cranfield 

admitted to having difficulty with growing Oreopteris. although Plumosa was still in 

good form in 1932. 

Osmunda regalis - Surprisingly, apparently only one cultivar, Cristata' 

Polypodium vulgare agg. - 71 forms. Surprisingly he had very few forms not known 

today. Exceptions are 'Grandiceps Parker' - grown fleetingly by Reg Kaye in the 1930s 

- and 'Cambricum Hadwinii'. 

Polystichum aculeatum - In Cranfield's day cultivars of Polystichum setiferum and 

Polystichum aculeatum were not always correctly differentiated (eg Plumosum Bevis' 

was put under P. aculeatum). I believe Druery only grew about 5 or 6 forms of genuine 

P. aculeatum, of these none were first class. 

Polystichum lonchitis - only one cultivar - Cristatum' Probably now extinct, but there 

is a crested form of P. aculeatum var cambricum in the Reginald Kaye collection, which 

could have been incorrectly placed under P. lonchitis in Cranfield's day 

Polystichum setiferum - This was the real hub of the collection with 278 cultivars, and 

this is where we find many of the most serious extinctions. Apparent losses include 

Acrocladon', 'Brachiatum Moly', 'Brachiatum Wills'. Decompositum Splendens Moly, 

'Divisilobum Crawfordianum', Divisilobum Moly', 'Divisilobum Nitescens' (to mention 

3 of his 39 divisilobums), 'Plumoso-divisilobum Grimmondiae', 'Plumoso-divisilobum 

Magnificum Edwards', 'Plumoso-divisilobum Pellucidum Stansfield' (to mention 3 

plumoso-divisilobums out of 35 in the collection), 'Falcatum Moly', 'Hirondelle', 

Plumosissimum Birkenhead', 'Plumosum Patey', 'Plumosum Wollaston', 'Pulcherrimum 

Mrs Thompson', 'Pulcherrimum Variegatum Moly' and 'Revolvens'. 

Pteridium aquilinum - 2 cultivars both still in cultivation. 

Thelypteris palustris - one cultivar, 'Polydactyla', recently a similar form was offered 

on the BPS Spore List. 

So there we have an outline of Cranfield's collection at Enfield in 1915, including about 

50 of the best named cultivars now believed to be extinct. Of the 760 or so named 

cultivars known to be in the collection in 1915, we would need to add quite a few 

more to allow for subsequent additions from Druery, Henwood and other collectors. 

It would, perhaps, be a reasonable guess to assume the total collection peaked at 

something like 1 000 different named cultivars. 

Unfortunately, Cranfield does not seem to have given many plants away. Between 1900 

and 1910 he did give a collection to E A Bowles in nearby Waltham Cross, and much 

later a small piece of Polypodium australe 'Grandiceps Parker' to Reginald Kaye (which 

died). Otherwise the final bequest to Wisley is the only gift I have been able to trace, 

apart from a few of his lesser varieties given to Jimmy Dyce in 1 939! 

Despite the almost immediate loss of P. australe 'Grandiceps Parker', a visit to Reginald 

Kaye's garden in Silverdale is a pilgrimage for today's fern enthusiasts - just imagine 

what it might have been like if this collection had not been the one that got away! 

I would like to thank Jimmy Dyce and Peter Barnes for making available much of the 


CRANFIELD, W.B. 1917. The Late Mr Charles Thomas Druery. The Garden, Aug 25, 

DRUERY, C.T. (1910). British Ferns and their Varieties. Routledge, London. 
DRUERY, C.T. 1915. Mr W B Cranfield's Collection, The British Fern Gazette, 3, 10. 
DYCE, J.W. 1990. Polystichum setiferum 'Lineare Hirondelle'. Pteridologistl; 32. 
KAYE, R. 1991. The Story of the Reginald Kaye Fern Collection in The History of the 

British Pteridological Society 1891-1991, London. 
RICKARD, M.H. 1993. The Cranfield Collection and Wisley. Pteridologist, this issue. 


Ornaments from Ferns 

Th.s year (1992) I was fortunate to be able to join an expedition to the heart of Miff 
Jaya, the Indonesian half of New Guinea. Our base camp was set up beside the higrtesi 
village in the area at 2430m altitude (c. 8000 ft). The village people belong to the Dani 
tribe, and their dress was very botanical with the women wearing skirts made fro 
tleochans (Cyperaceae) and the men wearing gourds (Cucurbitaceae). 
Only the men wear armlets (above the elbow) and tight bracelets (forced over the hand 
with the help of pig-fat as lubrication). The men weave these armlets and bracelet 
from the vascular bundles of a fern (Dicranopteris, illustrated on p.95 in A World* 
terns, Camus, Jermy & Thomas). These fibres are naturally light-coloured, but they o 
be sta.ned darker by steeping in anaerob.c mud. The different shades are woven mi 
attractive designs 


Pteridologist 2, 4(1993) 167 


JWDYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

Following up 

my article in the Pteridologist in 1990 (Vol 2, No 

) I have to report 

e forms in this section of variation in Polystichum se 

tiferum have been 


First, for the 

benefit of newer members who have not seen my pre\ 

.ous art.cle, I have 

to explain tha 

t, although the variety was named Divisilobum Bland. (Fig. 1) it is, in fact, 

a plumose d 

visilobe. The plumose form is characterised by having larger and much 


than divisilobum, with the result that they overlap, 
onal and greatly enhanced in beauty. 

making the fronds 

Found in the 

wild in Ireland about 1910, Bland is very much supeno 

to all other grown 

5 kind Recently, a 

very beautif 

U I divisilobe was discovered during a visit to th 

e fern garden in 


hire of our member E W Wright (Fig. 2). It was not un 

il it was examined 

divisilobe - in fact, 

a plumose di 

/isilobe. This was an exciting discovery, and I suddenl 

f remembered that 

1 had a rathe 

similar setiferum variety growing in my garden, whic 

I had never really 

Lt-Col P G Coke (Fig. 3) when he lived in Gloucestershire. A much mor 

showed that t 

his too must be classified as a plumose d.visilobe 

The result is 

we now have three varieties in this very rare sectio 

of variation in P 

setiferum, ins 

tead of only one. It should be added, however, that Bland is still the best 

one and cont 

nues to be the type of plant for the section Pinnae from the three forms 

are depicted here. 

1 68 Pteridologist 2, 4 (1 993) 


PETER HAINSWORTH, Station House, Achnashellach, Strathcarron, Ross, 

IV54 8YR. Scotland. 

After sending and receiving a number of parcels through the plant exchange myself 

this year, a problem or two came to light and a few more were suspected. 

Hibbs and I thought it might be a good thing to co 

part. We discovered that at least 50 parcels wer 

members took part and they, understandably, were not very 
offered. Some had quite a surprise when they received I 
a few embarrassing situations over payments too. 

Most difficulties came under the headings of - 

1 ) The purpose of the exchange. 

2) Size of plant offered. 

3) Packing. 

4) Payment of expenses. 

1 ) The purpose of the exchange 

This is to give members an opportunity of widening their collections and to provide 
good homes for members' surplus plants. These may be of any size from tiny sporelings 
(which some members do not have time, experience or facilities to handle) to crowns 
from established plants. Most people send reasonably well established plants, from 2- 
3" pots, which may or may not be big enough to plant out in the garden straight away. 
So recipients should consider growing them on for another year. Garden centre sized 
plants are not normally offered. We don't particularly want to compete with them - 
if only on the grounds of expense. 

2) Size of Plant 

We think it would be very helpful, therefore, if members would indicate approximately 
what they are offering and suggest the following code, on an experimental basis - 

a) Crowns, i.e. pieces with roots, split off or divisions of large plants. Mark these "C". 

b) Sporelings, from a box or potted, one or two years old from the first frond. Rates 
of growth vary enormously between species so we suggest giving the length of the 
fronds to cover this. Mark them "Sp.1", or "Sp.2" for first and second year plants 
respectively and add 4" or whatever the length is. If they have been potted for some 
months and developed a reasonably good root ball add "P". 

c) Occasionally members may want to dispose of larger potted plants, in which case 
the size of pot will do, or well established outdoor crowns. Not recommended because 
of the weight and postage. Occasionally, too, rare plants may be offered. Indicate 
"R" and be sure to agree a price for such items before despatch! Some members 
may wish to dispose of fronds with bulbils, rhizomes and miscellaneous bits but again 
not really recommended except between friends. 

Probably 95% will fall into the first two categories and should not present any classification 
problems. Inevitably some plants will fall between sizes err on the smaller size perhaps, 
but we are not selling them so we don't have to worry about the Trade Description 
Act. However, please don't send detailed descriptions of your plants - think of the organiser. 

This is probably the main deterrent for members who might offer plants It can be ( 
a lot of bother and that may be no guarantee that plants will arrive in good condi 
A package has to withstand being thrown across a room into its appropriate bi 
the sorting office. Plants must be tightly packed in their containers so that they ca 
move. Another essential, unless you have plenty of time, is that a parcel needs t 
quickly assembled from readily available materials. Searching around the house for pi 
bags, tape, wrapping paper and a box to fit is a time wasting chore 
A few simple rules may help - 

a) Don't let paper or cardboard touch damp compost, it goes soggy in 24 hours 

b) Pots, by their shape, are nearly impossible to pack firmly and their hard edges dan 

c) No empty spaces around plants. They allow plants and packing to move around 
get damaged. 

d) Loose compost around the roots invariably drops out and creates empty spaces 
I use a "strait-jacket" method of sending plants, which might look a bit cruel tc 

inexpensive. I am fortun 

makes ideal padding an 

chance). Shredded polythene, or bits of that cobwebby material used for crop protection 

would do. It needs to be soft, pliable but not lose its strength when moist. Below I 

give the method I use in some detail because it is the details of an unfamiliar task 

that get overlooked and you have to start all over again. 

1) Take the plant out of its pot, shake off loose compost, wrap a little padding around 
its neck and fronds. Slip it into a small polybag or on a rectangle of polythene and 
roll it fairly tightly into a small sausage, with a dab of sticky tape to hold it. 

2) Lay the several small sausages c 
size (ex supermarket box), print* 

plain side. Form the small sausages into one large sausage, spacing out me iuui 
balls and putting the two largest at opposite ends. 

3) Roll tightly in the cardboard to form a strong cylinder, two layers of cardboard thick 
Roll your letter in at this stage and tape down. Fold the ends in for larger parcels, 
it adds strength but not necessary for very small ones. Slitting down the ends for 
an inch or so helps, then cover them with wide parcel tape. No need for wrapping 
paper or envelope, just write the address on the cardboard. 

Very small plants can be wrapped and padded with damp kitchen roll then in a polybag 
and put in a matchbox or pill container. 

Other members have equally satisfactory methods, usually dependent on materials and 
containers available. The common theme is firm packing. 

4) Expenses 

Postage must be reimbursed obviously, count the stamps before throwing the packaging 

vn for this. For most people 
g and packing is appreciated, 
i but usually manage some 

time! Perhaps 25-50p per plant \ 

170 Pteridologist 2, 4(1993) 

to size, and rounded off to the nearest pound. Or the donor can give a guide. We don't 
want donors to feel that the exchange is not worth the bother, especially those who 
have much to give. Most requests arrive within a fortnight of the publication of the 
lists and it may lead to better distribution for donors to wait this time before sorting 
out the orders. The first envelope opened may have a request for five of one kind, a 
donor's entire stock. It is also easier to pack several parcels at one time. Many members 
pay by cheque. This is expensive for small amounts - first or second class stamps would 
be acceptable to most people. The best device is to swap your plants at meetings! 
A few other points. Several beginners asked for a good but inexpensive book on fern 
cultivation for beginners. I am assured that Jimmy Dyce's "The Cultivation and Propagation 
of British Ferns" at £3.00 is the thing to have. (Out of print, but a new edition should 
be available by the time the Pteridologist is distributed. Ed.). Following on from this 
if you are offering out of the ordinary items and have access to specialist information, 
a photocopied sheet of details is enormously helpful. 

Many young ferns change their appearance markedly as they grow, so if you have doubts 
be patient. But they could still be wrongly named - fern spores are notorious for getting 
into the wrong packet or pot on account of their small size and lightness. You are not 
allowed to breath while handlinq them! 


Verification of a record of oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) from the Burren, 

Synnot's production 

Coincidental with, 

(Pteridologist 2: 139-143, 1992) "in" whkTh" hTdtoct^Ttta Irish^ecords . 
tern, and remarks on the apparent non-existence of a voucher for the Co Clare record, 
I produced the following note. 

Oak fern is not recorded for the Burren in D. A. Webb & M. J. P. Scannell's (1983) 
Mora of the Burren & Connemara, Cambridge University Press. In March 1990 whilst 
engaged in cataloguing the Ulster Museum's pteridophyte collections I came across an 
941 Specimen of this s P ec 'es from the S. A. Stewart herbarium numbered H1939- 
1, which is labelled on the original label "near Roadford, Co Clare (in the wild district 
ot the Burren) sparingly, Thos. Wright Jnr Aug 1876". There are two good, large fronds 
on the sheet, which were mounted or remounted in 1941 by staff of the then Belfast 
Municipal Museum & Art Gallery. This record is actually already in the literature - see 
UDigan, N. & Scully, R. W . (1898) Cybele Hibernica second edition, Dublin, page 452: between Broadford (sic) village and the cliffs of Moher, Clare; T. H. Wright". 
\t pn7Q7° adf ° rd haS become ' incorrectly, "Broadford" in this publ.cation; Roadford 
q ..,?!' NE 0f Fisher street according to the Topographical Index in Webb & 

Scannell (1 983, above). The same record is repeated, with the incorrect name "Broadford", 
in raeger, R. LI. (1901) Irish Topographical Botany Dublin. So far as I am aware there 
is no place called Broadford in Co Clare. 
Miss M. Scannell, 
that she and her co 
of any further information and the a 

PAUL ri 
(Dept. of Botany, Ulster Museum, Belfast B 

Pteridologist2. 4(1993) 171 


A R BUSBY, 16 Kirby Cornner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 
The popular gardening press often seems to suggest that ferns can only be grown in 
shady gardens. This is a pity because it imposes unnecessary limitations on those 
gardeners that would like to grow a few ferns in their gardens. I cannot deny that ferns 
grown in damp shade can provide superlative examples if well-grown, but I am firmly 
of the opinion that, if one chooses carefully, many ferns can be grown in quite open 
sunny positions. Time spent studying our native ferns in their numerous habitats will 
quickly confirm this. 

The most obvious example is the common bracken. This is often encountered in sunny 
hedgerows, on canal and railway embankments. It also clothes acres of sunlit hill-sides 
h conditions it has a much shorter stature and less lush fronds. This 
lay have to pay if we are to extend our fern planting into the more 
r gardens, for growing our ferns in this way will have the same effect 
Our common male fern, Dryopteris filix-mas, can be found in even 
j fissures in cliffs and brick walls, as if to emulate the 
truly mural aspleniums. Other species, such as the parsley fern, Cryptogramma crispa, 
the hard fern, Blechnum spicant and even the oak fern, Gymnocarpium dryopteris are 
occasionally found on south-facing screes. All apparently show a tolerance for hot sunny 
places, as long as they have their roots in c 
The one group of ferns that I would i 
or no shade, is the scaly male fern, Dryopteris affinis and its varieties. I have grown 
various D. affinis forms in a very hot front garden for the last eight years with no losses 
At midsummer they are in full sun from 6 a.m., until the cooling shade of the house 
reaches them at about 2 p.m. They do not gain the stature that their more fortunate 
brothers attain in more equable conditions and they do look somewhat leathery by early 
September, but they thrive and provide much pleasure throughout the summer. If you 
are cursed with a sunny garden, plant D. affinis and its varieties 

Some years ago, I was obliged to plant a fern border in what I considered to be a very 
unsuitable position. It was open, sunny and wind-swept. It was planted with varieties 
of Dryopteris affinis, D. filix-mas, D. dilatata, Polystichum setiferum and its varieties, 
Osmunda regalis, and two or three varieties of lady fern, Athyrium filix-femina. All but 
the latter have done well. In addition, I planted Blechnum penna-marina, Hypolepis 
rugulosa and Polystichum munitum. Again, all three have done well, especially the 
hypolepis, which seems to thrive in the sun. This border is subjected to some eight 
hours of sunlight at mid-summer. 

Success with ferns in such situations is largely due to the composition of the soil I 
have come to the conclusion that heavy, sticky clay is the fern-growers best friend. 
It is both moisture retentive and fertile. Throughout a long, dry period, the surface will 
bake hard; it will shrink and crack but it NEVER dries out. I have found that once the 
ferns are well rooted into the clay, the fern border requires little or no watering. Matters 
can be improved further by late winter mulching with bulky organic materials Watering 
'S restricted to those ferns that have been planted for less than two years. After two 
years they can fend for themselves. Water in late evening and NEVER spray the fronds, 
it's a waste of time and water. Onlv when established ferns are showing obvious signs 

e that garden on thin or sandy, free-draining soils, growing hardy fi 
de would be a risky business. Careful and elaborate preparation c 
I to ensure moisture retention in the driest summer. The proposed 
well prepared by incorporating generous amounts of bulky orgai 

17 Pteridologist 2, 4(1993) 

Good garden compost, stable manure, leaf-mould, spent hops, spent mushroom compost, 
coir fibre and, risking the wrath of the bogophiles, sedge peat can be used to provide 
the moisture retaining sponge called humus, so essential for a healthy soil. Never let 
j without a liberal application of a surface mulch. Ensure that the 
i you apply it. 

as long as most of these ferns can draw on an inexhaustible 
supply of moisture, they will tolerate long periods exposed to sunlight. To ensure a 
cool moist root run, consider the use of stones placed around the plants. This is especially 
effective for hart's tongue ferns, and with the correct choice of stone, will look most 
decorative. Stone cover is the essential ingredient that ensures the survival of ferns 
on mountain or quarry screes. 

The hart's tongue fern, Asplenium scolopendrium, will tolerate some sunny hours but 
it will tend to be smaller and paler, and lack the lushness of plants grown in shade. 
However, the golden form, Asplenium scolopendrium 'Golden Queen', really needs a 
bright situation if it is to show off its gold colouring to its best advantage. Plant it in 
shade and it will lose its variegation. 

>se I do not grow. For light ! 
lours ot tolerance, 
i-erns that will tolerate six to eight hours of sunlight: 

Dryoptens affinis, D. filix-mas, Polypodium australe and P. interjectum, Hypolepis 
hymnocarpmm dryoptens, Cryptogramma crispa. 

Ferns that will tolerate thr 
Polystichum setiferum, P. 
Polystichum munitum, Osmunda regalis. 
Ferns that will tolerate one to two hours c 

i to four hours of sunlight: 

Dryopteris erythrosora, Blechnum penna-marina, 

-uawm, a. venustum, Athynum filix-femma, Oreoptens limbosperma. 
lent moisture, most hardy ferns will tolerate a little sunlight, but I would 
I damp shade for Matteuccia struthiopteris and the extremely fine forms 

i to prevent you from growing a wide selection of hardy 
i experiment with the commoner species and varieties, 
ve not mentioned but most are worth trying. 


A R BUSBY. 16 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, 

Coventry, CV4 8GD 

'. bulbils appear as dormant 'buds' in the axils of the fronds' rachides 

,°n C „" IV : Mb ' ls «" <"" fronds tha, . 

fo™ ptmJe,s° WeVer ' USUa " V W6 haVe '° <"° v ' de < he °PP°rtuni.v for bulbils to root . 
This can be done by 
•n contact with the s 

' Pegging down the frond with bulbils with wire 
I attached to the plant. Alternatively, 

I Pegged down < 

be placed in the 

ant and pegged down in a seed tray will require regular attention, 

lave devised a way to root bulbils with the minimum of attention and this has proved 

be highly successful. 
Prepare a small area in a shady part of the border or a cold frame by forking over 
the surface to a depth of an inch or two (25-50mm) with a hand fork. If your soil is 
light and free draining. 

t to the developing 

found that, with this method, rooting occurs in four to five months and they 
little or no attention. Once the bulbils are well rooted (test for this by lifting 
ss and gently pulling at the rachis) cover with a plastic propagating cover to 
room for the bulbils to produce their fronds. The cover can be dispensed with 

er, carefully lift the bulbils avoiding any damage to the roots, and with a sharp 
secateurs, separate the plantlets by cutting through the old rachis They can 

potted up or transferred to a nursery bed for growing on. 

tried this method using a polythene sheet held down with stones instead of 
sheet of glass, but the results were poor. The weight of the glass keeping the 

in close contact with the soil seems to be the significant factor in producing 

•ted plantlets ii 


EDWARD WRIGHT, Hall Place, Wycombe End, Beaconsfield, Bucks. HP9 1NB 
My great uncle Edward Goddard was in the timber trade in Hull and sometime between 
1903, when my mother was married from Ferriby Hall where she had been brought 
up by her aunt and uncle, and World War I, built a substantial house nearby, The Red 
House, Swanland Hill, North Ferriby, North Humberside. He was a pioneer of rock 
gardening and built a fine rockery at his new home, including among the plantings 
a considerable range of ferns and, more particularly, the hardy varieties which were 
still traded by the nurserymen of those days. My elder brother (Willy) and I had developed 
an interest in ferns as far back as the 1920s - Gymnocarpium dryopteris, for instance, 
could be found on Sunday walks from Prep. School on Oliver's Mount at Scarborough 
We therefore kept an eye on Uncle Ted's collection when he remarried, and when the 
Red House was inherited by my mother we raided it extensively and replanted the catch 
at our family home. Tower House, also at North Ferriby (see phot. opp. p 181), before 

J Red House was sold. My I 

5 plants from 

Backhouse of York although I have had some leaning towards Pennells of Lincoln, largely 
because the Goddards had Lincolnshire connections. Be that as it may, he and I filled 
out the collection with some judicious purchases from Backhouse in the 1930s and 
kept the majority going happily until World War II 

After the war when we each got married and set up house for ourselves, he in London 
and I for two decades in the East Riding, we literally split Uncle Ted's ferns and established 

latching collections in 

Polystichum setiferum 'Congestum' cultivar (very dark and small resembling 
)btusissimum'), which he kept and possibly Polystichum x bicknellii which we had 
i Dorset in 1929, which fell to me and I still have. The latter may be simply 

one garden to another in London and thence to Dorset (The Old Rectory, Seaborough), 
although he nearly lost the P. setiferum resembling 'Obtusissimum' in his London days 
My collection had another move in East Yorkshire before transfer to the Home Counties 
first to Taplow where some were left and since 1979 to Hall Place, Beaconsfield where 
they still reside. I have split some with a neighbour for safety's sake and have often 
thought of a secure long home for some at least of the scarcer survivals. Since ferns 
back onto the market I have bought several from the late Reginald Kaye 
a few with him too; more recently I have traded with Fibrex Nurseries 
where the stock has always been a temptation to a lover of 'curlies', the term for ferns was adopted in the family from a nephew's description as a small boy. 
Early this year I learned from my brother that Martin Rickard had read of his collection 
in the Yellow Book of the National Gardens Scheme and while on holiday nearby went 
to see what there was there. He had apparently been staggered to find a number of 
surv.vals from the early days, particularly some of the polypodiums, which until fairly 
recently he had thought to be extinct. I therefore contacted Martin to see if we might 
arrange for an exercise in recovery by members of the Society from my garden here 
at Beaconsfield and eventually, after a reconnaisance visit by him in June and a wettish 
summer, it was arranged for a dozen or so senior members of the British Pteridological 
ociety and wives to spend an afternoon with us in October. Naming of names would 
nr^l^h md,Vldlous < but no oology 's needed when I say that Jimmy Dyce himself 
graced the proceedings. 

What did they find? The main attractions were Polystichumn varieties which do pretty 
nere and there was a ready market for crowns of a P. setiferum cultivar resembling 
. pm t e and a ver V fine 'Plumoso-divisilobum' which came from Uncle Ted's (see 
jparate note by J.mmy Dyce p. 1 67 ). Unfortunately there were only single plants available 
. setiferum Grac.llimum' and 'Congestum' (not the 'Obtusissimum form'), the former 
90 ng very properly to Matt Busby to look after. I have one left of each and hope they 
^lumo°s e d ate The Same iS tme ° f remarkab| e P'ants of a second type of P. setiferum 
amnion ' vls ^ obu ™' and a polystichum, a crown of which was given me by my brother, 
'PulchPrr T m ° xf0rd Botanic Gardens and labelled as P. aculeatum 

ver Zl ,'. bUX WhiCh We now know is P setiferum' Plumosum Bevis'. Both are 
therefore b,d?ng oun.m'wh" 9 "^ ""^ ** *° "*"* ^ "" '"* ^ ^ ^ 
The polypodiums ('Polypodie: 

s garden had produced < 

surely as Druery calls them!) also attracted attention. Uncle 
sveral good cultivars, two grandiceps, probably 'Grandiceps 
3r slightly less heavily crested, at least two different types of 'Cornubiense'; 
escaped the visitors, 'Bifido-multifidum'. The grandiceps cultivars had 
and all present had a piece - in spite of an earlier plastic pot found 
e roots! The cultivar 'Bifido-multifidum' is being nursed for the future 
) a more congenial position just in time, having gone back badly where 


MARTIN H RICKARD, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shrops. SY8 2HP 

It is well known that Cranfield opted to will his ferns to the Royal Horticultural Society 
Garden at Wisley rather than pass them on to a true enthusiast (Also see Rickard, 
1993). I believe Cranfield should have realised that public gardens are not the places 
for large specialist collections of any herbaceous plants, but was the move as disastrous 
as the stories suggest? Were the ferns really left uncollected at Enfield? What happened 
to the plants which did make it to Wisley? These questions have been at the back of 
my mind ever since I learned that Reg Kaye attempted to buy the collection Now, thanks 
to a wealth of material brought to my attention by Peter Barnes of Wisley and the chance 
to talk to some of the students at Wisley at the time, fresh light can be cast onto some 

From correspondence held at Wisley, I was fascinated to learn that Cranfield gave two 
collections of ferns to Wisley, the first 'in Keble's time' i.e. long before his death; most 
of these died as they were treated as alpines. Despite this Cranfield did not learn any 
lessons and in October 1947 he asked J S L Gilmour, Director of the RHS Garden 
at Wisley, if he could come 
to giving it to Wisley. Clearl 

until after his death - on 29th May 1 948. On the 30th July 1 948 Mr Hanger, the Curator, 
visited Miss Muriel Cranfield at Enfield and collected a first instalment of ferns in pots 
On 2nd of November 1948 a note appears in the RHS Council's minutes. The Director 
of the gardens reported that the late W B Cranf ield's ferns had been received and planted' 
Also in a letter from Gilmour to a Mr Long dated 2.1 1.48, he refers to the last load 
of ferns as it is a whole lorry load on its own'. This suggests there was more than 

The next day, 3.1 1 .48, Gilmour wrote to Miss Cranfield 'Now that the collection of ferns 
has arrived safely at Wisley and has been planted in the Wild Garden, I am writing 
once again to send you my very best thanks for this magnificent gift. The ferns 
look extremely fine in their new position.' 

On 24.3.49 Gilmour wrote to a wire supplier seeking labelling material for the ferns 
In his letter he says 'We are most anxious to label a collection of nearly 1000 rare 
ferns that were recently presented to the Society . . . ' Due to post-war shortages the 
materials were not immediately forthcoming but later an allocation of wire was obtained 
by Robert Adams, a student at the time, through an associate in the Surrey Agricultural 
War Executive Committee. 

In late August 1949 Muriel Cranfield finally visited Wisley to see her father's collection 
m situ. She wrote to Gilmour that 'My uncle and I visited Wisley at the end of August 
specially to see my late father's collection of ferns. Which we thought looked very happy 
and in a delightful position, which they appeared to appreciate. We were sorry not to 
see anyone to whom we could give a message of appreciation . .'. Not long after Miss 
Cranfield's visit there was repeated trouble with the newly installed irrigation system 
and, what was more, difficulty with the supply of water to the garden as a whole. 
Gilmour replied on 20.9.49 '. . . The plants certainly seem to have done well, due largely, 
of course, to the water that wr have laid on so that we can keep them constantly moist 

t >ei : 


In support of Gilmour's statement that he had 'nearly 1000 ferns' we have a Wisley 
notebook listing all the ferns and giving the location of each in the Wild Garden. From 
these records we know that 730 plants of 279 different cultivars and seedlings were 
planted out in eight beds in the Wild Garden in 1948. In addition there are rumours 

Francis Hanger, who supervised the removal of the ferns, died in 1 960, but I have contad 
several of the students who assisted him in 1948. With a few discrepancies, inevital 
after the passage of so much time, their combined evidence supports the idea that t 
collection was substantial. For the record the following former students have be 

Henry Noblett who collected some of the ferns from Enfield and collated one batch. 

Pat Bance (who worked with Brian Savage, now deceased) who went to Enfield and 

collated another batch. 

Dick Robinson (who also worked with Brian Savage), who went to Enfield and collated 

some of the collection. 
Tom F Thompson who v 
1947 intake: 

Collectively, these si 
and, unfortunately, < 

Henry Noblett and Robert Adams find it hard to believe 730 ferns were collected. However 
Dick Robinson can believe there might have been that many. One of the students involved 
in the operation, Pat Bance, fortunately kept a notebook during his time at Wisley and 
he confirms that there were three lorry loads (a 3 or 5 ton van). The first consignment 
of 100 or so ferns was collected by Francis Hanger with assistance from students, while 
the second two loads were larger and more casually stacked in the lorry; he believes 

i quite probably around 1000 ferns altogether although a lot were small. 

and other potted specimens from Cranfield's frames and greenhouse were 
collected by Mr Hanger and stored under glass at Wisley. Pat Bance recollects that 
it took two to three weeks to plant the collection - surely a strong indication of its 

Certainly the size of the area cleared, the evidence of Gilmour's and Muriel Cranfield's 
letters, the evidence of Messrs Robinson and Bance and the surviving Wisley list - 
together with a plan of the planted area - are all strong evidence that a collection ot 
about 1000 ferns did in fact arrive at Wisley. In addition the area of ground given over 
to the collection was more than large enough to house 1000 plants. 
Contradictory evidence comes from Henry Noblett, Robert Adams as above, and Jimmy 
Dyce. Jimmy visited the site with Percy Greenfield, early in the 1950s, soon after rt 
was set up and he does not recall anything like 1000 ferns. Indeed the ferns that were 
there were largely of no great merit, and many were simply labelled 'Cranfield seedling 
There can be no doubting J.mmy's record so how can we reconcile these contrad.ctory 
points? My only suggestion is that Jimmy's visit was a year or two after the collection 
was planted and it had already begun to deteriorate. Evidence from Robert Adams confirms 

that weeds overtook the site and there were serious problems with the irrigation system, 
so the decline was rapid. However, in September 1 952 Pat Bance remembers the overall 
appearance of the collection was still good - although there might have been some 

In the Wisley file there is another list, part labelled 21.12.59 which includes 199 ferns 

- all wintergreen, therefore suggesting that this was a list of living plants compiled 
in winter (December) rather than some other inventory. So, was the collection in 1959 
still as large as perhaps 300 ferns (including deciduous cultivars)? The ferns on this 
list were the Cranfield ferns because the label numbers agree with the 1948 record. 
Today it seems that perhaps only a dozen or so Cranfield ferns survive at Wisley, and 
even then they are not separable from more recent acquisitions. I did wonder if the 
collection's rapid demise was due to them being transplanted or given to other gardens 
but Robert Adams, who remained at the Garden for some years after the ferns were 
planted, believes this is most unlikely. 

Cranfield's original collection included probably around 1000 different cultivars at its 
peak (Rickard, 1993). However, in the final years the collection sustained serious losses, 
as reported by Cranfield himself in a letter to Gilmour at Wisley on 17.10.47 - 'Whilst 
my collection has suffered very much owing to my several severe illnesses, shortage 
of labour and the collapse of the roof of my fernery during the last winter, it is still 
the finest in the country and embraces the life work of my men'. The actual number 
surviving at Enfield in 1948 is therefore questionable but reports that many were left 
behind and eventually flame-gunned (Dyce, 1991) are no doubt true. I am sure various 
pteridologists have inspected the old gardens at East Lodge, Enfield over the last 45 
years. I am no exception! The site is largely undeveloped but the house is close to 
dereliction and the garden is completely overgrown apart from the area where his fern 
bays were sited - this is now a standing out area for a nursery long established at 
the site. I did discover one just fern cultivar within the boundary of the old garden 

- Pteridium aquilinum 'Percristatum'. 

Pat Bance tells me that some ferns were left at Enfield at Muriel Cranfield's request. 

She appeared with labelled sticks and marked about two dozen of the best plants she 

wanted to keep. Some had already been removed and had to be replaced. What happened 

to these plants? They were fairly certainly real gems as Miss Cranfield obviously had 

a good knowledge of the ferns in the collection. Are these among the plants we believe 

were flame-gunned, or were they passed down to other friends or relatives of the 


The ferns which actually arrived e 

many classic cultivars very rare oi 


Crawfordianum', several plumoso-diJisilobums, 'Plumoso-foliosum Stansfield', 

'Plumosum Green', 'Plumosum Patey', 'Pulcherrimum Dr Stansfield' and 'Pulcherrimum 

Variegatum Moly seedling'. Athynum filix-femina Timbriato-cristatum Garnett', 

'Cristatum Kilrushense Druery', 'Plumosum Horsfall', 'Plumosum Stansfield', Superbum 

Plumosum crispatum', 'Superbum plumosum dissectum' and 'Todeoides'. Asplenium 

scolopendrium 'Crispum Splendens Moly', 'Crispum Majus Moses', 'Crispum Fimbriatum 

Lowe' and 'Drummondiae'. Some of these are still in cultivation but most must now 

be presumed extinct. Why these were not detected by the trained eyes of Percy Greenfield 

and Jimmy Dyce I do not know. 

Ir > conclusion, this enquiry has confirmed that a very large number of first class cultivars 

were lost with the demise of this collection, either by being left at Enfield, or by various 

misfortunes over the years at Wisley. It was clearly a serious loss to the fern cult. However, 

tiferum 'Hirondelle' (original clone), 

thanks to the likes of Jimmy Dyce, Reg Kaye, Robert Bolton, Jean and Jack Healey 
and several others, many of the choice older cultivars have passed on to fellow enthusiasts 
This ensures their continued survival, and minimises the effects of the loss of Cranfield's 
magnificent collection. 

The British Pteridological Society - The First Hundred Years in The History of 

DYCE, „ 


that got away. Pteridologist, this i; 


Saved by a Fern 

1991 centenary celebrations were in full swing in the Lake District, 

other side c 

far from celebratory state - sitting under < 

half-way up a mourn 

and surrounded by tantalising ferns that I couldn't collect. The r 

e summit leaving me 
would recover enough to be able to hobble back < 

i how q cheerful because, with the aid of very stout walking stick, 

I had managed the five metres down a boulder-strewn slope to the river by myself. 
ranW-Th TV 9 ^ faSt ' and the nu ™rous boulders made it almost continuous 

p as out a few metres up-river there was a comparatively peaceful stretch and I half- 
crawled there to have a bath. I left my stick on the bank as a row of two metre high 
boulders gave me support to get knee-deep in the water. The river here was about 
ten metres wide, and there was a small clearing on the other bank. 

si rinsed the soap off myself, I heard the sound of a large animal crashing through 
of fn° re fh°« the ° ther S ' de of the river < ' froze < thinking it must be an anoa - a species 
of t aq St t bUffal ° end emic to the area - and hoped I would be able to get a good view 
the ri S . ame d0Wn t0 drink - Unfortunately the anoa winded me and charged across 
as i^'h u d d ° Wn and IOng ' pointed horns a 'med for attack! Time slowed right down 
21 ■ ' Unable t0 move awa y and thinking I surely should do something to 

stop ,t pmning me against those boulders with its horns. 

J *nL Cyathe ? SaVed my l,fe as ' 9azed into the pupils of the anoa's eyes. The tree fern 
tothph 88 I' 09 dia 9° nal| V across the water in front of me, reaching from the bank 
frnm %l boulders < a "d deflected the charge of the anoa when it was barely a metre 


Pteridologist 2, 4(1993) 179 


JAMES MERRYWEATHER, Biology Department, The University, York, YOl 5DD 

Chania on the north coast of western Crete. The most enduring memory of the week 
was stench of rotting oranges in the mountains, for this was the time of the frantic 
orange harvest and there was a glut. The growers just carted excess fruit as far away 
from the villages as possible and poured them over the hillsides to form vast squidgey, 
smelly screes. Occasionally I would see an enclosure full of sheep happily standing 
on/in, and chewing their way through, piles of old oranges, an unfamiliar experience 
for those accustomed to slow-witted grass munchers of the Yorkshire Dales! 
I spent five days in the hot sunshine, walking miles through cool olive groves or out 
in the heat of the upland garigue, accompanied by the sweet aromas of wild thymes, 
sages, lavenders and oregano. Bracken was ubiquitous, Adiantum capillus-venens 
common in soggy places, and on many shaded earthy banks I found huge specimens 
(up to 10cm!) of Anogramma leptophylla. Every so often I came across horsetails, 
Equisetum telmateia and Equisetum ramossissimum, which frequently grew together 
Each had features which caused me to stop awhile and think. At one site E. telmateia 
had fertile spikes which, havinng shed their spores, were not wilting away as is familiar 
to the Brit, abroad, but were producing green side branches so as to resemble the vegetative 
spikes. E. ramossissimum frequently had a variety of shoot types, from the usual much 
branched to sparingly branched. What was remarkable was that what I at first assumed 
were spikes of an intermixed colony of E. hyemale turned out to be nothing of the 
sort. They were relatively soft and not rough as expected. These were just fat, glaucous 
unbranched fertile spikes of E. ramossissimum. Other common species I encountered 
(apart from those mentioned below) were Aspenium ceterach, Cheilanthes fragrans and 
Dryoptehs pallida which looks very much as our D. submontana might do if it were 
growing in woodland. 

Anyone who has visited Greece in spring will know of the fabulous diversity of flora 
available for exploration, and Crete adds to the usual with a plentiful supply of endemic 
or out-of-place species. On the last day (a day of gales and horizontal rain sent to contrast 
with the previous luxurious sunshine) I hired a moped to range beyond the bus routes 
and check out reports of one of these species, Woodwardia radicans, a fern of generally 
Atlantic distribution, and Crete is about as far east as it has been found. As a guide, 
I took with me a copy of a paper describing a fern collecting trip in 1971. (Brownsey 
& Jermy, 1 973). 

The directions given were a little vague: "Between Nea Roumata and Skines we found 
the small waterfall noted by Dr Greuter as a locality for the Atlantic fern Woodwardia 
radicans . . . wet, shady gully . . . Blechnum spicant . . . etc." They had written that their 
return to Chania was "brisk", so I reasoned that the waterfall and gully must be near 
the road. From Skines onward I stopped the moped's engine at every likely-lookmng 
spot to listen for trickling water. For several miles I continued in this manner, passing 
through the villages of Hliard and Langos. After Langos I crossed a little bridge with 
a white parapet which traversed the main stream of the valley I was climbing and then 
I heard water to the left of the road. A little pathway was trodden into the gulley here 
and I was encouraged to think that other botanists might regularly visit the place - 
no sheep nor Greek would have gone in here. I pushed past a rill dripping with wet- 
Places-ubiquitous Adiantum capiilus-veneris and there were three fronds (two plants) 
of W. radicans, just a couple of metres from the road. The guide said there were more, 
associated with Bechnum spicant further into the gulley. I didn't find them. Perhaps 
this was another gulley. I did find: Athynum filix-femina, Asplenium onopteris, Ptendium 
aquilinum, Blechnum spicant, and thirteen beautiful plants of Osmunda regalis. Greek 

terrain, in my experience, has always been rather arid. This was like being in Yorkshire 
woodland, .f it weren't that the tree species were so different: a grecian oak, sweet 

3 road, despite deteriorating weather, crossed a second parapeted bridge 
beyond which the road began tc - 
gulley. There were plenty of < 
the one at the final hair-pin I 

out towards Nea Roumata. After searching for Woodwardia (see opp.) in 
I was amazed to find that the roadside bank, just across the stream, bore a 
large specimens. As I walked back towards the stream 1 
Woodwardia gave way to Osmunda and that, in turn, wa: 
I enough j 

coastward looking for the s 

t there. Neither was I able to identify the Brownsey 
>n the way, but I had seen enough to keep me 

10 331 348 JERMY ' AC 19?3 A fem C0 " eCtin9 ex P edition t0 Crete " British Fern Gazette 


Decorative Bracken 

I live within range of Heathrow and do a sort of availability gardening. Suitable looking 
cuttings from bouquets are hopefully potted and put in the conservatory. Usually nothing 
ri«i!.hL i i- C ? meS ° f '* S ° ' Put the pot content s in the garden en masse. I have therefore 
delightful little mossy, ferny areas in the garden which seems to attract seedlings, mostly 
foxgloves at the moment. 

a°h^k!t' U!!! littl V ern (See ° PP) grew in its delicate green lacery, so I repotted 

s>ee opp) grew in its delicate green lacery, so I repotted it in 
diameter with other hopefuls, including pelargoniums and 
it had much of a rhizome or else I would have noticed. The 

~„ u . uut lllc lwn was cascaaing aown tne basket acrutc mc 

.... ».. io the floor. As it was being trodden on I had the basket raised 
a ceiling hook; it is now growing up and down beautifully. 

fem aSil„ W01l | d -H ke t0 kn ° W m ° re ° f my tWoyear 0,d friend ' searched KeW ' S n6W 
house, hi t F ' lmy Fem H ° USe ' the House itself and ' indeed ' aM the ° ther 

resparr'h "\ Vam - lntri 9 u ed and wanting to know more about it I asked during my 
floor above" '" *"" Herbarium Librar Y " but the books on pteridology were on the 

'dent1f!^r at t t0 , be introduced ™th my specimen to Peter Edwards who immediately 
'dentihed ,t as Enghsh bracken 'reared in unusual conditions'. 

bouquet to°\ ^r ^ Uttle information ' as ' do not remember actually seeing it in a 

had brought to Pe'terFH^ T^ **"* arrived in ' tS Sp0re Stage ' gaV6 th * ^^ ' 
uugnt to Peter Edwards and it was pressed for inclusion in the Herbarium collection. 

ITe^T^T^ 9rown alon9 the floor were c,ustered togetner and to p,ck off a 

upth^eav^sh lh r 7 9 t0 S6Parate matt6d paper d °V les Since hanging th * ^ 
in the pedmens ^ "^ ^ The S ° H mUSt be Very P °° r by n ° W 3S ' JUSt ^ 
basket tT mSerting them in the ori 9 inal existing soil of the presentat.on 

is c to and? G Gmera,d 9feen in C0l0ur ' has no *»«* that I can see and the stalk 
not evident until ^isTushe^ tiSSU6 **"* ""^ ^^ ^ USUa ' *"**" Sme " ^ 

i Landewednack Churc 

Pteridologist 2, 4(1993) 

riaht P c°?5 ' by C ' 1 938 ' Front r, 9 ht Polystich, 
nght P. settferum 'Divisilobum' plus various ci 
scolopendnum and Dryoptens ' 

Garden Visits 

During the past year I had the pleasure of travelling to many part 
one of the highlights of this travelling has been the viewing of quite 
and meeting members of our Society at their homes. 
Most of the places visited were gardens open to members and are I 
of fern gardens which was sent to all members last January wit 
couple of these owners told me that very few BPS members visit I 
" j very welcome, and whc 
\ tips from the horticultural-mi 
f ferns in many different environments. 

was delightful to s 

of meetings, personnel and ferns 1 

features were some carved stone garden urns (see c 

i bit tiring at times 

Ferns on Serpentine 

We went to Cornwall to look at the strange Asplenium adiantum-nigrum that grows 
on the serpentine of the Lizard peninsula. But we couldn't hunting for some of 
the other ferns of Cornwall and so it was no surprise that three hardy ptendologists 
could be found making their way along the winding path down Rocky Valley towards 
the sea so that the continental one' amongst us could see Adiantum capillus-venens 
in the wild for the first time. Unfortunately, we had reckoned without the elements, 
and soon discovered that the 70 m.p.h. wind was bringing the sea to meet us - y 
the time we reached the coastal path we realised that our journey would have to be 
abandoned. Luckily for us the next day was more gentle, and we were able to scramD e 
around serpentine boulders hunting for Asplenium, comparing fronds and checking spores 
in the bright sunshine, and in the excellent company of Rose Murphy. 
Our last day was very wet. As we were staying near the Lizard we deeded to chase 
the record of Adiantum capillus-veneris at Landawednack Church at the southern tip 
of the peninsula not quite a "w.ld" site but better than, we hoped It was 
still raining gently as we walked around the church, searching high and low for any 
sign of fronds, but without success. Eventually we sought shelter in the church P orc ^ 
and there, to our dehght, we found not only Adiantum but also Asp,en,um mannum 
growing in the mortar (Figs. 1 & 2 opp. p.180). While the photographer busied himself 
with tripod and cameras, we explored the inside of the church. Some ren ™"'° 
was in progress, and we were lucky to find the church warden present. He e *P ,ameu 
to us that the rather grotesque pulpit and columns on the font are Victorian additior * 
carved f rom the local serpentine rock, of which the local population ,s qu.te P oud^The 
lectern is a more modest. affair, also in serpentine with a polished centra, column but 
with something not too dissimilar to Dryopteris affinis (s.l!) carved into the unpens, 
rock (F.g. 3, opp. p.1 80). It was a very fitting end to our hunt for serpentine ferns! 




J WDYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

In the Bulletin for 1961, Vol.2, No.3, I contributed a paper on Polystichum setiferum 
Pulcherrimum'. Since then I have been devoting quite a lot of thought to this section 
of variation in P. setiferum, and why'Moiy's Green Pulcherrimum' still persists in surviving, 
although in near-normal form, unlike the other fifteen wild finds made in the sixties 
and seventies of the last century (the 1 9th), and the several raised from them by spores 
and prothalloid growths. They all, with one other exception, had very short lives. 

by considerable lengthening of the pinni 
sr ones, into long, slender and falcate growths, deeply incised and often quite 
expanding at the tips and terminating in prothalli. 

benefit of newer members I give a short description of the section and a brief 
ig the period mentioned above, sixteen plants of the 
l the south-west of England, where P. setiferum is 

variety were found 

the dominant rem species, in an area comprising Devon, Dorset and Somerset. Nine 
of these sixteen varieties were found by one man - J Moly, one of the most persistent 
tern-hunters of the period, the other seven by different finders - three by J Wills, one 

h h S ° n Wh ° WaS the f ' rSt t0 f ' nd jt " a few years before 1862 " in South Devon ' 
° n ? ac V ReV C Pad ' ey ' n North Devon < one b y Padley's sister, Mrs Agar Thompson, 
in 1863 ,n South Devon, and one by Padley's gardener, J Smith, in South Devon. Moly's 
and Wills finds were made in the border-land of the three counties. 'Pulcherrimum 
rnompson' was recognised to be by far the best find and 
from the Jones Nature Prints. This frond also illustrated my 
Buiietm and our Editor suggested that I find another of the 

illustrate th,n tu- ... - - I 

i photographs in the early issues of the British Fern Gazette, 
^unes nature Prints - Moly's last find, in 1876, which has fronds not nearly 
o Developed as Pulcherrimum Thompson'. I am therefore reproducing here the Thompson 
tmd again since it demonstrates best the qualities of the section 

[of these P' ant ^survived for very long, except two - 'Moly's Green Pulcherrimum' 
latum'. The former still grows in my garden and in 
few others. 'Moly's Variegatum' is known to have 

" " ,cvv «"'«w»ons as late as 1933 but, apparently, did not survive for much 

RnTth T S SUCh an extraordin ary variety however that it merits a description here, 
aoin tne pulcherrimum and variegated characters were constant. The young fronds were 
yeMoXh^hT m C ° l0Ur bUt Wh6n fU " y devel °P ed the u PP er P'nnules turned a pale 
* vm h W ' C L eepened mt0 a rj ch orange in the autumn, while the lower ones remained 
a v via green throughout the season. The green remained to some extent in the veining 
mefroTT Var ' egated parts t0 9 ive a *'ne pencilling effect. Unfortunately, with age 
rpt^in h i ame ra 99 ed and depauperate in their upper halves while the lower parts 
reia.ned the pulcherrimum distinctness. 

nthprc 6 ° therS had Sh0rt lives " as Pulcherrimums. Some collapsed and died early; the 
otners were inconstant and gradually became more and more confirmed in their reversal 
more setiferum species form. 'Moly's Green' has been the exception and is 

two nmnTi t0 permanent reversal. It still rewards us, but very rarely, with one or 
nart of "I 5 ' eV !° Wh0 ' e Pinnae ' in the varietal character and, even more rarely, by 
the D l °' 6 ° f 8 frond The lustration shows a frond in full character, with 

tips extPnHl Very / me,y diVid6d and elon 9 a ted, and their tips, along with the pinnae 


i 2 4 

r Society was founded in 1891, and consequently there 
is a great lack of information about it all. Druery had been active with his pen at the 
time and I hoped, for details to augment my information for this article, to find him 
giving vent to his fern enthusiasm by writing fulsomely about these exceptional varieties. 
To my great surprise - and dismay - there is, in the eight huge volumes of his press 
cuttings, not a single paper on the subject of the Pulcherrimum Section of P. setiferum. 
This lack of information can be explained, perhaps, by the very bad reputation the section 
had of reverting to normal setiferum. 

Dr Stansfield confirms this lack in Volume 1 of the British Fern Gazette, 1912, when 
he writes (at the beginning of a long article on the pulcherrimums, the first to be published 
on the subject, but sadly lacking in detail) that the section has not been figured at all 
in any books or publications, with the exception, in the Jones Nature Prints, of 
Pulcherrimum Thompson' and Moly's last find of 1876. It is here that Druery does 
make some amends for his silence on the subject by reproducing Col Jones' notes on 
the section, along with the Print depicting Mrs Thompson's find, in his British Ferns 
and their Varieties, page 394. I am indebted to these notes to a great extent, as well 
as to the few papers, giving scanty information, appearing in the Pre-Gazette Reports 
of 1899/1905 and in the early volumes of the British Fern Gazette, for the details I 
am able to give here of the various finds. 

My plant of 'Moly's Green Pulcherrimum', undisturbed for years, has produced about 
a dozen side crowns. I divided it last year and moved the crowns to a more convenient 
site, reserving the strongest one for installing in a pot so that I can give it more individual 
attention in an endeavour to persuade it to produce at least part of a frond in character. 
This plant is part of one which belonged to Dr Stansfield and with him, for many years, 
of fronds in character. He gave a selected crown to his 

very good pulcherrimum to almost normal setiferum. Eventually, this plant was passed 

..., „. lowing a pinnule 
Several years ago I gave an offset to our member, Richard Cartwright, a 
it produced for him a complete frond in character - one of only three 1 

ny plant looks like completely normal setiferum, 
BUT there is a subtle quality in the pinnules, very difficult to describe, which enables 
the fern-man, who is familiar with it, to recognise this unique variety. 
Why did this fern variety suddenly appear in numbers in this small area of England, 
the West Country, for a short period of less than two decades? The whole area had 
been assiduously hunted by keen and knowledgeable fern-men for very many years 
ore the 1860s, during the years of the Victorian Fern Craze, and many, if not most, 
I famous varieties of P. setiferum known to us had emanated from the area. 


would surely have been found. Then, suddenly, during 

a short period beginning in the 1860s, sixteen plants were found, nine of them by Moly. 
If one man, admittedly a super-hunter, could find so many how many more were NOT 
found, tucked away in the more inaccessible places? Then they disappeared, just as 
suddenly as they had appeared. No more were found although the search continued 
as keenly - ,f not MORE so - than before, and we find Dr Stansfield writing in 1911 
i-em hunters, wake up! It is now over twenty years since a pulcherrimum was found 
m the w.ld. The womb of Nature is inexhaustible and the seventeenth find may surpass 
all its predecessors". Another eighty-two years have passed since those words were 
written and STILL we have not found the seventeenth pulcherrimum] 
Why is this so? Keen fern-men who know the fern and are familiar with the area where 

was found - and that 

includes Martin Rickard and myself, and in 1 

• years my mentor, Percy Greenfield - have not been casual in their search for it, 

Why? I have my own theory, 
explain the phenomenon. We know that t 
than ordinarily rich in variation among the local ferns - the West Country in the south- 
west, Dorset, Devon and Somerset, and in the north, the Lake District Botanists try 
to explain this away by saying that the two areas concerned have been more intensively 
hunted than elsewhere, but this is not true - during the Victorian Fern Craze period 
the whole country was intensively hunted and in no other area did fern-hunters reap 
such rich harvests. What is present in those two areas which stimulates gene change 
in the ferns to produce mutant forms? Is it in the ground or in the air? It is possible 
the ground has something to do with it - but, certainly, NOT in the case of P. setiferum 
'Pulcherrimum', else we would still be finding the variety in the West Country Whatever 
it was - in the air? - it would appear to have had an influence on susceptible plants 
of P. setiferum over a short period of time to create a temporary gene change, and 
when the "influence" faded the plants reverted back to the species form Was 'Moly's 
Green Pulcherrimum' "innoculated" more intensively and has not yet thrown off the 
"influence"? A bit of imaginative thinking, I admit, and the botanists will scorn the idea 
- BUT, how can they explain it? 

Meanwhile, we can only hope that, as Dr Stansfield wrote, "the womb of Nature is 
inexhaustible", and that whatever triggered the gene change which was responsible 
for the creation of the pulcherrimum varieties in P. setiferum will visit the West Country 
once more and enable us, again, to enjoy the excitement of finding this superlative 


NEW FLORA OF THE BRITISH ISLES by Clive A. Stace. xxx + 1226 pp. 1992. 
ISBN 521 42793 2. University Press, Cambridge. Price £24.95 ($59.95). 

In the first 45 pages of this book you have a good guide to the ferns and allied plants 
(and their hybrids) in the British Isles. Descriptions are clear and are all you need to 
identify or confirm our British ferns. There are some very useful SEM pictures of the 
megaspores of the three Isoetes species, Transverse Section drawings of Equisetum 
stems and line drawings of alien ferns. But this is not all. 

For British- and European-based pteridologists who also have a broad interest, however 
s| ight, in other vascular plants, this book is something you should have. How often, 
when botanising for ferns, do we come across a wild plant that is completely alien 
to our ken - and about which we want to know more. When we are studying the ecology 
of ferns that interest us, be they common ones like Dryopteris carthusiana or rarer 
species like Cystopteris montana, we are wanting to identify other plants that grow 
w 'th them. This book will help you to do that with clear workable keys (as far as I 
can ascertain with limited use) and a number of illustrations by Hill i Thompson and 
Photographs of detailed parts. Other British Floras have done this but not at this cost 
nor with such comprehensive coverage of both native, casuals and aliens plants. This 
» not just a compilation of botanical descriptions by a botanical journalist but a work 
mat embodies the experience of many years of being an active research taxonomist, 
a n enthusiastic teacher, and a practising field botanist. 


1 86 Pteridologist 2, 4 (1 993) 

M. Boudrie, Editions Lechevalier, Paris. 1992. Pp 272, about 200 b&w 
photographs on 124 plates, 175 x 240 mm. Laminated paper back binding. 
Price about £35 (subject to exchange rate variations). 

It keeps getting better! After two editions of R Prelli's Guide des Fougeres et Plantes 
Alliees we now have a superbly illustrated guide to the distribution of the fern and 
fern allies of France. The authors of this Atlas are to be congratulated for producing 
the finest photographic record of the ferns of any one country that I have seen for 
many years, and perhaps ever. Each species native to France, including Corsica, is 
illustrated so clearly that identification of even difficult taxa should be possible with 
very few errors. Divisions between species in Dryopteris, Polypodium, Diphasiastrum, 
Asplenium, Botrychium etc. suddenly become sensible even to the amateur! The addition 
of the first comprehensive distribution maps is an added bonus - e 
tremendous amount of work; remember France is four times the size o 

x moorei; this is, presumably, a sacrifice to practicality as so many other hybrids are 
too rare, or extinct, to locate and photograph in the wild. Their inclusion would also 
have pushed the price of an already expensive book out of sight. 

For me there is only one questionable feature of the book. That is the arrangement 
of the genera by habitat; instead of by the standard systematic arrangements, however, 
this is a personal preference and I do realise there are strong arguments in favour 
of the system chosen here. 

I suggest anyone with an interest in wild European pteridophytes should buy this book. 
The text is in french, but all, bar one or two, of the native British species are included. 
It is therefore possibly the best photographic record available of British ferns. 


THE CULTIVATION OF FERNS by Andrew McHugh. Pp. 144, 48 col. plates with 
64925 ' me drBWings ' 1992 Batsford > London. Price £25. ISBN 7134 
Over the last few years we have seen quite a few fern books appear which have been 
written by horticulturists rather than fern specialists. The resulting volumes are readable 
and full of many useful ideas, but sadly can sometimes be ra 
level. This book is no exception. It is beautifully illustrated 
inaccuracies negate its value as a reference book. When you 

to be wrong, eg. Asplenium septentrionale likes a calcareous soil or Blechnum penna- 
marma us not hardy at temperatures lower than 5°C, it dents your trust in other statements 
n me book. Similarly, spelling mistakes are common, eg Alsophyla for Alsophila, Pellae 
or reiiaea, clayton.a for clayton.ana, Salvinea for Salvinia, arbora for arborea, nippon.cum 
for n.pon.cum and thelyptroides for thelypteroides - and these all appear on one double 
page spread (I ve used the Encyclopaedia of Ferns by David Jones as the reference 
authority). Fundamental details in the reference sections at the back are often wrong, 
or example, we are told the American Fern Society's Fiddlehead Forum is issued four 
times a year whereas, actually, it is six, while the BPS is credited with only two journals 
annually instead of three 

I don't doubt there is a great deal of valuable material in this book but I am afraid 
interspersed with too many inaccuracies for me to be able to recommend it. 


Pteridologist2,4(1993) 187 


BRENDA & RAY SMITH, 184 Solihull Road, Shirley, Solihull, Warwicks, B90 3LG 
Winterbourne House was built in 1903 by J.S. Nettlefold (of Guest, Keen and Nettlefold). 
and the seven acres of garden was laid out by his wife Margaret (nee Chamberlain). 
They owe much to the landscaping styles developed by Edward Lutyens and Gertrude 
Jekyll at the beginning of the 20th Century. The property was later owned, and other 
features added, by John Nicolson (of Bell, Nicolson and Lunt) who bequeathed the house 
and gardens to the University of Birmingham in 1943. 

The Gardens (now the Botanic Gardens) were managed by the Department of Plant 
Biology but since 1 989 have been maintained by the School of Continuing Studies whose 
headquarters are at Winterbourne House. They include many features of botanical and 
horticultural interest and act as a focus for the horticultural teaching courses provided 
by the School. 

A Friends Association was founded in 1989 and the Chairman Emeritus Professor Jack 
Hawkes approached us in 1990 with the idea of planting a new fern border in the 
gardens to complement the ferns already established which, while limited in variety, 
included a fine collection of Osmunda, Dryoptehs, Gymnocarpium dryopteris, Asplenium 
scolopendrium and Azolla. There is also a small collection of Adiantum raddianum and 
Cyrtomium falcatumin a heated greenhouse, keeping company with a collection of orchids. 
Discussions then took place with the BPS Secretary, Matt Busby, other Midland Group 
members and the Staff at Winterbourne, and agreement was reached on a suitable 
area, which needed a considerable amount of work done in preparation. The staff worked 
lard over the winter of 1990/91 and by the spring had cleared a substantial 

f low ground, including the unenviable task of lifting bamboo and laying paths 

e the area accessible. 

i 1991 a working party consisting of Alan Ogden, Margaret and John Collins 

irselves congregated at Winterbourne and the task of planting out the fern border 
, using specimens provided from our own collections. Soon plants were being 
provided by others in the Society and planting continued through the summer, culminating 
m a Midland Group meeting there on the 1st September when with popular acclaim, 
the collection was officially named the "Centenary Fern Garden", commemorating the 
Society's 100th anniversary. (BPS Bulletin Vol. 4 No. 2 p. 79). 

have also cleared a small sheltered area adjacent 
jar has been planted up with "wintergreen" ferns, 
namely, polypodiums, scolopendriums and polystichums, which is proving an attractive 
addition and gives visitors something to see whatever the time of year. 
The joint collection now consists of some 30 or so British and Foreign species and 
subspecies, including some that originated as a result of Christopher Fraser-Jenkins' 
visits some years ago to Mosman Peak, Jamaica and Lebong, Darjeeling. There are 
also over 50 varieties of fern and there is room for more. Donations are more than 
welcome although we have now reached a stage where we will need to be more selective 
to avoid duplication. The Secretary has a comprehensive list of the Gardens' fern contents 
for anyone interested in adding to the collection. 

Grateful thanks are due to the following for their contribution in terms of work done, 
Provision of plants, interest and support:- Clive Brotherton, Matt Busby, Margaret and 
John Collins, Nigel Hall, John Mashiter, Vic Newey, Alan Ogden and the garden staff, 
and also to Professor Jennifer Tann, Head of the School of Continuing Studies, and 
tmentus Professor Jack Hawkes (currently President of the Linnean Society). 

le B.P.S. on weekdays between 10 
am and 4 pm, by prior arrangement with the garden staff at Winterbourne on 021 
414 5590. The Gardens (not to be confused with Birmingham Botanical Gardens) are 
also listed in the B.P.S. Guide, Where to see ferns, and are located at Edgbaston Park 
Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2RT. 


IAN D. ROTHERHAM and PAUL A ARDRON, Museums Depl, City Museum 
Weston Park, Sheffield S10 2TP 
Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustris) h 
near Sheffield. Although the area 

a century, this species has never before been found. Indeed the p.™ 
a chance find, the by-product of a detailed ornithological survey of the moor. The surveyors- 
attention was drawn to a particularly interesting flush with extensive and dominant 
breater Tussock Sedge (Carex paniculata). Close inspection indicated that this was a 
particularly rich community with species su 
Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi). Such i 

i as Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) a 

Peak District, and those 

; made on 11 July 1991, wiu 

i do occur are often in poor condition due to drainage 
grazing. It was decided to re-visit the site later in the year. 

was found in c 

J producing detailed species lists. The fern, Thelypteris palustris 
n area of around 30m by 50m. The community in which it was growing 
was made up of Marsh Marigold, Ragged Robin, Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea). 
o°T^° n ^ 0t r ed ° rChid {Dact Y' orhiza fuch s»l Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), Marsh 

i {Galium 

earth usiana. 
This location 

palustre) and a variety of Sedges (Carex sp ) 
around 40 species of flowering plants and ferns were recorded from this 
a. The ferns included Dryopteris dilatata, Athyrium filix-femina and Dryopteris 

for Marsh Fern is particularly interesting in terms of the species' national 

nbution. Its headquarters 

the Norfolk Broads of East Anglia with scattered 

locations in Wales and the Lake District, along with former sites in the meres of Shropshire, 
Cheshire and Lancashire (Jermy ef al, 1978). Many of the latter have been lost to 
damage and/or peat extraction. The nearest occurrence to the Peak was Thorne Moors, 
out it has not been rec ' ' 
(Limbert, 1989). 
Extensive surveys of i 

J for many decades t 

2rn Peak District over a ten year period have produced 
■ng finds. However, Thelypteris palustris is perhaps the real gem. Finds 
together with recent work on vegetation history, suggest that this may 
•nam of what were formerly much richer and more extensive wetland 
ian are now found. This may present a somewhat different view of Peak 
previously envisaged, an exciting possibility which requires further 
wever, pockets of diverse or uncommon plant communities now being found 

is the c aPd ^^ Va " eyS (b ° th m the eaStem Peak) would support this SLJ 99 estion 
eri hifm^rf?!^ 61 ] !* would furth er emphasise the catastrophic changes that have 
"3 last four thousand years. 

^I'Ah'f^t - H R ' FARRELU L HERRING, ™-(eds.) (1 978). Atlas of Ferns 

Pteridolo ical So^^' ^ B ° tanical Socie tV of the British Isles/The British 

^^26, Ts-sl 9 * 91 A ^' oLf0 t n h d e F n ern-A.I,es and Ferns of Thorne Moors, Sorby Record, 

Ptendologist2, 4(1993) 18 9 


M.J. P. SCAN NELL Raglan Road, Dublin 4. 

Henry Seebohm (1832-1895) was a noted ornithologist. He published the History of 
British Birds, the Birds of the Japanese Empire and other works. He contributed to Ibis 
and the Zoologist. He appears however to be unknown as a botanist and is not mentioned 
by Desmond in Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists (1 977) 
In 1851 Henry Seebohm made a significant contribution to fern studies in West Galway 
(Vice-county H 16). During a visit to James Ellis, a Quaker landowner who lived at 
Letterfrack (L75), he climbed Bengooria (Diamond Hill, 1 460 ft), engaged in 'fox-shooting', 
and studied ferns. He published, 'List of ferns found in Connemara' in The Naturalist, 
I (1851): 220-222. The list is 'remarkably complete'. In the Flora of Connemara and 
the Burren (Webb, DA. and Scannell, M.J.P.) thirteen of the 29 species are noted as 
the first records for vice-county H 16. Seebohm stated that he gathered' most of the 

SW of Killary Harbour is of varied terrain - low-level blanket bog, lakes, rocky headlands 
and many sea inlets. The records are Botrychium lunaria, Athynum filix-femina, Dryoptens 
filix-mas, D. dilatata, D. carthusiana, D. aemula, Oreopteris limbosperma, Phegoptens 
connectilis, Equisetum telmateia, E. arvense, E. sylvaticum, E. fluviatile and Isoetes 

specimen was uncovered in DBN herbarium, National Botanic Gardens, 

me lake in question may be Bunnaboghee Lough, situated on the north side of T71 

in L7151. The date on the specimen indicates that Seebohm made a further visit to 

Letterfrack. The roadside shore of this lake was worked by me in the course of work 

for the Flora; a more detailed study may reveal the lycopod in L56. There are records 

for Altnagaighera L76 and for Inishbofin L5« 

Henry Seebohm states that he 'gathered' specimens, so he may have preserved a collection 

of plants Most probably these specimens are in a British Midlands herbarium. 

Henry Seebohm was a businessman. He was born in Bradford on 12 July 1832 of 

parents who had come to England from Germany in 1815. Early in life he settled in 

Sheffield where he founded a successful steel company - Seebohm and Dieckstahl. 

He died in London on 26 November 1895. 


Deformed Ferns 
Referring to Miss 

Last July, during an excursion to the P 

roadside in Romedenne a mixed population of Dryopteris filix-r 

ferntna. All Dryopteris filix-mas plants showed normal growth, whereas some Athyrium 
Tilix-femma fronds had frizzled ends. I first thought that the use of herbicides might 
be the cause of the deformation, but this assumption seemed unlikely since the Dryopteris 
i ix-mas fronds were not affected. 

learned from the Athyrium filix-femina ethology 
rtendophytes (1 950) by A. Lawalree, that the fronds m< 
signata fly. 

190 Pteridologist2,4(1993) 

The description of the damage matches with Miss Peacock's photography, and the 
herbarium material I gathered. A white-yellowish larva lives inside the deformation. In 
support of this theory I asked the Entomological Department of the Belgian Institute 
for Natural Sciences to analyse the deformed ferns. They confirmed that the deformation 
was caused by the Chortophila signata fly. 
The above proves that a common fern like Athyrium ftlix-femina can still fascinate us. 

Dessart of the Entomological Dept. of the Belgian Ins 
s help in determining the Chortophila signata damage). 


Quilled on the stone face 

I imagine its letters 

Would be magical runes 

Illuminated only 

By the pale silver light 

Of a crescent new moon 

Revealing a chant 

The musical key 

To a secret doorway 

In the cold grey cliff. 


Secret Door 

And fragilis 

Bends the slender dark rachis 
Twists the light feathered fronds 
And holds you enchanted 
By a schizophrenic rockface 

i ne world and all its mockeries 
My only care is now to squirt 
The ferns among my rockeries 

GEORGE SIM 1 847-1 922 (submitted by PAT ACOCK) 


JAMES W MERRYWEATHER, Biology Dept, University of York, Heslington, York, 
North Yorks. Y01 5DD. 

A few miles north of Arran in the Firth of Clyde are two small islands, Wee and Great 
Cumbrae. The smaller, a lump of basalt lava-flows created by Arran volcanoes in the 
early carboniferous era, is essentially uninhabited. In contrast the larger island (a much 
more complicated geological marvel) is a popular holiday centre, sadly now in decline 
but, in Victorian times this was where the well-to-do of Glasgow would take their 
recreation, having travelled "doon the watter" by paddle steamer. The charming little 
town of Millport with its sandy beaches and rocky coves would throng with holiday 
makers who, as today's tourists, required ready supplies of ice-cream (still famous there 
today), mineral waters from the "spa" at Fintry Bay, and souvenirs. The last included 
terns - most species are today still plentiful on the island - and a renowned supplier 
was Fern Andy. 

we^arTtol 3 ^ ^ ^ * '" ^ CO " ections of the local museum < Fi 9 1 > and on the baC * 

Tern Andy Sullivan stayed between Targets towards Fintry. It wasn't really 
a cave, just an overhang (canvas down front). He served in the American 

that he made and decorated them with Acorns, fir cones e 
in town). Boys did shopping for him and when they asked 
of broken biscuits they got double amount. " 
Until a few years ago Fred Jackson used to visit his daughter on "Coombray' 
called it, and he reckoned to know every fern there. I've been going there on 
since I was four, indeed I've been to this little paradise sixteen times 
years, and I feel I can now make a similar claim. To my great regr 

Andy has left i 

i the island with Fred. 

ie ferns, as far as I can tell, for most spi 
there are there. The list is impressive for an island only 1 1 mil) 
Asplenium trichomanes spp. quadrivalens, A. ruta-muraria, A. scolopendnum, A 
adiantum-nigrum, A. marinum, Polypodium vulgare, P. interjectum, Dryopteris filix-mas, 
D. dilatata, D. carthusiana, D. aemula, D. affinis (the sub-species need doing properly), 
Athyrium filix-femina, Pteridium aquilinum, Oreopteris limbosperma, Blechnum spicant, 
Polystichum setiferum, Osmunda regalis, Hymenophyllum wilsonii (two rocks-worth), 
Ophioglossum vulgatum (a small patch, currently lost) and one plant of Phegoptens 
connectilis. The Osmunda, a reasonably common plant of Arran, survives as one specimen, 
which is turning into several as it ages, just above the eastern shore. In 1976 there 
were hundreds of small plants on the newly built walls of the upland "loch" (reservoir) 
known as Minnemoer. The walls are now invisible, the bank vegetation having grown 
over and covered them. The Ossies have gone, but isn't that a normal habit of young 
Osmunda, to colonise temporarily a habitat only fit for small plants? There's also Equisetum 
E. x litorale. 

The richness of the Cumbrae flora is obvious in June and July when the flowers of 
so many species decorate its shores and hills. The orchids are always popular with 
the students we take there (for marine biology!) and no wonder, when the three common 
Dactylorrhiza species (D. fuchsii, D. maculata, and D. purpurella) hybridise and back- 
cross in spectacular swarms at several sites. But, in the main, un-noticed, are the sedges. 
Britain has just over seventy species, many rare or local. Great Cumbrae has twenty 
four of them! 

I shall be back next year as usual. I just love the old-fashioned, nearly-Hebridean 
atmosphere of the place and I'm confident that I'll be surprised by the botany again 
- I may even find a new fern just to prove I don't know them all individually. 

for providing a 


JOHN WOODHAMS, Tropical Section, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, 

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew took delivery of a consignment of hardy ferns in 
September 1990 donated by Hans Lemkes and grown on the nursery of Lemkes and 
Zonen in The Netherlands. 

The ferns, some 48 named species and cultivars, were offered by Royal Lemkes on 
the understanding that they should be set out in a suitable location to commemorate 
the centenary of the British Pteridological Society. Word of this generous offer was 
conveyed to Clive Jermy at the Natural History Museum by Bert Hennipman at Leiden 
and following discussion concerning a suitable location for the plants to be displayed, 
RBG Kew was eventually decided upon as offering security and longer term benefit. 
It was agreed the plants should arrive at Kew in Autumn 1990 having been potted 
on into 5 inch pots at the nursery in Holland especially so that they should attain good 
size for display the following year. Ten plants of each of the 48 taxa requested arrived 
in marvellous condition, conveyed by lorry the plants packed in waxed card boxes. All 
were unpacked and transferred to cold frames where they were held overwinter. 
A border site adjacent to the Filmy Fern House at Kew was selected as a suitable display 
area for the plants. Peter Bradley, Supervisor of the Fern Unit and his staff set-to, to 
clear some of the nondescript shrub items from the site following which the area was 
dug over. The border faces north and some shrub cover was left especially at the back 
to give shade for at least part of the day and to provide more cover for some elements 
of the collection. The plants were set out mostly in groups of five in March/April 1991 
and mulched following planting with a liberal dressing of composted horse manure. 
A thorough watering was given to the whole area and a set of three water sprinklers 
purchased so that water could be applied as and when necessary through the summer. 
With few exceptions the plants settled in extremely well and generated much interest 
and discussion during the afternoon tours by delegates to the BPS Centenary Symposium 
middle day spent at Kew. 

It is interesting to report that growth of many of the plantings has been such that division 
ancl replanting, taking in more space, was carried out during autumn 1992 and now 
in March 1993 cleaning and remulching work is in hand to prepare the area for the 
new growing season. Through the very generous donation of this collection by Hans 
Lemkes to celebrate the BPS Centenary year, Kew now has a specific area where our 
3 form, colour and garden potential of hardy ferns. 


A very comprehensive collection is stocked by 





Catalogue on request 


Specialist Fern Grower 

A wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially Adiantums 

Culag, Green Lane, Nafferton, Nr. Driffield, East Yorkshire. Y025 OLF 

Sendf 1 for catalogue 


Specialising in North American and British hardy ferns 

Send two International Reply Coupons for Catalogue 

Judith I. Jones, 

1 91 1 4th Avenue West, Seattle. Washington. 981 1 9, USA 

Los Angeles International Fern Society 

LAIFS Fern Journal bimonthly includes fern lesson, 

educational meetings, materials, spore store, books. 

Annual dues: $15 domestic, $19 overseas surface, $24 overseas airmail. 

P.O. Box 90943, Pasadena, CA 91109, U.S.A. 


Hazel Rickard 

The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shrops, SY8 2HP 
Please send stamp addressed envelope for fist 

The British Pteridological Society 



MAIN ITEMS: Volume 2. Part 4. 1 993 

This issue is dedicatd to the memory of Reginald Kaye 

President's Anecdote 


Reginald Kaye 

Ferns Introduced by Reginald Kaye 

Honour for Jimmy Dyce 

Splitters and Lumpers 

Biological Control of Bracken in the UK 

Response to Simon Fowler's Article - 

an Alternative View 
Commercial Fern Growing in Holland: the Example of 

Royal Lemkes and Son 
Cast Iron Fern Seats 
Space and Time Economy in Ferning 
The One That Got Away - the Cranfield Collection 
Polystichum setiferum 'Divisilobum Bland' 
BPS Plant Exchange 
Growing Hardy Ferns without Shade 

Propagating Varieties of Polystichum setiferum from Bulbils 
On 'Curlies' 

The Cranfield Collection and Wisley 
Woodwardia radicans on Crete 
Polystichum setiferum 'Pulcherrimum' - 

Thoughts and Comments 
Report of the Centenary Fern Collection 
Thelypteris palustris in the Peak District 

Jack Bouckley 

J W Dyce 
Martin H. Rickard 
Martin H. Rickard 

J W Dyce 
Simon V Fowler 

Russell Smith 

Wim Oudshoorn 

Martin H Rickard 

Michael Craddock 

Martin H Rickard 

J W Dyce 

Peter Hainsworth 

A R Busby 

A R Busby 

Edward Wright 

Martin H Rickard 

James W Merryweather 

Henry Seebohm - a 19th Century Pterdologist 

Fern Andy of Cumbrae 

§J° f _ F , ern s fr °m Royal Lemkes - BPS Centenary 1991 


Remembering Reg 

Ornaments from Ferns 

Verification of Oak Fern from the Burren 

Saved by a Fern 

Decorative Bracken 

Garden Visits 

Ferns on Serpentine 

Deformed Ferns 

Secret Door 

Poem by George Sim 


Hardy Ferns by Michael Jefferson-Brown 
New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace 
Atlas Ecologique des Fougeres et Plant Alliees i 
The Cultivation of Ferns by Andrew McHugh 

J W Dyce 
Brenda and Ray Smith 
Ian D Rotherham and 
Paul A Ardron 
M J P Scannell 

John Woodhams 

Ray Smith 

Josephine Camus 

Paul Hackney 

Josephine Camus 

Pat Scrope-Howe 

Jack Bouckley 

Mary Gibby, Alison M Paul and 

Johannes C Vogel 

Wim Tavern ler 

Gavin Stark 

' R Prelli and Michel Boudrie 

The Pteridologist Volume 2 Part 3 was published on 19 May, 1992 

i Pteridological Society 

Printed by MET 

Volume 2 Part 5 





Edited by 



Officers and Committee from 1993 

President: J. H. Bouckley 
President Emeritus: J.W. Dyce, MBE 

Vice-presidents: J.A. Crabbe, Dr C.N. Page, M.H. Rickard, Mrs G. Tonge 

Hon. General Secretary A.R. Busby, Croziers' 1 6 Kirby Corner Road, 

and Archivist: Canley, Coventry CV4 8GD 8 0203 71 5690 

Assistant Secretary (Membership) Miss A.M. Paul, 

and Bulletin Editor: Department of Botany, Natural History Museum, 

Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD 

Meetings Secretary: 


43 Molewood Road, Hertford, Herts., SG14 3AQ 

Editor of the Fern Gazette: Dr B.A. Thomas, 

Botany Department, National Museum of Wales, 

Cathays Park, Cardiff CF1 3NP 

Editor of Pteridologist: James Merryweather, 

Department of Biology, University of York, York Y01 5DD 

Committee: r.G. Ackers, R. Cooke, Mrs D. Fortune, Miss J.M. Ide, 

S.J. Munyard, Mrs M.E. Nimmo-Smith,P.H. Ripley, 

N.R. Schroder, G. Stark, R.N. Timm 

Fern Distribution Recorder: A.J. Worland, 

Harcam, Mill Road, Barnham Broom, Norwich NR9 4DE 

Spore Exchange Organiser: Mrs M.E. Nimmo-Smith, 

201 Chesterton Road, Cambridge CB4 1AH 

Plant Exchange Organiser: R.J. & Mrs B. Smith, 

184 Solihull Road, Shirley, Solihull, Warwickshire B90 1AH 

S.J. Munyard, 

234 Harold Road, Hastings, East Sussex TN35 5NG 

J.H. Bouckley, A.R. Busby, Dr N.J. Hards 
The BRITISH PTERIDOLOGICAL SOCIETY was founded in 1891 and today continues as a focus 
for fern enthusiasts. It provides a wide range of information about ferns through the medium of i 
publications and available literature. It also organises formal talks, informal discussions, twm 
meetings, garden visits, plant exchanges, spore exchange scheme and fern book sales. 
Society has a wide mambership which includes gardeners, nurserymen and bota " lS * s ' e 
amateur and professional. The Society's journals, the Fern Gazette, Pteridologist and Bulletin < 
published annually. The Fern Gazette publishes matter chiefly of specialist interest on internailu and 
pteridology, Pteridologist, topics of more general appeal and the Bulletin, Society business a 

Membership is open to all interested in ferns and fern-allies. SUBSCRIPTION RATES (due on the 
1st January each year) are Full Personal Members £12.50; Personal Members not recei 
Fern Gazette £9.50: Student Members is £20. Family Membership 

, Assistant Secretary 

J.50; Student Members £7; Subscribing 
category is an additional £2. Applications for membership should t 
(address above) from whom further details can be obtained. (Remittances made m w»*- - 
other than sterling are £3 extra to cover bank conversion charges). Airmail postage for all jou 

is an extra £4, or for those not receiving the Fern Gazette, £2.50. __ " 

Back numbers of the Fern Gazette, Pteridologist and Bulletin are available for purchase J ™^ 

Missouri botanicm: 
Pteridologist 2, 5 (1994) 5£P 8 1994 193 


Less than a year ago, in May 1993, I paid a brief visit to the Rickard household and, 
when I left, I had apparently agreed to take over Pteridologist. At the time I was quietly 
confident that Martin would never really foster his baby into the care of another but, within 
days, congratulations from Clive Jermy arrived and I was soon receiving instructions from 
our ever vigilant secretary! That mute nod in the kitchen at Leinthall Starkes when Martin 
sheepishly (mmm, that's not a predictable Rickardian trait, is it) suggested I'd make a 

good editor, had dropped me right in it deep. 

The new editor's Christmas holiday was not a happy one. He had not enough copy, 
could't knuckle down to the job and, it being his first BPS publication, hadn't got a clue 
how it was to be done anyway. He hadn't lifted a finger since collecting copy in 
September, so Christmas itself was a time of wretched guilt. As soon as the bank 
holidays were over the work simply had to begin: letters were written and the long task of 
pumping words into the computer began. Fortunately most authors whose copy li 

computer-generated sent floppy c 

t there were still 

pages and pages of type-script and (worse) hand-writing to transfer. 
Early this morning before work, with a busy Good Friday in prospect tomorrow. I have just 
completed the last of the articles. The format (mimickinglast year's edition) was designed 
some months ago, so now I simply pour the text in from word processor to desk-top 
publisher*, make it all fit, complete the contents page and off it goes to Metloc on a floppy 
disc for printing. I'll enjoy this last bit, actually making Pteridologist on the computer. 

watching all that raw text "flow" from box to box, page to page ( oh, the delights of 


To make the task easier next time I ask those who can to follow the guidelines laid down 
in Instructions to Authors on page 230 of this edition. However, it's good ferny articles I 
need, so if your best comes scribbled on the back of an envelope, I'll not turn it away. 
Pteridologist is my favourite of the three BPS journals and what I particularly like about it 
is the huge diversity of subject matter covering all things ptehdological, with both 
botanical and horticultural viewpoints. I intend to encourage articles which bridge that 
unnecessary artificial divide, promoting my conviction that natural history, scientific and 
popular, belongs to all. Of course the excellence of past Pteridologists has been the 
result of the hard work and enthusiasm of its first editor Martin Rickard who has rightly 
been congratulated many times already for their quality. However, that was so well 
deserved that I do not hesitate to reiterate: "well done, Martin, and thanks from us all 



How time flies. It does not seem more than a couple of months since the last Pteridologist 
was issued. Since then I have continued to get round various gardens up and down the 
country and have found them to be very interesting with such a wide variety of ferns and 
other plants, British and foreign. Many thanks to those who have made me so welcome 
and also, thanks to those who have called to see my collection at Harrogate. 
The society continues to grow in spite of the recession during which many societies have 
suffered severe membership losses. Our success is partly due to increased media 
attention. The is no doubt that such publicity does much good for the society, but it is still 
important for all individual members to seJLpteridology to the public. May I repeat what I 
said in 1991: 

Mille ante bis millismum annum 

194 Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

If each member responds to my call during our centenary year and introduces one new 
member to the society before the end of 1999 - the turn of the century - we can increase 
membership to 1,000. While I am on the subject of increased membership, is your 
partner a member? Joint membership costs only an additional £2 per year. Have you 
ever thought of giving a year's membership to a friend or relative as a birthday or 
Christmas present? Simply send in a completed membership form and remittance six 
weeks before the membership is required to start. Clearly mark it Gift Membership and 
the society will do the rest. The 1993 secretary's report introduced a new I'd like to know 
service, through which queries about all aspects of pteridology can be answered quickly 
by the best possible authority. Do make use of this service. Full particulars are in the 
1993 Bulletin. 

Now may I express a personal thank you to Martin Rickard, retiring editor of Pteridologist 
who introduced this journal in 1984, for all the work he has done in getting the first nine 
issues out, full of interesting material. I also welcome James Merryweather of the 
University of York as the new editor. He will need plenty of copy for future issues and the 
ball is in your court. Let's have reports of your experiences, experiments, successes and 

So, best wishes to all for the coming years. 



PETER HAINSWORTH, Station House, Achnashellach, Strathcarron, Ross-shire, IV54 

A number of members tell me they have problems after transplanting their sporelings. So 
did I at one time, but I seem to be getting better at it now. Perhaps others will find my 
experiences useful. 

We have to face i 

many kinds of fern are delicate at this early stage. Our i 

Athyrium and Dryopteris are pretty resilient and are c 

goodies of the spore exchange beckon us on. Some of them turn out to be less 

co-operative. Having spent a lot of time over the years dabbling with seeds and 

seedlings of the more obscure flowering plants, it seemed that some of this acquired 

expertise was worth trying out on ferns. Experimenting fairly intensively over the past 

seven years has brought worthwhile results. As usual, a study of the plant's life history 

and physiology gives the best clues. 

The reasons for failure must be numerous, but here are a few of them, starting with the 

most obvious: 

Too little water (watering or kind of compost). 

Too much water (watering or kind of compost). 

Damage to tissues during transplanting- and subsequent fungal infection. 

Airless compost - usually associated with too wet compost. 

Change of regime after transplanting (temperature and humidity). 
Watering, or lack of it, must be the usual cause of major disasters; it is for me. It's ea 
to forget, even when you are around all day, for there are plenty of diversions going o 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 195 

especially in spring and summer. I try to have a look around my propagating case and 
greenhouse every evening to top up anything near gasping, and then give an overall 
watering each morning. Most higher plants give clear signals of water stress by drooping. 
Ferns seldom do, except for young growing fronds, and quickly pass the point of no 
return. Worse still, even with the growing point dead, the fronds may take months to die, 
and we hang on to them in hope - seldom justified. Most ferns don't seem to have 


There are ways of extending the period without watering, for plastic seed trays without 
holes may be obtained. I line these with capillary matting, the thicker the better. A tray 
takes 20 x 2" or 15 x 2V2" pots or 5 bedding plant strips. A full soak will last 2-3 days, 
even in summer. The water is also evened out if you have different sized pots in one tray. 
There is a risk of too much water collecting - check by lifting out a pot now and again, 
and pour out any surplus. Leave them to dry off for a couple of days. 
You can extend the period without watering even longer if you want to go away but it is 
risky, even with some of the sophisticated equipment available nowadays. The simplest 
and, perhaps, the most reliable is to have shallow containers of water close by your trays 
with a 1" wide wick of capillary matting leading into them. The water level needs to be an 
inch or so below the bottom of the trays or they will waterlog. Two litre ice-cream 
containers are ideal. Even your willing, but horticulturallyclueless neighbour can manage 
to maintain a water level. To be on the safe side a v 2 " xv 8 " bit of matting half poked into 
the bottom of the pot will ensure moisture flow. Some ferns, most Polystichum for 
instance, are sensitive to overwatering so, as a precaution, I put in enough 3/ 8 " gravel to 
cover the bottom of the pot so that there is always some air, even if they get waterlogged. 
The compost for pricking out and potting sporelings is closely tied up with watering. It 
needs to be water retentive certainly, but what is underappreciated is that it needs to be 
well aerated as well. In my experience the popular peat composts tend to finish up as an 
airless lump, and they contain fertilisers which sporelings cannot tolerate. I make up my 
own from equal parts of good garden soil (veg. garden), garden compost for nourishment, 
peat to hold water and coarse concreting sand to hold the constituents apart. I put this 
through a relatively coarse W sieve - finer compost holds less air. I find that the Vapo 
peat in orange bags is by far the best; pure sphagnum. At this stage you should think of 
the pH too. If sporelings are pale without good reason (starved or waterlogged) it usually 
means that the compost is too acid or too alkaline. A pH of 6-7 will accommodate most, 
but be prepared for surprises. My indicator solution is in constant use. Checking 
newly-made compost is not reliable, for it changes over a few months with watering. Peat 
is very acid but this may be countered by your soil or sand if they are alkaline. If they are 
acid too, fine limestone grit or ground limestone needs to be added, up to a level 
desertspoonful in a black plastic bucketful. Check some from a pot after about three 
months and make a note of it for next time. If the soil mix is very acid sprinkle some 
ground limestone over the surface in the pots and water it in. But don't let me put you off. 
pH is not usually vital, it's just better if you get it right. You should finish up with a 
compost that is just moist, but not sticking together. It is easier to use in that condition 
but, again, not vital. 

When it comes to pricking out from a potful of prothalli, loose compost at sowing time is 
advantageous. It is easier to separate plants without root damage. You can do this when 
they have one, two or three leaves but, as with most seedlings, the longer you leave 
them, the more root damage will occur. This is something that young ferns find 
particularly hard to recover from. Young plant tissues are delicate. A root is no more than 
several strands of very thin cellulose bubbles end to end, and relies on the surrounding 
earth to keep its shape. Without its support at transplanting they bend, kink squash or 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

If your potful is large and sporelings well spaced, 
the thin end of the gardener's "widger" or the i 
remaining prothallito grow on. If thick in a small po 
and pull the cluster apart into progressively smaller pieces, eventually into single plants. 
It helps to have the potful rather dry so that the compost falls away easily. Any 
worthwhile clusters of prothalli can be put back with the old compost and will soon settle 
down after an overhead spraying. Keep your removed sporelings from drying out too. It 
only takes a few minutes for exposed roots to dry out and become damaged. 
For these very tiny plants a pot is a waste of space and compost. I use Plantpak bedding 
strips which hold a dozen or more sporelings and fit five to a tray, a lot more convenient 
for small quantities than pots or whole seed trays. Don't forget to have lots of little labels 
ready. There may be only a few of some kinds of sporeling, and some sorts look very 
much alike as babies. To plant without kinking the roots use a widger to make a slit 
about V/2 deep and lower the roots in gently. They may be far longer than 1", in which 
case let them fold over in a figure of eight to avoid kinks, and then close the slit. DorVt 
firm. Put these back in the same place that they came from, spray lightly and cover with 
polythene, but dorVt water. After 2-3 days give a light watering but keep the polythene on 
for about 10 days. The reasoning here is that some root damage is inevitable and wet 
conditions (i.e. watering) are likely to encourage pathogens to develop on the damaged 
parts. Give a day or two to heal and watering may be resumed. There is another reason: 
all fern roots, as far as we know, are mycorrhizal, i.e. they have a symbiotic relationship 
with soil fungi, a device for enhancing nutrient uptake from the soil. These fungi develop 
best under well-aerated conditions 1 . 

After a month or two the sporelings will have 5-7 leaves and will want moving into 2" or 
2 1 / 2 " pots before their roots get tangled. I turn the strip on its side, gripping the leaves 
gently, and ease the block out. The plants usually separate easily. Scoop out half a 
potful of compost, give it a little shake whilst at 45° and it will form a flat face on which to 
lay the roots. Fill up loosely without firming, spray mist gently and cover with polythene 
again. Water after 2 or 3 days as before. 

Once the pot is filled with roots it can be treated as a normal plant and potted up in 
whatever you fancy. I use the standard soil-based John Innes style of compost. Straight 
fertilisers seem to damage tiny plants, and I find the slow release (6 month) granule 
fertilisers good, keeping a fern going far longer than old style ones. A level 
desertspoonful in half a bucket of compost seems right. 

There are still a few other pitfalls. Even a well shaded greenhouse can overheat in 
summer. 90°F is about as much as sporelings can stand, and not too often. A cold frame 
in a shady place with a temperature of 60-70T is about right in summer. At the other 
extreme, in autumn and winter, cold and decreasing light will send hardy ferns into 
hibernation". Subtropical kinds will develop brown patches on their leaves and quietly 
give up, so don't try transplanting between the end of September and end of March 
unless you can give them a good deal of strong artificial light and a little heat to keep 
them growing. 

Most prothalli are in the same compost for 6 months or more and it is difficult to devise a 
compost that can supply plant nutrients over so long a period in the very small quantities 
needed. As the fronds appear the demand becomes greater and available food 
decreases. A very weak cucumber feed (high nitrogen) at about a quarter strength wi 
keep them green and growing. For transplanted babies, use a stronger mix. I use a sman 
pipette and apply directly to a sprouting prothallus. 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 197 

Another problem, which affects plants generally in a damp, still atmosphere is grey mould 
(Botrytis) which spreads fast. The safest fungicide I have found, even for prothalli, is 
Benlate, but it loses its potency after a few days and has to be made up fresh when 
required. Tipping the packet into a small test-tube and marking it with graduations so that 
one can remove enough for half a pint at a time is useful. Cheshunt compound does not 
seem to have the slightest effect on damping off of sporelings. The commercial 
preparation Elvaron worked, but the foliage browning, which appeared about two weeks 
later, took quite a bit of working out! Oh, why do we bother? 


Asplenium trichomanes ssp. trichomanes (" I ncisum" group) 

During the BPS meeting in the Massif Central in France last summer the subspecies 
within the Asplenium trichomanes complex were discussed at length. At one stage I 
asked Michel Boudrie if the very rare variety "IncisurrV'had ever been found in France. To 
my surprise Michel immediately remembered 2 or 3 recent records, and that at least 
some plants had been fertile. 

Michel very kindly offered to send me a frond from h 

spores. Before it arrived I wondered if it might be of the rather coarse "Incisum Mouie 

type, but I need not have worried, for it turned out to be a beauty. It was perfectly incised 

like "Incisum Greenfield" - see Pteridologist 2, 65 (1991). Michel's frond (Fig. 1) has some 

damaged pinnae, but I do not believe this is a sign of depauperation, but rather a 

reflection of damage in the post or during spore collection. 

The frond was collected from acid rocks close to Berbezit, 9km south-west of La 

Chaise-Dieu, on 27th March, 1991 by B. Vigier. 

There are six recorded finds of this variety in the British Isles since 1743, yet in France 

there have been 2 or 3 recent finds without any comparable interest in fern variation. It 

does raise the question, how common is this and other varieties on the other side of the 

Channel? Next time I'm in France I'll be looking more carefully....! 


Fig. A.Aplenium trichomanes "Incisum" 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 


NICK SCHRODER, 2 The Dell, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 1JG 

i this edition of Pteridologist, Cor van de Moesdijk gives a comprehensive 
account of past sitings of sporangia on Polystichum setiferum "Plumosum Bevis" and 
provides full details of his own successes both in 1982/3 and 1993. Having had some 
success myself also in 1993 I have collected data and photographs, and fellow spore 
hunters may be interested in the method I adopted and the results obtained. The method 
itself may be applied to Bevis or, indeed, any other near-barren P. setiferum varieties. 
Timing is very important, to ensure that the few precious spore capsules present have 
not already opened, but nevertheless are developed sufficiently to be visible to the 
naked eye. A close watch should therefore be kept on other P. setiferum close by to 
judge when the spore capsules are well developed without having quite turned black. 
Most of mine were discovered in the middle of June and harvested at the end of the 
same month. 

As in the case of previous sitings, and as I was to find myself, one can be searching for 
anything from a single spore capsule to a full sorus of 20-30 capsules, with or without an 
indusium. A very methodical approach is therefore required, and one needs to have 
some garden canes, a hand lens, a very fine artists brush, and some short lengths of 
brightly coloured thread for marking pinnae. 

The garden cane is used to mark the starting point around the plant, and from this point 
each frond is systematically examined, starting from the top, and using the hand lens to 
examine any suspected signs of fructification. Gentle use of the paint brush will help 
eliminate what frequently turn out to be tiny pieces of insect debris or bits from from 
overhanging trees. In addition to marking pinnae with a thread, I found so much 
spoliation activity after two full days of examination (sporangia being at varying stages 
of ripeness) that I needed then to number each marked pinna and record progress to 
ensure that each was collected at the best time - when an optimal number of spores 
capsules glistened under the hand lens like a small bunch of black grapes. I would also 
advise the provision of some protection from possible rain - an overhead canopy is better 
than bagging the fronds, the latter being far more hazardous to singleton spore capsules, 
plant. 14 of these were on 
sach. This plant is a large 
clump of about 70 fronds, generally 40-46 inches long, growing in full shade, 

undisturbed for the 

: years. No evidence of sporangia was found ( 

~— Bevis plants elsewhere in the garden, all in less shady positions, or on any 
"Gracillimum" plants. However, five occurrences were seen on a Drueryi-type seedling 
raised by Cor van de Moesdijk, and ten on a plant of the lightly crested Bevis progeny 
now known as "Plumosum Ramo-pinnatum" referred to in Cor's article. In the latter case, 
three of these appeared on the same frond. "Plumosum Ramo-pinnatum"tended to yield 
a higher proportion of full-size sori. 

I have organised fructifications I found into the five cateqories below. Sorus size varied 

Type 1 (15%) A single spore capsule which never fully ripened 
lype 2 13%) A single spore capsule which ripened to yield spores 
-n Pe * ?r /o) A Sma " cluster of 2 " 8 capsules yielding spores 
Type 4 26%) A good sorus of between half and full size 
Type 5 (1 8%) As Type 4, but with indusium 

Each type is illustrated in the photographs (Fiq. 1.) which also show the common 
locations of the sporangia - notably, towards the edges of pinnae or, in two cases, 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

Fig. 1 . Sporangia on Polystichum setiferum "Plumosum Bevis", 

200 Pteridologist 2, 5 (1994) 

actually on the edge. Fertile pinnae were almost always found on the upper half of the 
frond. As also observed by Cor van de Moesdijk, the appearance of the reverse of the 
frond usually signalled a higher probabi ould be found. This seems 

to be a combination of an increase in the tiny (almost hair-like) scales which cover the 
reverse surface of the pinnules, and more prominent venation - both of which I hope 
remain visible in the photos. In several instances some thickening of the pinnule in the 
immediate vicinity of singleton spore capsules was noticed, coupled with some localised 
chlorosis. In some extreme cases of Types 1 and 2 this thickening was sufficient to justify 
describing it as a "projection" which was terminated by the single spore capsule. 
In sowing the spores collected I have three goals. Firstly, whilst Bevis progeny have been 
raised before, there is always the possibility of a completely new break, such as 
"Plumosum Ramo-pinnatum". Secondly, it is hoped that offspring from the latter may 
produce some more elaborate forms of variation. Finally, it is unusual to have the 
opportunity to hybridise Bevis with other P. setiferum and I have sown several mixed 
trays using "Foliosum", "Wakeleyanum", "Perserratum", "Congestum" and "Plumoso- 
will report the results of all these sowings in a future edition of 


COR VAN DE MOESDIJK, Op t Veldje 33, 6176 BL Spaubeek, 


Polystichum setiferum "Plumosum Bevis" is a remarkable and 
beautiful fern, which has given rise to even better progeny. It is 
one of the ferns which has filled the former British Fern Gazette 
and also the former Bulletin with many publications and discus- 
sions on its origin, the species to which it belongs and its 
marvellous offspring 15 . Polystichum Setiferum "Gracillimum"was 
in fact already pictured on the first page of the very first issue of 
the British Fern Gazette. Forty years after its discovery by John 
Bevis several members of the BPS succeeded in finding spores 
on P. Setiferum "Plumosum Bevis", amongst them Druery, Green, 
Stansfield, Edwards, Cranfield and Jimmy Dyce 6 - 17 ^^ 22 . I suspect 
that many more members of the BPS could have found spores on 
I closely enough at the appropriate 
i ideal conditions 

i also possible that they did not \ 

As mentioned in the Pteridologist 22 I succeeded in finding spores 
on my plant too (Fig. 1. P. setiferum "Bevis" - pinna which 
produced sporangia, fertile pinnule removed). Originally, I obtained 
a full grown division of this fern from Bob Trippit in 1981, who was 
so kind to take the risk of dividing his "Bevis". I took it in a (heavy) 
suitcase home by plane and planted it with great care in my 
garden in an good coarse peat with fertilizer and chalk added, (ca 
7-8g chalk per litre of German peat, 2-3g soluble fertilizer per litre 
of peat) Several times in that year I fertilized the plant with small 
amounts of soluble fertilizer (1-2g per litre) and at the end of the 
summer of 1982 I was surprised by a few single sporangia, seen 
as tiny white spots at the backside of the frond. A closer look with 
a microscope revealed that indeed the sporangia contained 

spores! More \ 

the fronds felt a little bit rough due 

sporangia could occasionally be found 01 

This v 

the aid of a hand-lens. The spores were 
ent batches in the winter in my loft with light from a north facing window and 
lamp directly above it (color 83). I now grow them without any daylight! 
After a couple of months the small prothalli were pricked out into a polystyrene container 
(15x15 inches) and a large number of tiny plants (probably more than thousand!) 
resulted after another couple of months. The plantlets already differed greatly in size and 
from those shown and described in detail by C.T. Druery 20 . The plants were pricked out 
in a potting mixture and placed in a greenhouse at a nearby plant nursery because my 
pocket-size garden could not manage that large number of plants. However, one 
weekend in the following summer extremely heavy rainfall broke the glass just above the 
"Bevis" plantlets and they were all washed away. After the weekend half of the plants 
were saved out of the dirt and were potted again; maybe 400-500 survived. The plants 
grew vigorously and were planted in plastic pots in 1985. In the summer of that year we 
acquired quite a piece of land for building a house and my wife and I were very busy 
organising everything to get our new house built. The potted plants were placed at a 
friend's garden beneath a walnut tree. In the winter following we were surprised by the 
most severe frost in twenty years (two spells of about 14 
days of -15°C down to even -24°C). 

in plastic containers. In 1986 the remaining (100-120) 
plants were planted out and they grew to maturity. I 
estimate that about 10% of the plants left are true 
"Gracillimums"and 40% plain Polystichum setiferum with 
its typical dull green colour and very fertile. This was also 
noticed by Druery 20 . Most of the reversions to P. 
setiferum have ended their life on my compost heap. 50% 
are nearly true "Bevis", but most a little bit coarser than 
my original "Bevis" and completely sterile. No "Fohosum- 
Edwards" type of plant nor a "Plumosum Green" type of 
plant was seen. One plant has a tendency of splitting up 
some of the pinnae as can be seen in the picture made 
by Martin Rickard (Fig. 2. P. setiferum "Plumosum 
Ramo-pinnulatum" group, pinna). He considers this as a 
new break of "Bevis" and baptised this plant "Ramo- 

"Gracillimums"show also some variation, some are a little 
bit finer than others. Good growing conditions do give 
some of the "Gracillimums" a "Cristulatum" appearance. 
Anyhow, the "Gracillimums" grow very slowly and are 
miffy as Jimmy Dyce mentioned in his publications on 

202 Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

Bevis progeny. A small disorder and the plant fades away. I gave about 10-15 
"Gracillimums" to friends and some 15 are still in my garden. The "Bevis" type is 
extremely vigorous, and at this moment I possess most probably the largest collection of 
"Bevis" progeny. People interested to exchange some of my plants ("Gracillimum"only 
very few!) could get one. The problem, however, is that most plants have sizes of 40 
inches and more and are quite heavy! 

Happily, after more than 10 years of sterility a very few sterile "Bevis" type of plants did 
give single sporangia again in 1993 on the same lines as described before. I noticed it in 
the spring when again I saw white spots on the backside of a few plants (progeny). Only 
one of the plants contained just one pinnule with the normal group of sporangia and 
indusia as if it was completely fertile! I marked the sorus-bearing pinnae with a ribbon, but 
later on I sometimes had trouble finding the sporangia again even with a lens! It was 
surprising that a strong growing plant was not always fertile. One of the plants was not 
very vigorous, but had most sporangia. Also in this case it was noticed that if the back 
side of the frond is a little bit rough and excrescences are seen, there is a chance that 
sporangia can be found. A smooth back side only rarely carries sporangia in my 
experience. What was different compared to the previous years? In the first place we had 
had an extremely mild winter. Secondly in the autumn of 1992 I gave all the ferns a large 
dressing of 3 year-old decayed manure; this was also practised in the old days and has 
been reported in the Gazette. 

I collected the spores and sent about half of them to Martin Rickard. I hope he will have 
success with them too. Allthough I did not sow spores for more than five years I could not 
resist giving it another try this year. So, I kept the other half of the spores myself and I 
hope that new surprises will occur. The above discussed plant tentatively named by 
Martin Rickard as P. Setiferum "Plumosum Ramo-pinnatum" did contain two single 
sporangia and who knows they may result in a crested "Bevis" as Martin expects. At this 
moment prothalli are seen and look healthy. 

So much for my successes and failures with P. Setiferum "Bevis" The cristulatum 
character in some "Gracillimums" and the starting of cresting in "Bevis" raises another 
question: how does cresting arise in ferns? This question has caused many discussions 
in the fern literature and has been raised by Jimmy Dyce for "GracillimumCristulatum".ls 
this "pseudo-tasseling" as described by Druery 19 cresting or not? Cresting seems to be 
more or less natural in ferns. Lowe proved that inheritance between forms and even 
hybridization could take place between species 7 . However, although many forms do 
appear to breed true, we see that progeny of many elaborate forms yield unexpected 
cresting. Several plumose lady ferns have yielded crested forms 21 . The case given by 
Druery in his book is famous. But also Athyrium filix-femina "Frizelliae" has given 
tasseling forms. And I noticed several years ago that a sowing from Asplemum 
scolopendrium "Crispum", which was scarcely fertile and may be considered as a 
"Plumosum" produced all kinds of forms, among them some heavily crested ones. So 
once again, what is really inherited and what is caused by abnormalities in the 
chromosomes? Will it eventually turn out to be normal to get a crested "Bevis" type and 
even crested "Gracillimums" as long as we obtain spores from these plants for further 
generations? I expect that in the future we may get an answer to the question why 
spores are only scarcely produced on the excellent, apparently sterile garden forms. This 
is a still unexplored area, and I am convinced that somebody will find out before long. A 
survey of the publications of the BPS on P. Setiferum "Bevis" and its progeny is given 

I. W. Dyce, Personal Communication 1990 
I.W. Dyce, Pteridologist, Vol.2 (1) 1990 p 25. 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

3 J.W. Dyce, Bulletin, Vol.2 (3) 1981 p 126. 

4 J.W. Dyce, Bulletin, Vol.2 (1) 1979 p 38. 

5 P.G. Corbin Bulletin, Vol 1 (4) 1976 p 170. 

6 J.W. Dyce The British Fern Gazette Vol.9 (2) 1961 p 50. 

7 J.D. Lovis The British Fern Gazette Vol.9 (8) 1967 p 301 . 

8 E.A.Elliott The British Fern Gazette Vol.8 (7) 1956 p 159. 

9 Editor The British Fern Gazette Vol.7 (5) 1938 p 124. 
V. Stansfield The British Fern Gazette Vol.3 (30) 1916 p 123. 
V. Stansfield The British Fern Gazette Vol.3 (31) 1917 p 154. 
".Druery The British Fern Gazette Vol.2 (20) 1915 p 200. 
". Druery The British Fern Gazette Vol.2 (24) 1915 p 283. 
'.Druery The British Fern Gazette Vol.1 (1) 1909 p 1 . 
". Druery The British Fern Gazette Vol.1 (2) 1909 p 24. 
". Druery The British Fern Gazette Vol.1 (3) 1910 p 50. 
". Druery The British Fern Gazette Vol.1 (5) 1910 p 1 19. 
". Druery The British Fern Gazette Vol.1 (6) 1910 p 133. 
". Druery The British Fern Gazette Vol.1 (10) 1911 p 226. 
". Druery The British Fern Gazette Vol.1 (11) 1912 p 271. 
". Druery British Ferns and Varieties 1910 p 30 

22 J.W. Dyce Pteridologist 1, 2 1985 p 79 

Photographs of P. setiferum "PlumosumGracillimum"can be found 
A Photograph of P. sef/'fenvr77"Plumosum Green" can be found in lit 
A Photograph of P. sef/'ferw>"Foliosum Edwards" can be found in li 
A Photograph of P. setiferum "PlumosumDrueryi" is depicted in lit.1 


MARK BORDER, 18 Madeira Drive, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 2NJ 
I read the article "Growing hardy ferns without shade" by A.R. Busby {Pteridologist 2, 4. 
1993) with great interest, and can add further species and varieties that I am growing 
under similar, less than ideal conditions. 

Firstly, a quick note about my garden, to make the problem clear. We moved to our 
present house, which is situated one and a half miles from Hastings sea front, in 
December 1991. The garden is approximately 70 by 30 feet, and originally consisted of a 
lawn and an empty vegetable plot. We are on the side of a valley running roughly south, 
south-east, with a fairly steep slope across the garden. Trees at the bottom of the garden 
which backs onto mine offer shade in the early morning. 

The soil is heavy clay which bakes and cracks during the summer. I cannot confirm 
whether it ever completely dries out, as any attempt to dig holes when it is baked merely 
results in a bruised foot and jarred shoulder. To give some idea of the cracking capability 
of my soil I measured a crack at half an inch wide by eight inches deep. A crack of 
similar width ran through the middle of a small clump of Blechnum penna-manna with no 
long-term ill effects to the plant. 

I have divided the garden into areas according the conditions during July 

^ is receives full sun t 

dm Pteridologist2,5(1994) 

Area 2 has the following ferns (* = Planted out in spring, 1993): Athyrium filiy-femina 
vars: Cnstatum group, "Frizelliae", "Plumosum Axminster", & "Victoriae"; 
Picturr (?) Athyrium sp. ACL/G from Yunnan*; Blechnum spicant, Cystopteris 7c„ H , IDf 
C. fragilis, Dryopteris affinis, D. affinis "Cristata Augusta", D. dilatata D filix-mas 
"Depauperata" & "Linearis", D. (?)lacera, D. wallichiana, Onolcea sensibilis Polystichum 
setiferum "Divisilobum" & (?)Plumoso-divisilobum" and, finally, Pteris sp. CLD1228 
Rather to my surprise Athyrium filix-femina "Plumosum Axminster" has done extremely 
well, even though it is about the most exposed of the group. The two Cystopteris species 
are growing out of a low wall that holds back my pond, while Onoclea sensibilis and 
Ptens sp. CLD1228 are growing in a small bog bed (made from off-cuts of the pond 
lining) at the base of the retaining wall. 

Area 3 contains the following: Asplenium rhyzophyllus ', A. scolopendrium "Cristata", 
Polypodium (?)australe, Polystichum munitum and a Polystichum species from Yunnan*, 
all growing on top of the wall. A second small bog bed (more off-cuts) contains Osmunds 
regalis, O. regalis "Purpurascens" & O. regalis "Cristata". The rest of this area contains 
Adiantum pedatum, A venustum, Blechnum penna-marina, Dryopteris filix-mas "Cristata 
Martmdale"and Polystichum setiferum "Tripinnatum". 

I am trying to improve the soil by mulching with compost, but each batch produced only 
covers a small area, and I have planted a few shrubs and other plants amongst the 
Terns, which will eventually provide some shade. To finish, I can but echo Matt Busby's 
advice to experiment if, like me, vou aet too much snn in vm.r o.rHnn 

AMONG THOSE DARK SATANIC MILLS - Extracts from the records of 
the Halifax Scientific Society, founded 1874 

MARGARET ROTHWELL, 42 Victoria Avenue, Elland, W. Yorks., HX7 8JX 

!!n! n Ah a f + !! rSt ' nVited t0 act as fern record e r f°r the Halifax Scientific Society, I did not 
expect tnat there would be a great deal to record, other than in botanically rich doughs 
such as Hardcastle Crags, Luddenden Dean, Crimsworth Dean etc., which are a 
frith ^ Mer *"' the Qrimmer aspects of Halifax are more reminiscent of a line 
rorn the poignant folk-song, A Dalesman's Litany: "From Hull and Halifax and Hell, good 
c l r f' Ver ™f than of a Pteridologist's paradise. However, I was soon to be pleasantly 
surprised and delighted to be proved wrong. 

lT S orfjn C 7url hernSelVeS make fa scinating reading, not least because of the 
assoc at on of Halifax with the notable James Bolton, and nearby Todmorden with the 
I pSh ?! ° BPS - fama Extracts from letters such as that from J. Nowell to R. 
tn™?r P 1 1th ' 1837) ' Whilst interestin 9- sadly record local extinctions: "Agreeable 
Rate soulwest YortsNre" "^ * C/ »**^ ^ a ' have 9 athered * *** 
It is remarkable that the Halifax flora has a 1666 record for Diphasiastrum alpinum at 
nnnoM .- Lan6 ' less than two miles from the city centre. Whilst it is "long 

imnmhir u' S T " mUSt be agreed that - " with so much moorland within the parish, it is 
improbable that they [the clubmosses] have become extinct". 

1°^ ]t T S ! HI P ° SSible t0 find interesting plants in the urban environment. Mill walls play 
thP , a L\a TT scolo P end "urn (a species once recorded as nearly exterminated in 
me area), A tnchomanes, A. ruta-muraria and Polypodium interjectum, as do basements 

that of Brookfont M^we cn™^ 

as that of Brookfoot Motors, Elland - the high humidity creating gryke-like 

Hunger Hill, Halifax is practically covered with - 
1775 a ' a plant whicn Bo| ton recorded "in plenty" on the walls at Sowerby Bridge 

life. Stoney Royd cemetery, Siddal has 

i surrounded by 

Polystichum setiferum in the area. This 

named by Thomas 

Railways and cuttings present more choice species: Osmunda regalis is recorded on 
rocks in a cutting in the Ryburn Valley and a plant of Asplenium adiantum-nigrum was 
recently found at North Bridge, Halifax as well as a member of the Dryopteris affinis 
aggregate, confirmed as "morphotype borreri, but near robusta" by Clive Jermy. 
Canals and riversides constitute urban oases for ferns. Besides the usual Athyrium 
filix-femina, Dryopteris filix-mas, D. dilatata, and D. affinis borreri, a wall overlooking the 
canal at Elland has a single plant of Asplenium ceterach (unrecorded prior to 1986) and 
O. regalis grows on the canal side at Mytholmroyd, on the banks of the river Ryburn 
above Ripponden and "on rocks at the side of filled-in canal near Phoebe Lane, Halifax 
were formerly several large plants, now nearly gone". (1987) 

If pollution is ever sufficiently controlled for me to witness the rediscovery of 
Hymenophyllum wilsonii, first recorded at Turner Clough in 1834 by Leyland and 
"authenticated by specimens" close to mills, but in a locality which is "by no means 
deteriorated", I shall be even r 
is by no means necessary, and that I n 
mills 1 " to find my pteridologist's paradise. 



MARGARET NIMMO-SMITH, 210 Chesterton Road, Cambridge, CB4 1AH 
After managing the BPS Spore Exchange for the past six years I have come increasingly 
to realise its potential as a resource for conservation, often under-used at present. There 
are many different aspects to this. Primarily the exchange is used by horticulturalists, 
both in this country and abroad, who wish to extend the range of ferns they grow. 
Through the lead of the National Council for Conservation of Plants and Gardens 
(NCCPG), the role of the amateur is now seen as making an important contribution to the 
conservation of the wealth and diversity of plants grown in our gardens. They are the 
guardians of our horticultural plant heritage. The BPS spore list has been used by 
national collection holders to help build up their fern reference collections. The BPS 
exchanges spores regularly with botanical gardens and at present I am processing a 
large request to help the ancient botanic garden of Leiden which has an excellent 
tropical fern collection, to build a collection of hardy ferns. 

t years there has been an upsurge 

f interest in growing foreign hardy f< 

has given fern growers the opportunity 

i the work done by Richard Rush 

sufficient ferns 
experiment with their hardiness out of doors. In this area the work don 
(and published in his book) has been an invaluable inspiration and aid. Several smaller 
nurseries in Britain are now offering a range of hardy ferns for sale to a general 
gardening public, now becoming increasingly aware of their value as garden plants. 
Often these ferns have originated in the spore exchange. 

The Spore Exchange list also offers the opportunity to try material collected in the wild, 
sometimes from areas which may offer hardy or nearly hardy ferns. Recently I received a 
consignment collected in New Guinea from an area where the botany is poorly known, 

206 Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

and the ferns are not yet identified. It is hoped that more plant hunters will use the Spore 
Exchange as a means of distributing their spore finds. Members are often shy of trying 
new or unknown taxa, missing the opportunity to extend the number of ferns in 
cultivation. Each year I find there are many ferns on the list which are under requested. 
To encourage members a survey form was circulated last year to find out about 
members' fern-growing interests. To date about 30 replies have been received. It is 
hoped through this to give surplus spores to interested members to try. In future I would 
like to attempt to list the relative hardinesses of taxa on the spore list so that members 
will feel encouraged to try new items. 

The cultivarson the list are as important as the species. Many, such as Dryopteris affinis 
varieties come almost 100% true from spores. Others offer immense opportunities for 
fern breeding and the possibility of reproducing lost varieties, such as has recently 
happened with Athyrium filix-femina "Kalothrix". Care should be taken with the naming of 
fern cultivars raised from spore to make sure that only those true to type are given the 
name. If there is much variation a group name can be used. When raising plants in 
quantity poor specimens should always be junked. 

Finally, there is a more academic area in which the BPS can assist. I am asked 
occasionally to produce material for students' research projects, and also to assist in 
conservation projects. However, there are certain rare British fern species such as 
Woodsia alpina, Athyrium flexile and Cystopteris montana which have been conspicuous 
by their absence from the list. I would make a plea for anyone growing these species to 
donate spores so that they can become more firmly established in cultivation and more 
readily available for research. 

I have enjoyed my work for the Spore Exchange tremendously, but it is only possible 
thanks to the hard work and dedication of the many donors around the world. 

44th AIBS ANNUAL MEETING - Iowa State University 1-5th August 1993 

CATHERINE ANN RAINE, Department of Cell and Structural Biology, Williamson 

Building, Manchester University, Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 3 9PL. 

Thanks to the BPS Centenary Fund I was able to attend the 44th AIBS Annual meeting 

in Iowa as a final year SERC funded postgraduate student from Manchester University. 

This proved to be a very valuable opportunity to meet other workers in my field. With this 

financial help I was also able to go on the associated pteridological field trips before the 


Despite the torrential rains and floods, prior to this conference (requiring a change of 

venue and accommodation) it was by no means a wash out. There \ 

good weather and sunshine for the field work. The first three day trip to the f 

Plateau region of northeastern Iowa proved that this state isn't quite flat all over and that 

there are plants other than corn! The crops had suffered from flood damage but the ferns 

we saw were flourishing. Of particular interest was the tallgrass prairie site supporting 

Ophioglossum pusillum and another site with the prairie scouring rushes Equisetum 

laevigatum and E. x ferrissii. Personal highlights of the trip were seeing a putative 

Gymnocarpium hybrid persisting on talus slopes kept cold by air flow from ice caves, the 

abundant maidenhair Adiantum pedatum, finding the gemmiferous Huperzia lucidula ana 

visiting a 10 acre Equisetum x litorale marsh. 

The following one day excursion took us to the infamous Woodman Hollow State 

Preserve in Central Iowa where we saw most of the 14 recorded pteridophytes including 

Dryopteris goldiana, Cryptogramma stelleri, Woodsia obtusa and Matteuccia struth '°^ e 

eris. This was fascinating place to visit but, if the stinging nettles did't get you, 

mosquitoes did! They are deterred by no amount of clothing! 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 


The conference ran from 1st to 5th of August. The American Fern Society (AFS) held 
their meeting on the first day with topics including molecular techniques, palaeopteridol- 
ogy, population dynamics, antheridiogen responses, structure of spermatozoids and 
gametophytic gemmae. The Killarney Fern (Trichomanes speciosum) was well repre- 
sented in this section by our little team. Dr Junxia Ji started the day with her presentation 
on DNA amplification and its application to a genetic study of the Killarney fern. In the 
afternoon, Fred Rumsey enlightened us with electrophoretic analysis of this mysterious 
fern. My own presentation concentrated on growth rates of gametophyte gemmae under 
different environmental conditions and the possible controls of gemma production. 
The AFS meeting was celebrated in true style at luncheon with an amazing cake in the 
form of a mature cordate gametophyte bearing fully functional gametangia! (Fig. 1 .) It was 
very tastefully presented, but I wasn't quite so drawn to the green icing when it was 
served up! 

The following day the select pteridological poster session played host to my two 
contributions, one on evidence for sexual reproduction in Trichomanes speciosum and 
the other on differences between gametophyte gemmae in the whole family of filmy ferns 
One other poster from Edinburgh completed the session with a look at the role of soil 
spore banks in fern conservation. 

Several other contributions in the remainder of the conference were of interest to the 
pteridologists including the ecological section of the phytogeography and ecology of rock 
cliffs, barrens and glades in North America. Don Farrar and Jeffrey Walck highlighted the 
environment in which North America's independent gametophytes are typically found. 

t was extremely 

i speak with workers whose research paralleled my own and to 
r guidance when observing new fern species on the field trips. Withoutthe help I 
from the BPS this would not have been possible. Thankyou. 


Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

Whilst looking through some old copies of the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 
that my mother had given me I came across a short note about what appeared to me to 
be a rather unadiantum-like Adiantum. I have been unable to find any mention of 
Adiantum balfourii and would be very interested in any information that other members 
may have on this species 1 . 

Adiantum balfourii A.M. September 26, 1972, as an ornamental foliage plant for 
lhouse. An attractive pot plant about 10 inches in height, the 
almost black shiny stems are wiry and contrast with the dainty 
1 the light green leaves. The pinnae are in opposite pairs, almost 
sessile, orbicular and equally sided up to % inch long and 1 / 2 inch wide. The sori 
are marginal, linear in shape and not continuous. This species is native to the 
mountains of the island of Socotra?, having been discovered during the exploration 
of the island by Professor Isaac Balfour and Dr Schweinfurth before 1883. 
Specimen in Herb. Hort. Wisley. Exhibited by The Director, The Royal Botanic 
Garden, Kew, Richmond, Surrey. 

(first published in the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society vol. XCVIII October 
1973 Part 10) 


Adiantum balfourii 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 209 


AND HORSETAILS OF THE BRITISH ISLES by James Merryweather and Michael Hill. 
Reprinted from Field Studies (1992), 8: 101-188. Price £6. ISBN 1 85153 21 1 
Despite the publication in 1991 of the Jermy and Camus Illustrated field guide to the ferns 
and allied plants of the British Isles, there is still a place for this AIGAP beginners' guide 
with its very different and sympathetic approach. With good integral illustrations, minimal 
use of technical terms (without being patronising) and the use of only a hand lens, the 
guide enables all British pteridophyte species, to be identified in the field. Pointers are 
also given to the recognition of three common hybrids and seven aliens. 
A number of features make for the beginner-friendliness of this guide. Species with wide 
morphological variation key out in more than one place; tables replace the dichotomous 
key format when a suite of characters is better suited for the separation of the more 
critical species; and I particularly enjoyed the 'Don't Panic' comments where the beginner 
is likely to encounter difficulties. There are helpful tips for confirming the identification of 
species and on how to recognise possibly confusing non-pteridophytes. There is a good 

The drawings by Michael Hill are generally good with plants, leaves and other selected 
details readily recognisable. However, one must quibble with the choice, on page 156, of 
three complete leaves to illustrate pjnna shape - and there are probably better examples. 
On page 184 the uniquely broadly triangular basal pinnae of Gymnocarpium dryoptens 
are insufficiently distinctive. 

At the back of the book are 29 excellent, small, colour prints, the last four having been 
chosen to show the condition required of sporangia for spore collecting. 

i for the guide is tempered, unfortunately, by far too many typographical 

i referring the user to the wrong page), 
the drawings; inconsistency in the style 

> there is confusing labelling c 
the statements used at each 

dichotomy; a number of cases of poor punctuation which, on several occasions results in, 

albeit sometimes amusing, ambiguity; and there are too many questionable points in the 

glossary. However, although aggravating, possibly confusing, these do not substantially 

alter the effectiveness of the key, except on page 162 where the directions to the next 

stage of the key have been transposed in the second and fourth boxes. 

I understand, and it is a pity, that the author and illustratorwere not given the opportunity 

to correct the final proofs, when errors etc. could have been dealt with. 

Some might query the size of the volume for a field manual, although it is consistent with 

other AIDGAP keys which are not all field guides. However, this is a minor criticism - 

does have a water-repellant cover! 

The Field Studies Council should be urged to publish a corrected, second edition as soon 

as possible. If available at the same price it will be excellent value for money ana 10 oe 

highly recommended for the new beginner. JENNIFER IDE 

FLORA EUROPAEA Vol. 1 Psilotaceae to Platanaceae, second edition. 

Edited by G. Tutin etal, Cambridge 1993. Pp. xlvi, 581,5 maps. 

It is twenty nine years since the first edition of this standard work was Pushed a"^ n rt 

surprisingly, there have been sufficient changes in the European ptendophyle toato 

morethan justify a new edition now. Some are straightforward new records e £ iPsiloJum^ 

nudum, whilst others are new species emerging from a complex eg. i 

, Cheilanthes fragrans 

210 Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

has been split into two species C. acrostica and C. maderensis. There are in addition 

perhaps 10 new subspecies. 

Name changes are frequent and the rank of many species has also changed eg. 

subspecies to species and vice versa. There have been some name changes at family 

level, notably Sinopteridaceae, Gymnogrammaceae and Cryptogrammaceae have all 

been sunk into Adiantaceae, Athyhaceae has become Woodsiaceae and Aspidiaceae 

has become Dryopteridaceae. In addition the work has been rendered more valuable by 

the inclusion of full synonymy with each taxon. 

A tremendous amount of research is encapsulated here, but clearly some problems 

remain, eg. in Diphasiastrum, which subspecies are hybrids? Occasionally new 

advances have been made since going to press, eg. Dryoptehs ardenchensis is not 

included, but otherwise I think the whole treatment is up to date. As in the first edition, a 

few naturalised genera are listed. 

Occasionally hybrids are included, eg. a few in Polystichum and Asplenium alternifolium, 

but no others, even in the promiscuous genera of Asplenium and Dryoptehs. Such 

omissions are understandable, given the huge amount of extra work and text which 

would be required, but their absence is disappointing. 

This is a very scholarly work, an essential reference for anyone studying the region's fern 

flora, and it is no longer sufficient to rely on the first edition. This new work will certainly 

be of great value to amateur and professional botanists alike, and it will be my key 

reference for the foreseeable future. 


Press, Kathmandu. Pp. 236. Over 100 photographs in black and white, with 5 in colour 
on the cover. 1991. 

Few books on ferns break new ground, but here we have a volume which I believe will 
become a classic of its time. 93 Nepalese fern species are illustrated, diagrammatically 
and by photographs, with a map of their distribution in Nepal, together with notes on their 
wider distribution. So far, it sounds a fairly predictable flora, but the difference between 
this book and so many others from around the world is that this is written for gardeners. 
Dr Gurung writes from personal experience and gives direction on soil preferences, 
suitability for hanging baskets, borders, bottle gardens, window sills etc. Altitude range in 
Nepal is given, with estimates of hardiness for each species. This book is not printed on 
glossy art paper, nor are all the photographs of the highest quality, but it is a good 
honest readable book which I strongly recommend. 


SCANDINAVIAN FERNS by Benjamin Ollgard and Kirsten Tind, Rhodos, Copenhagen^ 

1993. Pp. 317, 103 line drawings in text and 1 14 col. plates. Folio (25 x 34cm). ISBN 8/ 

7245 530 6 paper bound about £37, ISBN 87 7245 532 2 hard bound about £43. 

If, like me, you think Scandinavia is tc 

for a pleasant surprise. 72 species of f< 

from the British Isles. 

Species not known in Britain include Lycopodium complanatum, - 

Equisetum scirpoides, 6 species of Botrychium, Asplenium adulterinum, Matteuc ^ 

struthiopteris, Diplazium sibiricum, Gymnocarpium jessoense, Cystoptens alpma, 

2,5(1994) 211 

sudetica, Woodsia glabella, Polystichum braunil and Dryopteris fragrans. Not a bad list, 
when's the next boat? 

This wonderful book is the first to be dedicated to the Scandinavian fern flora. I do not 
usually like books illustrated by paintings, preferring photographs or nature prints, but 
here each plate is executed with great accuracy and style. Every species is always 
illustrated several times, showing habit, including typically associated species, close 
detail of leaves, rhizome, sporangia etc. One day I can imagine this book being cut up by 
dealers with the plates being sold as prime examples of late twentieth century fern 

The text is also excellent, including most of the generally expected details given in a very 
readable style with complementary black and white sketches of key features. My only 
criticism is the absence of distribution maps. A list of maps published in other, often rare, 
books is frustrating. There are full keys to species. 

The price is high, but I can strongly recommend this book in the belief that no member 
would be disappointed with their £37 worth. Oh, yes, the best news last - you probably 
guessed - it is written in English. 



or How to discover Trichomanes speciosum gametophytes. 

JOHANNES VOGEL, Peterhouse, Cambridge, CB2 1RD 

Often most important scientific discoveries have a simple story behind them. A gooc I and 
most recent example is the invention of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) 
(honoured with a Nobel Prize in 1993). During a drive home on a lonesome mountain 
road one dark Friday night - the moon was shining - the Laureate Kary B. Mullis had a 
blitz of an idea or a short and sudden inspiration which earned him a few hundred 
thousand dollars a few years later and, as a by-product, revolutionized molecular biology. 
But there are also far less important discoveries which have a long story behind them, 
and one of these is now to be told. Once upon a time, or more exactly in 1839, Queen 
Victoria decided to marry a German, Prince Albert zu Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. This 
decision had several severe effects: 

a) the haemophilia gene was widely spread through the European Aristocracy (the last 
carrier of this Royal gene died in 1 993) 

b) the Christmas tree was introduced into Britain (unfortunately, botanists by then had not 
agreed on a code and rules on the introduction of foreign species, and customs might 
have been sloppy) 

c) and last but not least, Albert promoted science and due to his efforts the British 
Museum (Natural History) - now The Natural History Museum - in London was bunt in 

After this, no important or relevant relations can be recorded for the next 1 1 1 years until 
the author received a grant from the German National Scholarship Foundation to study 
Genetics for a year at Peterhouse in Cambridge, England. Here, working on seed 
proteins in beans, not surprisingly I developed an interest in ferns, or more P/^J 
some biosystematic aspects of the genus Asplenium, and in summer 
introduced to an English Pteridologist, Dr Mary Gibby from The Natural History Museum. 
Until then I did not even know that such people existed. All I knew about ferns was hat I 
had acquired a copy of the volume on Pteridophytes of Hegi's Flora von Mitteleuropa 
quite a while ago. 

212 Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

Unfortunately I had to go back to Germany as the grant only covered my expenses 
(mainly fees) for one year. In Summer 1991 a scholarship from the Natural History 
Museum was available to the Department of Botany and when Mary asked me if I was 
still interested in doing a PhD on Asplenium and, if so, would I like to apply for the grant, I 
needed little prompting to go for this unique opportunity. 

I started in January 1992 and in July that year I had the opportunity to join Clive Jermy 
and others on a trip to Scotland to investigate a local industry (i.e. the Glenfiddich 
distillery) and perhaps, if there was enough time, to go out in the field and hunt for 
Asplenium on serpentine or visit the coastal sandstones. Here, Clive regularly 
disappeared into dark caves. I became suspicous, interested and inquisitive. Finally he 
told me, that this tiny, green and furry thing he was extracting from these not very 
hospitable places was a very exciting object, a fern. As he is the pteridologist, I had to 
believe him. Since I have been a keen botanist on the Continent we were able to discuss 
the possibility of finding this green stuff in the heartland of Europe and within no time 
suitable sites were selected. Trichomanes speciosum gametophytes are most likely to 
grow near sites where another of the Hymenophyllaceae, Hymenophyllum tunbrigense, 
has been recorded, eg. Luxembourg, Vosges and the Elbsandsteingebirge. Clive, joined 
by Ronnie Viane and the Rasbachs conquered the Continent first, but only reaching out 
as far as Luxembourg (just next to the sea) and they were successful. 
I learnt all about serpentine ferns in the territory of the former GDR in Autumn 1992. 
Stefan JeBen from Chemnitz (a fern expert not only for the territory of the former German 
Democratic Republic, GDR) told me about his search for the lost Hymenophyllum in the 
Elbsandsteingebirge, but it had to wait until July 1993 before we could set off together for 
the hunt. Starting at an ungodly hour in Chemnitz we reached the Elbsandsteingebirge 
by 8.00 a.m. I had described sites for gametophytes in the U.K. and Stefan had a superb 
knowledge of the numerous gorges and of the old sites of Hymenophyllum in the 
sandstone massif, which covers an area of around 300km2. Starting at the western end 
of the massif, most spectacular gorges with steep rocks rising up to over a 100m were 
searched in good spirit. We were determined to succeed. The sandstone offered a 

t further up 

I applied successfully in Britain an 
produced neither gametophytes nor a sign of Hymenophyllum. After lunch, streams with 
permanent running water, a rare element in this area, were requested and we turned 
further east near the Czech border. Another valley, another failure and it was getting late, 
but a last valley had to be searched. "There is a vague old record of Hymenophyllum - in 
a valley near Hrensko" Stefan said "and I believe I know which valley it is". We stopped 
3km behind the Czech-German border and the valley was most suitable, big bouldersin 
a stream, decidous woodland, mainly maple and beech and all quite lush and green. We 
started searching along the stream, climbing over boulders and searching \~*~ 
and I was telling Stefan that these would be suitable sites in the U.K '"' 

searching every suitable 

t it was getting 

Chemnitz that day. I was still believing i that tne 
gametophytes could be found in the Elbsandsteingebirge, but I was rather doubtful tna 
would be today, as this most promising site was not about to reveal its seer as. 
Pondering along a foot path further upstream, leaving Stefan behind as he was nun y 
mainly for suitable Hymenopyllum sites (but he having the essential torch), I spotte 
rock with crevices in a gorge and decided: "If not there, then nowhere in this valley . 9 
very nervous, shouted to Stefan to try to get hold of the torch and jumped over ^ 
stream. A crevice was most temptingly staring at me and within seconds I met aye ^ 
eye" with gametophytes of Trichomanes speciosum, nicely displaying themse ive 
most unusually open site - no torch required. 30 clumps of gametophyte, the gy ^ 
being 1cm2, had been found after more than 7 hours of intensive search in an a 
more than of 300km 2 . 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

214 Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

We had been the optimal team, Stefan had all the local knowledge and I knew what 
these gametophytes looked like. The rest of the story is written up in the last issue of The 
Fern Gazette, but it has to be added that even though Stefan was able to discover the 
gametophytes at several more sites in the area, so far only one site is suitable for an 
appropriate photographic documentation of the gametophytes, the very first site in that 

In 1840, seven years before Hymenophyllum tunbrigense was discovered for the first 
time in the Elbsandsteingebirge (Saxony), a German (Saxon) Prince was married an 
English Queen. He promoted science in England and subsequently The Natural History 
Museum was built. A few years later a studentship was offered by just this English 
Institution to a German student (albeit not a Saxon, but according to some ladies, of 
princely stature) who most gratefully accepted. He was trained by most knowledgeable 
and experienced English staff how to recognize a gametophyte of a particularly rare fern, 
which has its type locality in England (gametophyte. that is). He took that knowledge back 
to Germany and in close collabration with a fellow German (Saxon), Stefan JeBen, a new 
genus and a new species were added to the Saxon and Czech floras. 
German-English relations and their consequences as a success story? Sometimes. 


ROGER GROUNDS, Apple Court, Hordle Lane, Lymington, Hants., S041 OHU 
When Diana and I were invited to go to New Zealand as guest lecturers at the Trust 
Bank Garden World at Hamilton Gardens in North Island, I must confess my first thought 
was that I would at last get a chance to see all those fabulous antipodean ferns. In the 
event we had so much to do right up until the moment we left that I quite forgot about the 
ferns. But when we stepped out of Auckland Airport the very first thing my eyes lighted 
on was a clump of tree ferns and Phormiums in an island bed right in the middle of the 
car park. From then on, and for the next three weeks, I saw ferns wherever I looked, and 
an amazing experience it was. 

The tree ferns growing in the airport car park were Cyathea species, mostly C. 
medullar*. Unlike the squat Dicksonia antartica that one occasionally sees in the UK, 
these Cyatheas have tall, slender and very elegant stems, sometimes as much as 20m 
tall. With finely divided fronds and much as 5m long, swaying gently in the breeze they 
seemed so desirable that one was almost tempted to move out to New Zealand, just to 
have them in one's garden. Over the next three weeks we were to see so many that they 
came to seem as mundane as bracken. Looking back on it the really surprising thing is 
mat these tree ferns, and several others were growing right out in the open, in full sun 
> H »« every wind that blew, on hillsides and car parks and in the middle of 


guests of Ian Gear, the head of horticulture at Waikato Polytechnic at 

We were the 

Hamilton and his wife Helen, and as Ian drove us from Auckland to Hamilton the 
roadside was thick with a large red-leafed fern. It was just everywhere. I asked what it 
was. Ian said it was just a Blechnum, adding that it grew everywhere. Certainly it was the 
commonest fern we saw in New Zealand, and as far as I can make out it does not have 
a name. It was the New Zealand version of B. capense but even Brownsey and 
nith-Dodsworth refer to it simply as Blechnum sp 2. Like the Cyatheas it was growing in 
anced its colouring. We found a similar fern growing in our host's 
ner and the segments were quite undulate: 

garden, but the fronds were 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 


according to Brownsey and Smith-Dodsworth this is i 
species 1. Nearby were a Hypolepis sp. and a good ! 
Pteridium esculentum, much stiff er and more finely c 
next day we set off from Hamilton along the road to Kawhia Harbour and the beach 
beyond, famous for its black sands beneath which hot springs bubble. The purpose of 
our journey was to visit Lloyd and Christine Phillips, who are members of the British 
Hosta and Hemerocallis Society. The road took us over a mountain ridge, and at times 
we seemed to be driving along a knife-edge of a road, with dense forest disappearing 
down precipitous slopes to left and right. One got odd glimpses of desirable ferns among 
trees and indeed growing on the trees, but at the one or two places we found where one 
could pull off the road and get out of the car, the forest and its undergrowth were so 
dense that one could not get into it: it was impenetrable. However, the moment we turned 
off the road onto the Philips' farm we found ourselves driving down an avenue of tall, 
wide-spreading trees whose trunks and branches were entirely covered with Pyrrosia 
eleagnifolia (P. serpens), whose almost succulent, felted leaves varied in size from round 
and no longer than the nail of one's little finger to almost the size and shape of one's 
thumb. There were several other first rate ferns in the garden, as well as the most 
sumptuous clumps of hostas we have ever seen, but what made my day, and indeed my 
trip, was when Lloyd took us across the road to see his stream. Lloyd is a cattle farmer, 
and about three years before our visit he had bought some 300 acres more iand across 
the road. Not needing to put cattle on this land for the present he had fenced it off to 
keep the cattle out, and in just those three years it had become almost impenetrable 
jungle. The first thing we came to was a stand of Cyathea medullaris around the rim of a 
dell at the bottom of which was a cattle pond, the trunks of the Cyatheas draped with yet 
more Pyrrosia. 

Then we plunged down into the woodland that had grown up. Many of the trees were 
already 8 or 10m tall, but the tree ferns were even taller and were the most conspicuous 
element in the landscape. The trunks of the trees, and indeed of the tree ferns, were thick 
with other ferns, and with the bizarre clumps of Astelia species. The first fern I stumbled 
on, right at eye level on the trunk of a tree, was the tiny, almost transparent Trichomanes 
reniforme, whose pale green, almost round leaves are no bigger than the nail of my index 
finger, the whole plant only an inch or two across. Nearby were Phymatosorus 
(Microsorium) diverstfolius, but far more luxuriant than the poor weedy specimen we have 
growing in the moss that covers the bricks on the north side of a shed in our nursery. 
Nearby, and indeed sometimes actually growing together on the same tree and in the 
same place, was P. scandens, a fern which I had been trying to obtain for years, partly 
because there is a suspicion that it might be almost hardy. It has far narrower and more 
refined fronds than P. diversifolius. Two spleenworts were also abundant in this part or 
the wood, Asplenium flaccidum (Fig. 1.), the hanging spleenwort, which dings to the 
trunks of trees or the sides of large rocks, its roots buried in mosses and filmy ferns, its 
finely divided, raiher leathery fronds hanging downwards for a length of a foot or more 
and the shining spleenwort, or at least one of several spleenworts to which that epithet 
might apply. The one we saw was probably Asplenium oblongifoiium (A. lucidum), but A. 
obtusatum is similar in having very very shiny, dark green fronds. 
Farther down in the woodland, nearer the river 
ferns were different. Here the Blechnums came ii 

conspicuous on account of its fertile fronds, but there were also great i 
colensoi. This is another dimorphic Blechnum, the barren fronds being large, coarse and 

shiny. This very often grew c 

i river with its feet in the water, in company 

- - lovely New Zealand pampass grass, Cortaderia fulvida, which at that : 
(November) was just begining to unfurl its huge, salmon pink plumes Quite the most 
exciting find of the day was what I at first took for a really quite small Blechnum 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

Fig. 1 . Asplenium flaccidum ii 
Pillips' wild garden. 

m Felix Jury's garden. tile showing fertile fronds 

>f an average living roor 

we looked at the trunks of the trees growing out of this 
was, for the trunks were covered in thin, slightly hairy 
g typically pinnate Blechnum fronds, the fronds which 
i tree they occurred. This was B. filiforme. the only 
3 few high-climbing New Zealand ferns. It was the only 
t was an unforgettable meeting. 
After that we had three or four days of lecturing, after which we set off for Mark Jury's 
nursery, going by way of that most famous of New Zealand tourist traps, the hot springs 
at Rotorua. Nothing quite prepares one for this, neither the picture postcards nor cine 
films, for it is the sheer smell that makes most impact. The whole place stinks of 
Hydrogen sulphide, and much of vegetation is covered with deposits of sulphur. But it 
was here that we came across another of those ferns that I had always wanted to obtain, 
the exasperating tangle fern, Gleichenia microphylla (Fig. 2.). I say exasperating with 
good reason, for all the books say that this fern is impossible to cultivate. When you see 
how it grows in the wild you just have to believe this. It grows in full sun, either in the 
bare earth, or in short, rather sparse grass. The soil is volcanic trash, bright red and the 
texture of clay, with a pH so low that any horticultural text book would tell you that 
nothing at all would grow there (indeed sulphur is used to lower pH, just as lime is used 
to raise it). On top of that the tangled, bracken-like fronds are encrusted with sulphur, 
almost preserved in it, and as often as not their roots are watered by one of the hot 
springs. The water quite literally comes out of the ground at boiling point and, where the 
roots of the tangle fern are, it is still so hot you cannot put your finger in it. I imagine one 
could only cultivate this fern if one were to grow it in a bucket of acid on top of the central 
heating boiler. 

Mark Jury's nursery at Gisbourne was paradise by comparison. It is famous chiefly for its 
camellias, some of which are now obtainable in the UK. The nursery was started Mark's 
uncle, Felix Jury an avocado pear farmer who is now known around the world for the 
arborescent magnolias he has raised. The garden was a real plantsman's paradise with 
wide, sun-drenched borders filled with cacti and succulents and all sorts of exotics. 
Beyond these was a small woodland of exotic trees on which were cultivated all sorts of 
orchids, bromeliads and ferns. At the entrance to the wood were several plants of 
Lastreopsis velutina. This lovely, very finely-divided fern is perhaps truly endemic to that 
part of New Zealand for, although always an uncommon fern, it is most usually found in 
the drier coast a this was one. More exotic though, was a plant of 

Sticherus cunninghamii. This is another of those New Zealand Gleicheniaceae which, 
like the Gleichenias of the sulphur springs, is reputed to be impossible to cultivate. It 
turned out that it was not really being cultivated, it just happened that it was now growing 
there. In his youth Felix Jury had roamed all over New Zealand exploring the country and 
learning about the plants. On one occasion he had stumbled on this Sticherus and, on 
looking closer, had discovered that it was growing on a large slab of slate-like rock. He 
had carried it home on its rock where it is still growing to this day. It is a most 
extraordinary fern for the old fronds remain on the plant, turning a rich, rusty brown and 
becoming the texture not so much of leather as of wood. They are so hard and stiff to the 
touch that they might have been carved from solid oak. But the piece de resistence was 
a plant of Blechnum fluviatile (Fig. 3.) which bore at the tips of its fronds the most 
enormous crests. It was the only example of variation in a New Zealand fern that we saw 
during our visit. With great generosity Felix Jury split off a huge chunk for me to bring 
home. Unfortunately I had to leave it behind in New Zealand with a nurseryman to get a 
phytosanitary certificate to send it to the UK, and he apparently lost it. I have some 
pressed fronds to prove that it really exists, but it's not the same as growing it. 

^ ia Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

We stayed that night in Gisbourne and the next day for Pukeiti, which is New Zealand's 
equivalent of the Savill Garden, a mecca for devotees of the rhododendron. It lies on the 
slopes of Mount Egmont, which is an intermittently active volcano and looks for all the 
world just like pictures of Mount Fuji, with its snow-capped cone emerging from a skirt of 
cloud. What we did not realise as we set off for the lower, sun-lit slopes was that Pukeiti 
lies neither on the sun-lit lower slopes nor on the snow-capped cone: it lies just where the 
clouds rest. We spent most of our visit in the tea-rooms watching the rain teeming down 
as apparently it usually does at that time of the year. We did however make one quick 
sortie to what it known as the Water Wheel, a corner of the garden that is almost 
legendary for its fabulous ferns, and in spite of the rain we were not disappointed. The 
water wheel itself is situated in a very deep, narrow valley, rather like one of the Devon 
coombes, with a river flowing over the water wheel and then along the valley: the sides 
are clothed in large trees so that very little light gets in. The water coming over the water 
wheel and falling into the river creates a fine spray which, in those windless conditions, 
just hangs in the air. The water wheel itself, the little brick building behind it, and every' 
rock and tree trunk for yards around were clothed with filmy ferns, so many and of so 
many different sorts that I could not even begin to list them. For a lover of ferns, this was 
indeed this was a heaven beyond one's wildest dreams. 

On the steep banks that made up the sides of the valley grew innumerable plants of 
Blechnum fluviatile, and slightly lower down, in darker and damper positions grew great 
colonies of Blechnum colensoi (Fig. 4.), its fronds literally dripping wet from the spray. 
Both of these blechnums are 

Tronas. But the gems of this valley were the King fern, Marattia salicina, remarkable more 
for its size and its coarseness than for its beauty for, with frond stipes as much as 1m 

long and blades as much g 

3 largest of ail terrestial ferns, 

and the so-called Prince of Wales Feathers, Leptopteris superba. This is often mentioned 
as being one of the most beautiful of all ferns and it is indeed an absolute beauty. It forms 
a rosette of quite extraordinarily dark green fronds, the surfaces of which were covered in 
fine droplets of spray. The fronds are tripnnate, but the segments are very close together, 
making a very dense mass of greenery. Although not a filmy fern, it requires virtually the 
same conditions of coolness and constant atmospheric saturation, though having said 
that, it grew further away from the source of the spray than either of the Blechnum 
species or the Marattia. 

Our final trip was up to the Coromandel Peninsula, if only because having swum in the 
Tasman Sea at Kawhia Beach we thought we ought to take a dip in the Pacific too. 
Having had our dip we set off to find Cathedral Cove, famous as the place where Captain 
uook first set foot on New Zealand. It is a most spectacular place. To reach the cove you 
have first to ascend what seems like half way up a mountain, and the descend a very 
steep gradient to the cove. The cathedral is a natural rock formation. Like any cove, this 
one was closed at each end by great cliffs of rock, but in one of these cliffs was a huge 
cave open not only on the cove side but on the other side too, so that one could see right 
through the rock to the sea beyond. The domed roof of the cave is apparently the largest 
naturally-occurring unsupported structure in the world, larger than the dome of St Pauls. 
On the cliffs around the cove we found several sorts of Asplenium and Adiantum 
Cunningham,, which we also found in most of the localities we visited, but the most 
colourful fern of all we only found almost by accident because we took a slightly different 
route back to our car. In a small, slightly hollow plateau, halfway up the hillside, 
surrounded on three sides by trees and looking out towards the sea were several 
nundred Adiantum hispidulum growing in the rough grass their new fronds brilliantly red 
in the late afternoon sun. They were not just tinged with red, like some of the Blechnums, 
they were really bright red, like poinsettias. Again it was surprising to find them growing in 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 219 

such a sunny position. Nearby grew a fern that is still a mystery, not only to me but to 
everyone to whom I have shown it. Beneath the trees, in dense shade, was a hillside 
covered in waist-high, cube-shaped brown rocks, and over these rocks grew a carpet of 
narrowly elliptic dark green fronds which tapered to a pointed tip. On closer inspection it 
turned out that the fronds were linked by foxy-red string-like rhizomes which clung as 
tightly as limpets to the rocks, following their every curve and ripple. I searched over 
several rocks, but could not find a single fertile frond anywhere, not so much as a single 
sorus. It looks very like Anarthropteris lanceolata except that instead of the fronds arising 
in bunches at intervals along the rhizome, they occur singly and usually alternately, 
which makes it sound more like a Grammitis, either G. givenii or G. patagonica. Perhaps 
one day it will produce sori and the mystery be solved. 

I think, looking back on the ferns we saw and where we saw them, what was most 
surprising was that half of the ferns grew in very open positions, fully exposed to the sun 
and to wind, while the other half grew in places so dark that one would never have 
planted a fern in such a position. 


AR BUSBY, Croziers, 16 Kirby Corner, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 

The conservation of fern varieties has been largely in the hands of the amateur gardener 

or keen enthusiast. Public institutions, although happy to find room for a few cultivars. 

usually prefer to maintain collections of genera for teaching and research. 

Many keen amateurs are collectors of particular genera but find the prospect of being 

responsible for a National Collection daunting, especially when they see the Conditions 

of Acceptance to which NCCPG quite rightly expects all collection holders to adhere. 

These conditions are essential if all National Collections are to be maintained to a proper 

standard. However, it is importantthat potential collection holders realise that even if their 

collection is adopted as a National Collection it still remains their property. 

Holding a National Collection involves far more than merely growing and propagating the 

plants. Some research on past varieties is expected and the collection has to be 

documented. The research need not be onerous, and the NCCPG Secretariat at Wisley 

carries out much of this quite unsolicited. The most important documentation required of 

the collection holder are records that identify individual plants and their sources. In other 

words, a careful account of acquisitions must be kept, including their planting, 

propagation and disposal. 

Each plant entering a collection requires an accession number. 

This is easily set up simply by generating a list of numbers from 001 to 999 in a small 

notebook. As each plant arrives it gets its own unique number. Simply cross off each 

number as it is applied to a plant and as each year passes, draw a line through the 

listing and begin the year with the next number. So your recently acquired plant of 

Athyrium filix-femina might have the number 93-235T.Your next acquisition might be on 

the 2nd January so its number would be 94-236T. The T denotes a transplant. If it is a 

plant from a spore sowing the accession number would end with an 'S' instead. If I 

receive several plants of the same cultivar from the same source they all get the same 

number. However, if I get several plants of the same cultivar from different sources they 

get different numbers so as to identify the source. 

If a large number of plants are raised from spores it is unnecessary to give each plant a 

number. Only those you select for adding to the Collection requii 

Spore sowings should have a sowings number or some system that will tell you where 

the spores came from and when they where sown. If the spores came from the BPS 

Spore Exchange scheme then their list number should be documented so that through 

the scheme the donor may be identified. 

Your note-book is a rough i 

each acquisition should thei 

amount of detail should inc 

number, source of origin, date received, planting location (include a map if necessary) 

and a brief description. The Cambridgeshire N.C.C.P.G. Group has produced an 

excellent file-card for plant details of which can be obtained from Margaret Nimmo-Smith. 

Other useful information for later addition could be details of published descriptions, 

cultivation notes and details of any propagation. Don't forget to allow space for detailing 

future events such as dates of repotting or loss of the plant. 

Now the plant has been carefully documented it needs the accession number on its label. 

Labels are easily lost. This is especially true of labels in the garden. I always put a label 

in the bottom of a pot before repotting the plant so that if the usual label is lost I know that 

it is repeated inside the pot. This particularly applies to plants in larger pots where they 

may languish for years. 

I also bury labels under the roots of my garden plants. This has often got me out of 

trouble when I come to lift plants that have lost their labels. A plastic label with the 

accession number written with a HB pencil will last for years underground. 

A photographic record is also desirable. 35mm colour-slides are preferable to colour 

prints and it is useful to keep a herbarium of pressed fronds. 

I hold the National Collection of Osmunda. It began in a very modest way in 1968 and 

now totals some twenty or so plants. Several species and cultivars are replicated from 

different sources so that comparative studies can be made. I have two examples of 

Osmunda regalis "Gracilis", one from an Herefordshire garden and one from Waithman 

Nursery. One has fronds and stipe that are bright green, the other carries green fronds 

with pink stipes. In spite of searching through various source books I still do not know if 

this is significant. 

Other interesting forms that have come my way are O. regalis "Decomposita" found by 
Martin Rickard in Ireland, a red form found by Philip Coke also in Ireland and a dwarf 
form which came to me via Denmark, but which possibly originated in Eastern Europe. I 
also have the late Prof. Irene Manton's cytologically determined materia! which may 
prove useful to someone at a future date. 

summary, simply to have a collection of plants is not enough. It must be thoroughly 

I maintained for it to have value. It's not only a question of conserving 
plants, we must also conserve the information too. 

To anyone with ambitions of holding a National Collection, I urge them to begin 
documenting the plants they have and any future additions; it is fatal to rely on memory. 
The National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens publishes a list of 
National Collections. For details of membership, addresses of regional group secretaries 
and membership, their address is; N.C.C.P.G. c/o The Pines, Wisley Garden, Woking, 
Surrey GU23 6QB. 


ROY VICKERY, Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, London. SW75BD. 
Although a good deal of information on the folklore of pteridophytes can be found 
scattered through various publications, most of this information is of nineteenth-century 
origin, and it appears that little, if any, effort has been made to record twentieth-century 
material. The following notes, accumulated as part of an ongoing survey of British and 
Irish ethnobotany, will, I hope, encourage others to record such things. 
Equisetum telmateia Ehrh., great horsetail: "This is uncommon hereabouts, but there is 
a big patch in Wychwood [Forest], and in my boyhood [71915] I remember seeing a 
cottager nearby using it for scouring saucepans." [personal informant, Charlbury, 
Oxfordshire, February 1991]. 

Osmunda regalis L, royal fern, locally known as Bog Onion: "The root is converted into 
a juicy substance and used as a rub for rheumatism and sciatica; it is often found to be a 
complete cure. First the root is cut into slices and then pounded up into a mash. It is then 
put into a bottle or some corked vessel and water supplied in proportion to the size of the 
root. It is then left to set for about two days until it forms a thick white juicy substance." 
[Irish Folklore Commission's Schools' Scheme, 1937-1938, vol. 50, Co. Galway]. 
Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn, bracken: 1) "My mind went back over some 70 years to 
a childish game we played [in Scotland] called 'Holy Bracken'. Selecting a fat, juicy 
specimen, I used my pocket knife to sever it close to the ground and ... there it was the 
most perfect example of the most famous initials in the world - JC ... It is considered very 
lucky to find a good example." [Sunday Express, 17 June 1979; quoted in I. Opie & M. 
Tatem, A dictionary of superstitions, Oxford, 1989]. 

2) "There's a saying around here: 

Where there's bracken there's gold, 

Where there's gorse there's silver, 

Where there's heather there's poverty". 

[pers. inf., Newton Rigg, Cumbria, September 1988]. 

3) "When I was a boy [in Hampshire, b. 1918] they used to say that if you split a bracken 
stem you would see a picture of King Charles hiding in his oak tree. I often wondered 
what would have been seen by those who split bracken stems before King Charles hid in 
his oak tree." [pers. inf., Paddington, London, May 1989]. 

4) "I remember being shown how, if you make a horizontal cut through the stem (not 
root) of a fern, an oak tree will appear." [Bath, Avon, January 1991]. 

5) [During my childhood, c. 50 years ago, in Ireland] "the fern that grows everywhere - 
bracken - we used to pull off bits of it saying: 

Tinker, tailor, Soldier, sailor, 

Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief; 

Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief. 

This year, next year, now or never. 

A loaf, half a loaf, a wedding cake, a bun. 

Gold, silver, copper, pig-ring, brass." 

[pers. inf., Streatham, London, February 1992]. 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

2) "The hart's tongue fern was used as a cure for scalds and burns. The underside up 

was laid on the scald or burn. Fresh leaves were applied when needed until the cure was 

complete." [IFCSS, vol. 650, Co. Waterford]. 

Dryopteris filix-mas (L.) schott, Male fern: "Some flockmasters used to treat liver fluked 

sheep with a weekly dose of 4 oz. of salt or a monthly treatment of male fern." [J. 

Barrington, Red sky at night, London, 1 984]. 

So far pteridophytes are under represented in the survey's records, so any further 

information would be much appreciated. 


More thoughts on Polystichum setiferum "Pulcherrimum" 

Referring to my article in the 1993 Pteridologist (2, 4, 1993) concerning the mysterious 

disappearance of Polystichum setiferum "Pulcherrimum" in the West Country, I have 

received the following letter from our member Ms I.N.G. Storey: 

I did wonder whether Radon might have anything to do with the increased variation 
among local ferns in the West Country. This radio-active gas, 222 Rn, occurs 
naturally, particularly in areas underlain by granite. It undergoes alpha decay and, 
as you probably know, has been of concern as a possible cause of lung cancer in 
the UK. Most of the homes affected lie in the south-west of England, though parts 
of Derbyshire and Northamptonshire may also be included. Radon may be water 
borne. Perhaps changes in water supply, and hence concentrations of radon 
reaching the ferns, may explain the change in rates of variation with time? 
This is only a theoretical suggestion. A closer examination of radon levels in 
relation to local fern variation, followed up by laboratory tests in which ferns are 
exposed to known concentrations of radon, would be needed to substantiate the 

Aldous P. (1990). More UK homes naturally at risk. Nature 343 (6258), 503. 

Cothern C.R. & Rebers P.A. (1990). Radon, radium and drinking water. Michigan: 

Lewis Publishers Inc. 
I welcome this as a contribution towards solving the mystery. In a subsequent letter Ms 
Storey writes: 

I would be very happy for my letter to be considered for publication as a stimulus to 

discussion on the factors affecting fern variation in the West Country and the Lake 

It will be noted that Ms Storey widens the discussion to include the tendency for all, or 
many of, our British ferns to produce more variation in the West Country and the Lake 
District 1 , but I am more concerned with the fact that Polystichum setiferum "Pulcherri- 
mum" appeared suddenly for only a short period of about 20 years, during which time it 
was most unstable and disappeared again completely, whereas the other types of 
variation are with us all the time. 
I hope that other members who may r 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 


Asplenium scolopendrium ("Ramosumtransverso" form) 

About three years ago I was j 

. There was not much in the way of 
ferns except a few scollies, some of which 
were slightly undulated. I noticed about ten 
feet up a limestone rock face which was totally 
shaded by deciduous trees a perfect Asple- 
nium scolopendrium ("Ramosum transverso" 
form) growing on a ledge. As far as I was 
concerned it was inaccessible, so I asked my 

so that I could collect some spores. 'There's 
no need to go to all that trouble" he said and, 
in no time, he had found a few toe and finger 
holds and climbed up onto the ledge. 'There 
are two or three plants here" he informed me, 
"would you like one?" I'll give you just one 
guess what my reply was. He literally peeled a 
plant off the ledge where it had rooted in the 
organic debris which had accumulated over 
many years. 

II grown, complete with 
about four pounds of 

Back at home I found a place for it in a 
i rockery, and all went well until the 
1 fronds appeared the following year. These 

What a plant H 

whether anyone else 

across this phenomenon and 


windier. In the wild, of 

hoping that it will eventually 

the site in the wild and in my garden is that the garden is colder and 
of course, the fern had a natural annual mulch of leaves. I am still 

) the form it had when I first found it 


RN TIMM, 'Aldre', Grimsby Road, Binbrook, Lincolnshire, LN3 6DH 
Recently having moved into a new garden on a chalk soil and wanting to grow a number 
of calcifuges, the problem of building some sort of acid bed faced me. Usually, of course, 
this means a structure built of peat. This did not appeal greatly, partly b e caus ® ot ™ 
great expense - this form of acid bed requires large amounts of peat, including the more 
expensive peat blocks - and also I am concerned about the environmental damage 
caused by peat digging. 

224 Pteridologist 2,5(1 994) 

The obvious alternative to peat is topsoil which is often available from farms, building 
sites and quarries. Sand and gravel quarries are especially likely to be good sources of 
suitable soil as deposits of sand and gravel often underlie areas with an acid topsoil. 
Some quarries sell topsoil as a regular trade, but generally topsoil is where you find it, 
and mine came from a farm where ground had been cleared to erect new barns. The 
farm is on the edge of sandy heathland and birch woods, therefore the soil has a low pH, 
but it is sandy and free draining. This last feature could of course have been a problem, 
as many of the calcifuges that people (including me) like to grow in a garden are thought 
to prefer humus rich, moisture retentive soil. However, the soil (which cost me nothing) 
formed the base of a compost mix. To it I added a quantity of spent potting compost from 
the greenhouse, some of which, it is true, was peat based, though a lot contained coco 
fibre. The peat had been paid for and recycled. I also added a small amount of garden 
compost (made without lime), perlite and vermiculite. The last two were only present in 
small amounts relative to the whole, but they should still have improved moisture 
retention a little. Bonemeal and a small quantity of artificial fertiliser were also used to 
boost fertility. With these additions sand would probably have done just as well as topsoil 
for a base, but soil (or old turf which could have been used) will help insure against the 
possibility of any major deficiencies. I would not recommend recycling spent compost for 
growing plants in pots, however, given time to weather and the replacement of some 
fertiliser, it should not cause too much of a problem in the garden. Leaf mould could also 
have been used for humus, but this was not available at the time. If using leaf mould it 
might be a good idea to test its pH, or at least to avoid beech leaves, as I believe those 

volume of the finished compost, and still gave a top dressing of about half an inch. I am 
content with this, since many plants are happy with this sort of mixture when growing in 
pots and, in the wild, many calcifuges are found growing in a thin layer of fibre rich soil 

The walls of the bed are made of old bricks to a height of about forty centimetres. Only 
the front side is cemented together on a shallow concrete foundation as this allowed the 
final shape to be flexible and saved on construction time. It would have done no harm to 
have cemented the whole, as the lime which leaches from good cement is negligible, 
indeed it is possible to grow calcifuges in cement containers. To encourage water 
retention the sides of the bed were lined with polythene, tucked under the top layer of 
bricks, and draped about a foot or so across the base of the bed. When finished, the bed 
measured eight feet by ten. A wide peat bed is, I believe, less prone to overheating, 
freezing and drying out, than a narrow one. The centre of the bottom and one end of the 
bed were left unlined to allow drainage to occur. Finally the walls were capped with some 
old sandstone copings, purely for ornamental effect. 

To date only a small number of plants have been tried in the bed as space is being left 
for a hopefully expanding collection. However, the ferns Gymnocarpium dryopteris, G. 
dryopteris "Plumosum" and Phegopteris connectilis have survived a winter and two 
summers, and have at least doubled in size. Blechnum spicant died, but I suspect this 
was due to lack of shade for the trees which are planted nearby to provide shade are 
small as yet. A Dryopteris erythrosora, a Magnolia stellata and an Actaea have also 
survived one year and are doing well. 

On this basis alone then, I think it would be fair to consider the bed a success and to 
recommend to anyone considering peat bed construction a break with tradition. The 
range of options and materials is truly enormous - far wider than I can list here - and 
there is great scope for improvisation and experiment. 

Incidentally, it is perhaps always worth trying plants thought to be calcifuges in an 
alkaline garden, as a number of ferns listed as lime sensitive by some of the books 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 225 

have consulted, seem to do quite well in my garden. In particular Onoclea sensibilis. 
Matteuchia struthiopteris, Osmunda regalis, Athyrium filix-femina. A. nipponicum, 
Dryoptehs wallichiana and D. affinis grow well, despite the fact that I have found all of 
them, at one time or another, listed as calcifuges. The strength and type of your lime 
must have a great influence of course, so what works in my garden may not apply 
everywhere. Athyrium and Onoclea do show slight paleness of the fronds, but this does 
not seem to affect their vigour. D. affinis and D. wallichiana, which I used to grow in pots 
of peat compost, never showed their classic golden colours until planted out in the 
garden. Perhaps a lot of golden colouration is due to mild chlorosis, and is not inherent in 
the variety as is often thought. Indeed, some of my hart's tongues are colouring up nicely 


When I took over as editor of Pteridologist I wrote to all of the BPS 

members who supply us with ferns, those who advertise inside the 

cover. I suggested that if each would write a brief article abou 


nursery and the plants they have for sale we might all benefit. 

n this 

issue we have contributions from the relatively new nurseries 

Rickards in the West Midlands and Neil Timm in Lincolnshire. 

that other professional growers - and not just in Britain, for this journal 

has an international readership - will now feel encouraged to 


material for publication next year - James Merryweather. 


RN TIMM, 'Aldre', Grimsby Road, Binbrook, Lincolnshire, LN3 6DH 
The history of this nursery is brief, as I only started to grow ferns some six or seven 
years ago and, though the idea of starting a nursery to complement an existing 
landscaping business was there from the beginning, it had to wait for a change of 
address two years ago to begin in earnest. This, however, gave me time to gain a little 
knowledge, mainly with the aid of the BPS. I little knew at the outset just how challenging 
fern growing could be. 

The nursery is, at the present time, only small with a limited range of stock. The trade is 
mostly wholesale at the moment with a retail list of some 30 plants. Small numbers of 
other ferns, plus some perennials etc. are to be had by callers. Many plants are being 
raised to fill a new garden on an empty site. It is intended that the nursery should oe 
accompanied by a display garden, as I feel this will become an increasingly importan 
feature of nurseries in the future. Our soil is a medium to heavy, mildly alkaline alluvial 
loam with some pieces of chalk. The garden has the advantage of a small stream wnicn 
is very alkaline, and it lies in a valley at an altitude of 70 to 80 metres. Most of the stocK 
is raised in a polytunnel without heat to maintain hardiness. My mam intention is to ry o 
build up a good range of both British and exotic fern species, though I am no entrely 
opposed to cultivars. A current pet is Paesia scaberula which I feel has great garden 
potential in this country, as it seems to be very hardy, even in the north-east, seems xo 
like a wide range of soil types, and to stand full sun. 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

/vpoint coco fibre composts have been tried in the 
at I am now planning to go over to their use entirely. 
:ould have been made with ferns in mind, their great 

advantage being that they are free draining and do not "cake" in the way that peat based 

composts do. 

The nursery is usually open from April until October, especially at week-ends. At other 
times it may be as well to check if you're travelling a long way. The plant list is sent out in 
return for two first class stamps. Minimum mail order is £5 plus 20% p & p. Please write 
for specific prices. 


MARTIN RICKARD, Kyre Park, Tenbury Wells, Worcs. WR15 8RP 
On and off, since the 1960s, I have toyed with the idea of having a fern nursery. Many 
members have dabbled, and will continue to dabble, but for anyone in full-time work it 
really seems just about impossible to run a nursery as a sensible commercial business. 
Our opportunity to take the plunge came in 1988 when the children were more or less 
independent and my wife, Hazel, started to have spare time (not for long!). With my fern 
collection and her propagating skills we reasoned we could build up an interesting stock 
fairly quickly. We set to sowing spores in vast quantity and gradually plants came through 
the pipeline to a saleable size. Production was slow, often taking 3 years, because we 
* tK - proper facilities of heated glass. Cottage industry fern production was the 

problem. Window sills a 

t trays of pricked-c 

soon mount up and become impossible to house in a domestic setting. 
Nevertheless, with the aid of converted sheds and polythene tunnels, the ferns arrived at 
maturity in a steady stream and we were getting more confident we could make a go of it. 
In 1991 we took our first big gamble. We applied to take a nursery stand at the Malvern 
flower show which is jointly run by the Royal Horticultural and Counties Agriculture 
societies. Fortunately our application for space was kindly supported by Hazel Key of 

2,5(1994) 227 

Fibrex Nurseries, and we were accepted. The Malvern Show is in early May, very early in 
the fern season. Without greenhouse heat we wondered if we had bitten off more than 
we could chew. Anyway, we did our best with our display measuring 10 feet long by 6 
feet deep and, to our delight, we won a silver gilt medal. This show raised public 
awareness and improved sales. We exhibited again in 1992, and this time with a display 
15' x 6' won an RHS gold medal which was a tremendous thrill for us both. Our display 
featured hardy and half-hardy ferns, mainly hardy but with liberal use of tree ferns to gam 
height. In 1993 we entered again, worrying we wouldn't be able to repeat the gold medal 
standard. We tried as hard as ever and shocked ourselves by winning a gold again, plus 
the 'Best in Show' award, absolutely amazing for a green display among all the colour on 
show from the hundred or so nurseries in the hall! 

All this publicity was giving sales a slow nudge so we decided in 1993 also to have a go 
at the Chelsea Flower Show. We were accepted, surprisingly, and asked for - and got - a 
tiny pitch in the great marquee (9' x 10'). After Malvern, staging at Chelsea is very 
difficult. Transport distances are a problem, and entry and exit to and from the show site 
are very restricted. We made our biggest error by taking too many ferns, and the lorry 
couldn't wait until we'd staged our display, so we couldn't send spare ferns back home. 
The end result was a very green display, but it was, sadly, slightly overcrowded We 
were awarded a silver gilt medal which was, nevertheless, 
our first attempt. We will be having another go this year at 
just hope we can keep up a reasonable standard. 

Showing ferns is great fun, hard work, but great fun. It does help sales considerably, but 
it all needs back-up, and fern production is crucial. As a result I have taken early 
retirement from my job and now work full-time on the nursery with Hazel. We are aiming 
to broaden the range of ferns on offer. 

My retirement is not the only gamble we are taking at this stage! We have also decided 
to move house, nursery and garden to a much larger property at Kyre Park, Tenbury 
Wells in Worcestershire. We have taken this step in a joint venture with some 
long-standing friends, Jon and Janet Sellers, who will have their own business w i e we 
have the nursery, co-operating whenever necessary. Hopefully we will be completely 
moved to Kyre by late spring or early summer. 

The grounds at Kyre cover 29 acres with 20 or so down to garden, established long ago 
in the picturesque or ferme ornee style. So far, we can find no information about the 
grounds prior to 1754 when the present shrubbery was laid out as pan o 
modifications of the whole estate by Edmund Pytts. Mystery surrounds the design, vvasii 
laid by "Capability" Brown, or was it simply designed in his style? There appears to °® n 
documentary evidence of any involvement by Brown, but Mrs Baldw.n-Ch.We, whc > hved 
at Kyre from 1880-1930, clearly believed that he was consulted whNst undertaking n.s 
principal work at Croome Court. Recently we have learned that a Mr Davenport was part 
of a team which was involved in the operation, but was he the designer or merely a site 
manager for someone else? 

Subsequent information about the grounds is relatively sparse but, writing in 1905 Mrs 
Baldwin-Childe gives some useful insights. She says that the bridge in the srubbery was 
built in 1754 and implies that other features date from the same time. These nclude 5 
lakes, a ruin, a hermitage, a small grotto, a tunnel and several cascades and waterfalls. 
Today the whole area is rather over-mature with many trees now gone or about to blow 
over. The ground vegetation is rank, with abundant ^^'^'"^ble survival. 
However, the bones of the garden are still as they were in 1764 - a remartebte surv 
Of particular significance to me is that the ground is damp in places all year round I am 
hoping, and expecting, that the ferns will thrive. Even now there are plenty of ferns 

t 2, 5(1994) 

Dryopteris filix-mas, but Asplenium scolopendrium is common 
and Polystichum setiferum, D. dilatata, D. affinis, Athyrium filix-femina and Polypodium 
interjectum occur here and there. On walls we have at least one wonderful colony of 
Asplenium ruta-muraria. For lovers of horsetails, we have them too with possible 
Equisetum x Morale! 

We are currently working to get the garden respectable so that we can open it to visitors 
at Easter. By this time the garden will, at best, be "opened up" - not tamed, but we hope 
visitors will enjoy seeing a mid-eighteenth century garden prior to restoration and 
perhaps, they will return and see our progress and fern plantings over the seasons We 
are also planning to move our nursery by Easter. This might be over optimistic, and only 


C N PAGE. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh EH3 5LR 

This article is the second part of an article whose first part v.„„ ^ 

in the Pteridologist 2 part 1 pp 47-48 (1990) and 2 part2pp 73-75 (1991). 

I dedicate this part to the memory of the late Dr Anne Sleep, who, in her earlier days was 

an unsung but usually excellent fern photographer. 


Lenses: Something to look through 

Modern through-the-lens metering cameras usually accept a variety of interchangeable 
lenses. For picture quality and clarity, I find that several (mine mostly ancient) 
interchangeable lenses can give far better quality results than a single modern zoom (I 
presume because there are fewer elements involved). They are also less likely to be 
damaged through strenuous field use. I find that a useful selection is, in addition to the 
standard 50 or 55 mm lens, at least a wide angle and a macro. 

The standard lens 'sees' about the same angle as does the human eye (say about 45 
degrees), and so pictures taken with such a lens most closely resembles that seen by the 
human eye The wide angle, by contrast, 'sees' a much wider angle (say perhaps up to 
'* aegrees) and hence larger area, and compresses this into the same frame area and 

ence into the same sized ultimate slide or print. I find that a 35mm lens is the most 
generally useful wide angle to carry, usually used more often for habitats than for plants, 
and that a 28 mm is especially useful for woodland or ravine habitats, where the 
alternative of standing further back from the subject is impractical or gets a clutter of trees 
in the way. For example, most of the habitat shots in my New Naturalist book were taken 
with my 28 mm Soligor lens, now 25 years old ! 

For individual fern portraits, however, I find the standard and macro lenses are the most 
useful. The latter is especially adaptable for the smaller species (such as many 
^pienium in Britain) or for close-up details of larger ones (such as details of pinnae of a 
™yst,chum or Dryopteris). This adaptability of the macro is achieved through its 

™ sin ? abilit V. wh ich can be only be similarly achieved with a standard lens by 
me addition of several close-up rings, and with the resulting loss of stops. Further, a 
macro lens construction is optimised for such close-up distances, rather than for 
operation at infinity, and so is inherently better at good close-up definition. 

s is the same as 
cameras allows 

Pteridologist 2, 5 (1994) 229 

lenses to be removed and changed while a film is still in the camera, though I still prefer 
to do this with the camera in my own shadow. Such interchangeability also allows 
opportunity to carry more than one body, especially on expeditions. This means that 
different films can be exposed (such as colour and black-and-white), and has the added 
advantage of a reserve body should one fail under sudden heavy use (it is surprising how 
often this can happen in the field). 

Films and things 

Undoubtedly the most importantthing about film is to remember to bring one. The second 
is remembering to actually put it into the camera (and, if changing between films of 
different emulsion speeds, setting the appropriate camera film speed-rating scale to 
match). After this, the rest of the decisions about films are very much downhill. 

Forgetting to load a film can be surprisingly easy t 

l when the excitement of 

ually finding a rare Ophioglossum, Pilularia or strange hybrid horsetail, or 
a mountain-top Dipteris or Stromatopteris in the tropics, completely dislodges mundane 
thoughts about loading a film from the fore of one's mind. If in doubt about whether you 
did load one the previous evening (I frequently am), try ensuring that the take-up spool 
wheel also turns round when you wind the film on - that proves there is some physical 
connection internally between the two spools of the camera, and with a bit of luck, it 
could be the film you couldn't find that morning. Such careful observation while winding 
on, is something I regularly remember to do as a matter of habit - usually at least half a 
second after I should have actually noted it! If, at the end of the day, however, you have 
taken a whole series of particularly attractive shots on a film that turns out to be still in 
your rucksack, or even worse, still in the fridge amongst the lettuce back home, I 

carrying a hip flask containing something 

worthwhile for the odd 

t you feel a lot better about it! 
Having mastered the art of loading the film, you can then get down to the finer 
philosophical points of considering just which film you should actually be using. 
Somewhat inevitably, this becomes a question like how long is a piece of string 
combined with all sorts of unfounded preferences and prejudices. It all depends, of 
course, what you are doing and why you are doing it, and for those of us who may not 
yet have found an answer to this fundamental end-of-the-Universe type of question, the 
subsequent choice of film can be equally enigmatic. 

However, a sufficient array of film types and speeds is certainly generally j 
justifiably to totally baffle the faint-hearted. Most books will tell ' 

r the finest 
1 compatible 

quality images and the best colour resolution, choose tne siowesi bpeeu 
with what you are doing. Film speeds are rated in ASA numbers, printed on both the box 
and the cassette (ASA numbers are equal to and also called ISO numbers in recent 
years, just to add to the confusion). As a general rule, films in the 50-100 ASA range are 
usually to be recommended for most general purposes, but for the dark places wnere 
ferns usually grow, I find these too slow, and have regularly come to use 100 AbA coiou 
and 400 ASA black-and-white. It is all a matter of compromise between gaining the oes 
quality image and what is practical and really works well in the circumstances of your son 
of photography. 

In terms of brands of film it is a further matter of horses-for-courses, and individual likes 
and dislikes. With colour the choice is more critical than with black-and-white (for there is 
more differences to appeal to personal preferences). For colour, myown'mp^ioni 
that Kodachrome is excellent for red and yellow subjects, while I find the old Agracnronw 
and newer Fujichrome both better generally for subjects which are V ed ° mn ^l°™ 
and green (but, for good fern greens, I recommend not to go higher than iuu « 

230 Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

Fujichrome). As ferns are mostly brown and especially green, I tend use the latter. Some 
people find these greens to rich, however, and for them, perhaps Ektachrome colours 
might be a good compromise. The only way forward is to try them yourself, as see which 
you prefer on your sorts of subjects. 

Lastly, as general rule: don't chop and change. Having found a speed and make of film 
that you like, stick to it, especially on expeditions. If you have to change, then do so 
where you can repeat the experiment, such as in your own back garden. If it does not 
work out right first time, you can repeat with something else and compare the results. Its 
a big mistake to go off to some distant end of the earth, where you will never be again, 
and to use a film that you have never tried before, no matter what recommendations it 
came with or from whom! 

Picture composition is undoubtedly the aspect of photography which requires more of the 
eye of an artist rather than to follow strict scientific principles, and this is the single most 
important factor in achieving a picture which is pleasing to the eye, as well as technically 
correct. Ferns can pose their own scale of problems in this respect, and turning a truly 
wild scene into a good permanent picture is certainly the major personal < 
which the photographer makes to his/her photographs. There are thus few rules h 
other than trying to achieve what is and what is not most pleasing to you, 
well as scientifically accurate. 

My main tips with ferns are consequently few. Mainly they are to choose views in which 
the subject in question, whether it be a single fern or a whole habitat, makes a strong 
and unequivocal statement to the eye as to what the particular photo is all about, and 
what its message is. For a photo without a message is of little value. Choose plants that 
look good. Select angles on them that makes the fern stand out well against its 
background (often even more difficult in black-and-white than in colour). Try looking for a 
way of naturally framing a subject, and decide whether a horizontal or vertical pose is the 
more pleasing and easier on the eye. 

Put the subject clearly and wholly in the frame, although everything exactly in the centre 
of each shot can look dull, repetitive and boring. If going for an off-centre pose, then 
balance the components i 

see-saw. If a plant leans one way or the other, it can look good, 
make sure that your plant leans into the frame and not out of 
understand, a subject leaning left to right often looks better to me than one leaning right 
to left - so some field orientation of the viewpoint might be involved. Further, a fern 
leaning totally out of a frame looks dissatisfying, and can appear to be trying to escape! 
Develop an eye for shades of intensity as well as colour harmony and, whilst I'm on the 
subject of harmony, avoid clutter and distracting detail and clumps of plants in discordant 
numbers. (I don't know why, but to me one plant usually looks OK, three look OK, but 
two or four individuals look respectively awful and confusing - perhaps because there is 
then not one in the middle). If there are plants of other species around, try either to 
include them or exclude them completely (depending on the purpose of your photograph) 
- a small portion showing is usually acceptable, but don't cut a plant in half on the edge 
of the frame - this is merely irritating to the viewer. And don't have anything in the 
foreground which is out of focus, unless it is for special artistic effect. 
Lastly on angles, not too many ferns are at their best purely in profile or in plan view. 
Most gain naturalness of effect, and many a considerable delicacy of grace, when 
viewed in a three quarters direction. So choose your viewpoint carefully, and do this also 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

in relation to the angle of incident light (be aware of the possibility of lens flare at 
angles and shade the lens when necessary) - try a few different directions until y 
happy with one. If there is flare, add a lens hood or shade with your hand (I have 
adaptable field lens hood that doubles as a hat!). 

rinenng me ugm 

Photography is, to me, all about capturing an ephemeral image made of light. So an eye 
for the best light to begin with can be a useful part of the whole process. Nature can be 
hard with light, especially where strong sunshine shafts contrast with dense, dark 
shadows, and methods of softening the light to a range with which the film can cope were 
touched upon in a previous part of this account. To summarise: choose your day 
carefully, and avoid hard, contrasty light. I find that bright, soft, still mornings are often 

Filters provide another way of modifying the light, and are used to give a film's emulsion 
an image that it can better cope with, or to gain a particular effect. Most do so by altering 
the spectral content of the light, some its plane of polarisation. Thus UV filters can be 
used to correct an overall blue cast in sky shots or distance haze, while yellow ones in 
black-and-white photography will deepen the contrast of a blue sky and make lighter 
foliage stand out more prominently. 

For ferns, however, I find that the single most useful filter to have (and which I constantly 
use) is a polarising one. The main role of this is to remove irritating bright surface 
reflections from glossy frond surfaces, such as those of Polystichum aculeatum or 
Phyllitis scolopendrium. Such a filter also softens potentially hard reflections off other 
adjacent glossy surfaces within the field of view. This can be especially valuable in 
black-and-white work. In colour photography, such a filter can also enhance colour 
saturation of the image. Of course, the filter has to be rotated to find the angle of 
maximum reflective occlusion for each individual shot, usually transversely to the 
direction of incident light at the time, and there is about 2 stops exposure loss when this 
is achieved. This loss can be a problem in its own right in dark places, and tripods in 
such circumstances are essential. 

Exposing your fern 

One of the great photographic problems with most ferns is that they can be large and 
usually present a rosette of fronds spreading in all directions. They thus require a 
considerable depth of field if all parts of the plant are to appear acceptably sharp. This, of 
course, requires the lens to be stopped down as far as practical, which is a diame ricaiiy 
opposite requirement to the need to gather as much light as possible often in gloomy 
surroundings. If my recommendation to use a polarising filter is also adopted, tnis 
compounds the darkness problem still further. Unless you are using flash (I never ao, 
because this flattens the subject and can look very un-naturalUhis ajjjjdds^upj 
essential requirement for long exposure of as much as i 
much longer). 

Such periods of exposure, of course, require both your camera and your subject to 
remain absolutely rock still. The camera you can clamp to a tripod, the fern you cannon 
And, of course, it is always in the darkest of places, such as along deep rocky ravinesof 
cascading stream-gorges, that the largest, often dramatically three-dimen: 
luxuriant ferns typically grow, with glossy, highlight-reflecting 
be softened down! Meanwhile you are probably standing up to 
fast-moving deep cold water, perched precariously astride twc 
watching a fern whose fronds are constantly quivering at the 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 
'oplets from dripping cliff 

i of poor light, great depth of subject with exacting detail, 
and fronds which are twitching at the tips (not to mention the tired photographer), that 
conspire to make fern photography, which may seem like such a good idea at the time, 
so exacting and challenging in the actual achievement. A good photograph of Brittle 
Bladder-Fern (Cystopteris fragilis) in such circumstances can certainly be held-high as an 
achievement in photographic patience! But don't be too daunted. It can be done. Good 
luck! Keep at it, and keep your affection for ferns. Photography is one good (and often 
infectious) way of passing this on to others, to the benefit of an ancient, and visually 


The new Dryopteris variety that wasn't 

The following story began in the summer of 1991, just before I joined the society. Near to 
my mother's house in the village of Westfield.just north of Hastings, is a steep footpath 
along the banks of which grow a number of ferns: Dryopteris dilatata. D. filix-mas. 
Athyrium filix-femina and Polystichum setiferum. I noticed an unusual looking D. filix-mas 
frond poking out from the hedge on the bank. When I looked more closely I could see 
that the edges of the pinnae were rolled up. At first I assumed that some insect was 
responsible, but could find no evidence. I searched in the hedge for more fronds and 
found four more with the same rolled up pinnae. I considered digging up the plant, but it 
was possibly growing in someone's garden so I left it. It had green sori. so I decided to 
keep a close eye on it and collect spores when ripe. 

I went back to check every week until about two weeks before I had estimated that 
spores would be collectable, when I discovered that the fern had been strimmed. I dug it 

reached home, hoping that it would recover quickly and 
d late that year. During the winter we moved house and 
I selected the best spot in the new garden to plant my discovery with plenty of compost. I 
waited. At last new fronds began to unfurl and the lowest pinnae seemed to be small and 
stunted compared with other male ferns I had. By mid summer I had to admit that, 
however much I wished to see marked differences in this plant, they were not there. 
I remembered reading the experiences of one of the Victorian growers who described 
moving a number of varieties of Asplenium scolopendrium to new sites where all reverted 
to normal. When he replanted them in similar conditions to their those at their original 
homes they gradually returned to their varietal forms. I decided to try this in the spring of 
1993 since I have a small, shady bank topped by a hedge at the side of the house. The 
fern stayed annoyingly normal. I would very much like to know what made the pinnae roll 



BPS Special Publications 

1. Rush: Hardy Ferns 

2. Dyce: Fern Names & their meanings 

3. Dyce: Cultivations propagation of British ferns 

. Camus: The history of British pteridology, 1891-1991 

5. BPS abstracts & papers, 1894-1905 

m: SJ Munyard, 234 Harold Road, Hastings, TN35 5NC 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 

The four members of the Flora Community: Clive Jermy proudly 
sporting the BPS logo in remotest Norway, Mary Gibby propping up 
the Flora sign and Johannes Vogel in charge of the hand lens next to 
the star of the picture: Dryopteris affinis (arrowed). [Photo J. Vogel] 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 


Pteridologist welcomes contributions written in English on all aspects of the 
natural history and horticulture of ferns and related plants, as well as articles 
about ferns in literature, art, architecture, music, furniture, folklore etc 

SCRIPT: Ideally text should be provided in the form of a file downloaded to a 
floppy disc from a PC type of computer (not Mac). I can use formatted material 
from most popular word-processors (eg. WORD, WORKS, WORDPERFECT. 
WORDSTAR, 1st WORD PLUS, WRITE). WP files should be accompanied by 
a raw text file in case I have any difficulties. Please check spelling, grammar, 
meaning and formatting with care because, when let loose with my editor's red 

Computerless authors need not fi 

on one-side of the page). I'll i 

twice-used fish & chip wrappers! 

CONVENTIONS: Scientific names should be in italics (underlined in type-! 

or manuscript), the authority normal thus: 

i in normal type, capitalised and enclosed i 

Polystichum setiferum "Plumoso-divisilobum" 
3 should be in lower case: 

ILLUSTRATIONS: These days printers are able to reproduce pictures in black 
and white on text pages from B&W originals, colour prints or colour slides. 
Please provide caption text. If supplying photocopy silhouettes please ensure 
they are of a reasonable size for the article and as dark as possible on a pure 
white background. If we have to re-copy them too often, quality is lost. Please 
do not fold illustrations when sending. 

So you can see there are really very few rules. 

I look forward to receiving ferny articles in any form, 

but you'll make me particularly happy if you send stuff on disc. 

Pteridologist 2, 5(1994) 



Please send contributions to FrERIDOLOGIST 1995 (the sooner, the better) to 

James Merryweather, Biology Department, University of York, York U.K. YOl S 

« 0904 432878/431328 FAX 0904 432860 H JWM5@YORK.AC.UK 


a very comprehensive collection is stocked by 


36 Lindeth Road, Silverdale, Lancashire LA5 OTY 



Honeybourne Road, Pebworth, 
Nr Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 8XT 

Hardy & tender ferns 

Begonias, Gloxinias, Hederas, Hydrangeas, Primroses, 

Arum Lilies and plants for the cool greenhouse 

Catalogue on request 


Specialising in North American and British hardy ferns 

Send Two International Reply Coupons for Catalogue 

Judith I Jones 

1 91 1 4th Avenue West, Seattle, Washington, 981 1 9, U.S.A. 


Los Angeles International Fern Society 

LAIFS Fern Journal bimonthly includes fern lesson, 

educational meetings, materials, spore store, books. 

Annual dues: $15 domestic, $19 overseas surface, $24 overseas airmail. 

P.O. Box 90943, Pasadena, Ca 91109, U.S.A. 


Hazel & Martin Rickard 

Kyre Park, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire WR1 5 8RP 

8 0885 410282 


R N Timm . no cnu 

The Fern Nursery, Grimsby Road, Binbrook, Lines. LN3 6DH 
8 0472 398092 


The organisers extend all good wishes for a successful 1994 

18th, 19th, 20th AUGUST 1994 

Schedules and further information from: 

The Flower Show Secretary, 

44 Houghton Street, Southport, Merseyside PR9 0HU 

The British Pteridological Society 


Contents - 

Volume 2, 

Part 5, 1994 



James Merryweather 


From the president 

Jack Bouckley 


How do your sporelings grow? 

Peter Hainsworth 


Spores on Bevis 

Nick Schroder 


Progeny of Polystichum setiferum "Bevis" 

Cor van de Moesdijk 


More ferns in the sun 

Mark Border 


Among those dark satanic mills 

Margaret Rothwell 


Conservation and the spore list 

Margaret Nimmo-Smith 


44th AIBS annual meeting 

Catherine Ann Raine 


On German-English relations 

and their consequences 

Johannes Vogel 


Ferns in New Zealand 

Roger Grounds 


The role of a national collection holder 

AR Busby 


Notes on the folklore and 

uses of British pteridophytes 

Roy Vickery 


Ferns on chalk 

RN Timm 


The fern nursery 

RN Timm 


Rickards hardy ferns 

Martin Rickard 


Photographing fems.part 2 

CN Page 



Asplenium trichomanes ssp. trichomanes 

("Incisum" group) 

Martin Rickard 


Adiantum balfourii 

Mark Border 


More thoughts on 

Polystichum setiferum "Pulcherimum" 

JW Dyce 


Asplenium scolopendrium 

("Ramoso-traversum" form) 

Jack Bouckley 


The new Dryopteris variety that wasn't 

Mark Border 


The Fern Guide by James Merryweather 

Flora Europaea edited by G Tutin 

Ferns - the Beauty of the Nepalese Flora by Vidja L Gurung 

Scandinavian Ferns by Benjamin Ollgard and Kirsten Tind 


Pteridologist Volume 2 Part 5 was published on 13th May, 1994 

; British Pteridological Society 

id by METLOC Printers Ltd, Loughton, Essex 

Volume 2 Part 6 






Edited by 


Officers and Committee from 1994 

President. Dr T.G. Walker 
President Emeritus: J.W. Dyce, MBE 


Hon. General Secretary A. R. Busby 

and Archivist: 'Croziers' 1 6 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry CV4 8GD 

* 01203 715690 FAX 01203 523237 H 

Assistant Secretary (Membership) Miss A.M. Paul 

& Editor of Bulletin: Department of Botany, Natural History Museum, 

Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD 

Treasurer: Dr NJ . Ha rds 

184 Abingdon Road, Didcot, Oxon, OX1 1 9BP 

Meetings Secretary: AC . p igo tt 

43 Molewood Road, Hertford, Herts., SG14 3AQ 

Editors of the Fern Gazette: Dr B. A. Thomas, J. A. Crabbe & Dr M. Gibby 

Please send copy to Dr B.A. Thomas, Botany Department, 

National Museum of Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF1 3NP 

Editor of Pteridologist: Jame s Merryweather 

Department of Biology, PO Box 373, University of York, York Y01 5YW 

Committee: R.G. Ackers, R. Cooke, Miss J.M. Ide, A.C. Jermy. A.M. Leonard, 

MissH.S. McHaffie,S.J. Munyard, P.H. Ripley, N.R. Schroder, G. Stark 

Conservation Officer: r. Cooke 

26 Lancaster Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2PY 

Spore Exchange Organiser: Mrs M .E. Nimmo-Smith 

201 Chesterton Road, Cambridge CB4 1 AH 

Plant Exchange Organiser: r. j. & Mrs B. Smith 

184 Solihull Road, Shirley, Solihull, Warwickshire B90 1AH 

Booksales Organiser: S.J. Munyard 

234 Harold Road, Hastings, East Sussex TN35 5NG 

Trustees of Greenfield 

and Centenary Funds: Dr T.G. Walker, A. R. Busby, Dr N.J. Hards 

The BRITISH PTERIDOLOGICAL SOCIETY was founded in 1891 and today continues as a focus 
tor fern enthusiasts. It provides a wide range of information about ferns through the medium of its 
publications and available literature. It also organises formal talks, informal discussions, field 
meetings garden visits, plant exchanges, spore exchange scheme and fern book sales. The 
bociety has a wide mambership which includes gardeners, nurserymen and botanists, both 
amateur and professional. The Society's journals, the Fern Gazette, Pteridologist and Bulletin are 
published annually. The Fern Gazette publishes matter chiefly of specialist interest on international 
ptendology, Pteridologist, topics of more general appeal and the Bulletin, Society business and 

Membership is open to all interested in ferns and fern allies. SUBSCRIPTION RATES (due on the 
1st January each year) are Full Personal Members £15; Personal Members not receiving the Fern 
Gazette £12; student Members £9 Subscnbtng Institutions £25 Family Membership in any 
category is an additional £2. Applications for membership should be sent to the Assistant Secretary 
(address above) from whom further details can be obtained (Remittances made in currencies 
other than sterling are £5 extra to cover bank conversion charges). Airmail postage for all journals 
is an extra £4, or for those not receiving the Fern Gazette, £2.50. 
[Front cover: Asplenium ceterach L.l 

Pterid0l09iSt2 ' 6(1 " 5) JUN27 1995 237 


I trust you enjoyed my first effort as editor of this splendid G pu'9icaiSn R a compilation of 
pteriffic pteridological ptopics from a delightfully wide range of individuals. Ptypos were 
scarce, thanks to plentious proof reading which resulted in my almost memorising the 
whole journal! However, I do apologise to "the Pillips". Unfortunately Jack's scollie got 
itself inverted and Asplenium flaccidum, dramatically failing to live up to its name, is seen 
growing bolt upside-down. More importantly, near the bottom of the rear cover should 

Pteridologist Volume 2 part 4 was published on 20th May, 1993 
Authors, please read page 299. For this edition I've had to do so much typing thai I was 
pretty fed up by the time the actual editing had to be done. Nowadays, almost everyone 
has access to a computer, so I'm asking as many of you as possible to send text on disc 
Even chronic arch-luddite Rickard has got the hang of it now. Still, I really want your 
literary efforts, so typing and spidery scrawl will still be welcome if all else fails. 
Your new editor has had quite a lively year fern-wise. I had the great pleasure of teaching 
a couple of fern courses for the Field Studies Council at their Blencathra centre. What I 
did not reckon on was the presence of several BPS members who, despite being 
perfectly competent enough to run the courses themselves, allowed me to feel as if I was 
in charge. 

The youngest of the bunch correctly interpreted a nice bit of woodland ecology on the 
limestone near Meathop (where we find masses of Adiantum capillus-veneris at its most 
northerly). The woods were, of course, full of calcicolous plants, but we encountered a 
single, unexpected plant of Dryopteris dilatata. It was delightful to listen as Matthew (12) 
reasoned that it was probably able to survive there because it was growing on a tree 
stump. We'll keep an eye on it to see if it fizzles out as its substrate becomes 
incorporated into the surrounding highly calcareous soil - irate land-owners permitting. 
We are even more aware these days that field work can be hazardous, indeed the BPS 
is now obliged to ask members to sign indemnity forms before each meeting. On one of 
our visits to limestone pavement, where accidents can so easily happen. I lost touch with 
one of the party for longer than was reasonable. I was very worried, and scoured the 
area until the missing person turned up, apparently no worse for the experience. A less 
decent person could have made a lot of fuss about the fall and the broken ribs! That 
incident has given me a fright, and I urge all members to look after each other at field 
meetings, for anyone can get into difficulties. 

The trickiest part of these courses was, as you might expect, that wretched Dryopteris 
affinis headache. We willingly learned a lot about those morphotypes but, at the same 
time, found ourselves wading into deeper and deeper water. We must be patient, hoping 
that soon we will have a reliable framework upon which we may more confidently hang 
our tentative identifications. I'll see what advances have been made, and perhaps next 
year Pteridologist will include a friendly new guide. 
I have the good fortune to belong to two societies which call themselves the BPS. Last 

January I was attending 1 

membership subs., and dutifully sent 

. j both....well, I thought I did. After a while Alison sent back a spare cneque ai 
the same time as I was being threatened with expulsion from the BagPipe Society of 
which I am (but nearly wasn't) a proud founder member! I bet I'll be confused again next 
year. I think I now have a standing order with one, but not with the other. Which will be 
which when I really need to know? 

238 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

I'd like to slip in a plug for the second edition of The Fern Guide (editor's privilege). The 
first sold out rapidly - hooray! - and it became possible to correct and improve it before 
reprinting - phew! So, burn your copy and buy a new one right away. It beats me why the 
ardent bibliophile has a preference for first editions. If a second edition is justifiable, 
surely it's going to be an improvement on the first, replacing it? Either he doesn't care 
about the book's content or he wishes to gloat over the author's first, inferior attempt. But, 
stay awhile: should The Fern Guide #1 inexplicably become an object of desire to the 
investor-collector, I hope I get to hear about it so I can make a pile of dosh selling the 
few copies I have left unsold! 



Congratulations to James Rus- 
sell who, last July, became an 
honorary Doctor of the Univer- 
sity of York. He has now retired 
to Fife in Scotland, but spent 
the latter part of his working life 
collecting plants from around 
the globe for, and creating the 
130 acre arboretum at Castle 
Howard. Jim Russell, who 
spent his earlier career reorgan- 
ising the famous Sunningdale 
Nursery, brought Hooker's Sik- 
kim Rhododendrons with him to 
Yorkshire where their flowering 
in May is an annual pleasure. 
He was honoured for his contri- 


Matteuchia on the menu* 

Gourmet pteridophages contemplating a feast of fiddleheads tl 

of a recent article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 1994, 43:677, 683-684. 

About sixty people in New York State and western Canada came down with diarrhoea, 

nausea and vomiting which was traced to fiddleheads (Matteuccia struthiopteris) served 

as starters in local restaurants during May. 

It seems that attention to preparation is the key to a safe meal. The guilty restaurants 

had only lightly sauteed or briefly microwaved the croziers, in contrast with the 

recommended boiling for ten minutes prior to sauteing. A heat sensitive toxin is thought 

to be responsible. Fresh fiddleheads are apparently becoming more widely available at 

restaurants and markets in North America as more people experiment with seasonal wild 

rood. The commonest recipe used is to saute in butter with garlic, lemon, salt and 

pepper, according to taste but remember the ten minute boil. 


Reridologist 2, 6(1995) 239 


When, last autumn, I was elected as the new President it was mentioned that this would 
involve doing this, that or the other as part of the duties. However, what I was not told 
was that I was also expected to contribute a few paragraphs to Reridologist so it came as 
rather a shock when I had a 'phone call from James Merryweather asking for these 
immediately (if not sooner). What I had forgotten when I promised to get my contribution 
into the post instanter was that we are locally in the throes of a postal strike, so that both 
incoming and outgoing mail are at a standstill. So I guess that short of carrier pigeon and 
not having a FAX, the answer is to set out to find a post box outside the affected area. It 
feels reminiscent of the chaotic scenes in TV plays set in newspaper offices as deadline 

The landmark event of this year is the Pteridophyte Symposium called 'Pteridology in 
Perspective' to be held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (17-21st July) and followed by 
an excursion to Devon and Cornwall (23-30th July). A considerable amount of hard work 
is involved in setting up and running such an event which is attracting pteridologists from 
all over the world. Our society is deeply involved in this through our members who are on 
the organising committee and working hard on other aspects of the symposium. The 
event is also an opportunity for publicity for the society, and the outcome may be that we 
get closer to the ambition of our last President, Jack Bouckley, in achieving 1 ,000 BPS 
members by the beginning of the next century. The symposium was planned as a 
memorial to Eric Holttumwho, during his long life (1895-1990), did so much to stimulate 
interest in ferns and their relationships with one another. 

I first met Prof. Holttum over 40 years ago at the Paris International Botanical Congress. 
This was a landmark year in Pteridology in that his book on the ferns of Malaya had just 
been published, as had also the paper by Irene Manton and Arthur Sledge on the 
cytology and taxonomy of the ferns of Ceylon. Holttum saw the value of cytology in 
helping to unravel some of the difficult problems of relationships between fern genera, 
and there began a fruitful co-operation between Holttum and Manton which lasted for the 
rest of their lives. As one of Manton's research students interested primarily in tropical 
ferns, I had a great deal of contact with Holttum over the ensuing years, and one of the 
great pleasures was to present him with some fact which interested him, and to hear his 
delighted "Golly, golly, gosh" in appreciation. He was a man of great patience and 
gentleness with people who had a genuine interest in ferns, but this did not always 
extend to those whose views he felt were not based on sound work! 
It was always an education to have a chat with The Prof* as he was affectionately called 
at Kew, but it was a great pity that all those chats were not taped. He had a vast fund of 
knowledge based on personal experience, and often his comments would start with some 

phrase such as: "I watched this plant for x number of years and it "Despite having 

written several books and literally a few hundred research papers, a great store of 
information was never recorded, and died with him. 

It is not always realised that Holttum was not only interested in ferns, but also was a world 
authority on orchids. Whilst Director of Singapore Botanic Garden, he did much 
pioneering work which not only benefitted orchid hobbyists, but also helped to establish 
orchid production as an important Singapore industry. He also wrote a very practical 
handbook 'Gardening in the lowlands of Malaya' and his 'Plant Life in Malaya , which was 
intended for local teachers and first year university students, is a constant joy to dip into. 
I count myself very fortunate indeed to have worked with both Eric Holttum and Irene 

240 Pteridologist 2, 6 (1995) 


ADRIAN DYER, Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh. 

Many species of fern in many habitats form a persistent soil spore bank - a reservoir of 
spores buried in the soil and remaining alive for at least a year, and probably for many 
years (Dyer & Lindsay, 1992). I thought of this as I was cleaning my hiking boots after 
returning from the Second International Fern Conference at Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA in 
July, 1990. The conference had been preceded by a week-long field trip, walking in the 
forests of north Michigan, looking at pteridophytes. Most of the forest is secondary 
regrowth after clearance for agriculture and timber, although one area, at Hartwick Pines 
State Park, Grayling, had escaped felling, even when Michigan provided most of the 
timber for the nation's railroads, and contained trees more than 300 years old. A variety 
of habitats yielded 68 species and 13 hybrids in all, including 14 species of moonwort 
and 16 clubmosses in some of the more recently disturbed habitats. Most of the sites 
visited were fairly wet and, inevitably, some mud stuck to the soles of my boots. It was 
still there when I came home. I scraped off this small quantity of soil and placed it over a 
layer of sand in a small petri dish. After moistening it with water, I sealed it with parafilm 
to retain moisture and placed it on a north-facing window sill. In about four weeks, 
gametophytes were visible on the surface and, after some months, some of these had 
produced sporelings. I transplanted these to compost in pots and eventually, after more 
than a year, several reached fertile maturity. It was then possible to identify them as 
Dryopteris intermedia (the "fancy fern") which resembles our native D. dilatata but has 
glandular and pleasantly aromatic fronds. These plants have now been growing for two 
years in the open in my garden. 

r procedure after a holiday in Madeira in 1991 resulted in plants of Adiantum 
growing successfully indoors, and of Athyrium filix-femina. A visit to 
Gomera, an island off Tenerife, in 1 993 has so far yielded plants of Asplenium onopteris. 
In each case, many other species were seen whilst walking, but either their spores were 
not represented in the mud which clung to my boots, or they did not survive to maturity 
when the soil was cultured. Species growing in drier habitats are, of course, less likely to 
be retrieved because the soil will not be picked up by boots. It is largely a matter of 
chance, therefore, which species can be obtained. 

This is obviously a way of obtaining pteridological souvenirs of a holiday without 
disturbing or collecting the living plants, even when they are not shedding spores at the 
time. However, it also raises some serious issues. In the first place, the importation of soil 
as samples or on the roots of plants is strictly controlled and requires a permit and then a 
period of quarantine at a designated institution where the soil can be checked and 
cleared. It is, therefore, illegal to dig up a soil sample near a desired species and then 
bring it home to cultivate. 

However, I cannot believe that I am the only one who fails to scrape and wash all the soil 
out of the patterned soles of walking shoes and boots before packing them for the return 
journey. There must be others who just put them in a polythene bag for cleaning at home, 
and the authorities must be aware of this. That being the case, many people must 
inadvertantly bring spores of exotic ferns back to Britain in this way. Many holiday 
makers, and even some who go abroad on business, go on excursions into rural areas, 
and some go specifically to walk or study natural history. Given the number of people 
who travel abroad, this must create previously unsuspected possibilities for the 
introduction of alien species to Britain. 

Subsequent use of their boots without first cleaning them could introduce foreign spores 
and seeds to almost any part of the countryside. Only temperate species are likely to 
establish, even temporarily, but there is a considerable number of hardy species in, for 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 241 

example, New Zealand, Japan and China as well as other parts of Europe, which are 
likely to be able to survive in our climate. In the past, the rare appearance of foreign 
species in the wild has been attributed to escape from cultivation in gardens, or to 
long-distance dispersal of spores on the wind. Now we have to add the possibility that 
they are transported as soil spore banks on boots! This, in turn, suggests that they might 
also be carried in mud on the feet of birds. This has already been suggested for the large 
resistant sporocarps of the heterosporous fern Pilularia and the megaspores and 
microspores of Isoetes (Page, 1988), but it is now clear that it might apply equally to the 
single spores of the more numerous homosporous ferns or, at least, those of wetlands. 
This could provide a means of introduction of these species from countries visited by 
birds on their migration routes. 

These observations lead to a further prediction that spores are also transported in the 
mud which adheres to vehicles. Again, despite controls over importation of soil, small 
quantities must enter the country from all parts of Europe, and even occasionally from 
farther afield, under the wheel arches of cars and lorries. Subsequently washed off when 
travelling on wet roads, these spores could get onto damp and shady roadside verges 
and hedgerows, perhaps mainly in the vicinity of continental ferry terminals, where the 
conditions might well be suitable for germination and development. I am not aware of any 
fern discoveries that could be attributed to this mode of spore dispersal, but most cases 
would involve species found in both Britain and continental Europe, so introduced plants 
could not be readily distinguished from native ones. Even in the absence of positive 
confirmation, the possibility of spore dispersal in mud on human or bird feet or on 


Dyer, A.F. & Linsay, S. (1992). Soil spore banks of temperate ferns. American Fern 

Journal 82, 89-123. 

Page, C.N. (1988). A natural history of Britain's ferns. Collins New Naturalist, London. 


Bulbils on fronds of Asplenium scolopendrium 

It is well known that hart's tongue ferns readily produce bulbils on their leaf bases. 
However, bulbils on the frond surface are rare. They were occasionally reported during 
the last century, indeed E.J. Lowe chose to illustrate a crested form discovered by P.B. 
O'Kelly liberally covered with plantlets as the frontispiece of his invaluable book, British 
Ferns (1890). This plant has long been lost, but occasionally bulbils have been seen on 
varieties since. A few years ago Vic Newey showed me a 'Brachiato-cristatum'formwith 
the odd bulbil on it. He even gave me a plant, but it has never since produced a single 
bulbil. At the time Vic thought that bulbils would only be produced while the plant was 
young, and so this has proved with my plant. Perhaps other members have seen bulbils 
on their plants. If so, has the bulbiferous character been restricted to young plants? 
While in the process of moving all our ferns I have had to pot up many of my hart's 
tongues. Perhaps the move confused old plants because one plant, Asplenium 
scolopendrium 'Drummondiae', has produced several bulbils. Most are at the base of the 
frond where the lamina meets the stipe, but some are on the lamina itself. At the time of 
writing all bulbils are small, but I will certainly try to raise plants from these _ RICKARD 

I be pleased to collate any information about bulbils, no matter how brief, in the hope 
of producing a discussion of the phenomenon in a future issue - ed. 

242 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 


JAMES MERRYWEATHER, Biology Department, Po Box 373, University of York Y01 


Refreshed, that's how Corfu looked in late October 1994. After a long, dry summer, the 

first rain had revived the shrivelled Selaginella denticulata and Aspenium ceterach, and 

zillions of tiny plantlets were sprouting from seed set during the high tourist season. The 

ground in the dappled coolness of the olive groves so sensitively described by Durrell 

(take your pick, Lawrence or Gerald) was carpeted with cyclamens, crocusses and 

minute narcissi - the understory was returning to life. 

Banks of rich brown earth alongside the roads and tracks were covered with sheets of 

Selaginella, punctuated by the graceful laciness of Asplenium onopteris, turgid caerulean 

tufts of Ceterach or occasional loose, rangy Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens. 

Bare or mossy patches were often 
covered with forests of prothalli, 
each bearing just one, tiny fan- 
shaped leaf. For a while I assumed 
they belonged to A. onopteris which 
usually grew nearby. Then I sud- 
denly realised that I recognised 
those little leaves, for I'd seen them 
at the bases of sporophytes I'd 
found elsewhere in Greece, but 
never noticed here before, because 
of my preference for cyclamen time. 
This was our Jersey fern, Ano- 
gramma leptophylta, which thrives 
in the warm south. 
I'm so accustomed to the slow 
development of our native perennial 
ferns that I've always felt a particu- 
larly intrigued by a species which 
can get through its entire life cycle 
in a single year, especially in a 
region where its habitat is essen- 
tially arid for several months. How- 
ever, in the shady coolness of the 
olive groves there are places where 
it remains just moist enough to 
permit gametophyte growth and, 
with the first rains in September, 
fertilisation takes place and the little 
th speed and are pretty well huge by 

ferns develop rapidly. As ferns go, they attain s 

April. I've seen fronds 

► to 2 

just six months 

from Cretan 


clear-cut summer for photosynthi 

i high sporulating like billy-o, quite an achievement e 

confess, drawn 

growth. The illustration in The Fern Guide is, 
(and the A. onopteris was a Corfiot). 
Corfu seems to have difficulty determining the seasons. In the UK there are 
growth, and winter for 

sub-terranean activity. Corfu has no frosts to kill off the fronds and, whereas some 
colonies, especially the monoculture acres which follow severe fires, flush together, in the 
olive groves the woodland bracken has new fronds, fully expanded ones and dead ones 
all together. 

* votanoloyos or votanologos (botanist) 

Pteridologist 2, 6 (1 995) 243 

The olive grove bracken looks very much as it does when growing naturally in British 
woodland: sparse, spreading and low. Higher up in the limestone hills, it grows with an 
upright posture and appears to be growing in proper, high pH limestone soils. If British 
bracken is found on limestone, it invariably has its feet in a pocket of acidic peaty 
material. Over most of Corfu, bracken fronds occur scattered about under the olives 
which cover most of the land. In the shady gullies it is at its most "British", standing tall, 
erect and dense. However, where there has been a fire, and on abandoned agricultural 

terraces, the continuous sward, so familiar on British heathland. is seen but the 

bracken is only a couple of feet high and, er, "different". Now that Chris Page is 
describing two British species of Pteridium it would not surprise me a bit if there are also 
distinct taxa to be found on Corfu. 

In Greece the proper word for fern (which we pteridologists use today) is ott-pn. (fteri). 
Corfiots I've spoken to point to my tee-shirt logo and say that the local name is frogta 
(vrachlo). I'm still not quite sure whether ppa^Xo means fern or bracken. Our logo is, to 
the lay person, a bit like bracken and, even in foreign places, most people can't tell 
bracken from "fern"! Even so, I'm sure I can sense a similarity t 

fjpax^o and bracken ? 

A good hunting place for the pteri- 
dologist in Greece is where a road 
bends sharply to round a stream 
bed (see Pteridologist 2, 4, (1993) 
179-180). There is surface water 
here only in winter, and these 
gullies are of little use to the 
natives (except, 
refuse disposal) 
grow over to ci 

many species grow together as in 
the photograph (right). Asplenium 
onopteris is at its laciest and the 
fronds of Polypodium australe, of 

walls all over the island, reaches 
nearly two feet in height. 
Sometimes in hedge banks, where 

3 encountered, is Dryopteris 
pallida, usually rendered extra pal- 
lid by a coating of road dust! It is a 
close relative of our D. submon- 
tana but larqer, qreener, broader 

and not quite' as stiff-looking. It is «* * ^** wrth ^' amen ' 

seen at its best in the arid limestone mountains where huge colonies follow the lines of 
Greek grykes, accompanied by rusty-backs and P. australe. 

I've never been to Corfu at any time of the year other than October, so I don't know if it 
has more or other spectacular pteridological attractions. In autumn the weather is 
decidedly unpredictable. Although a few days of scorching sunshine are very possible, a 
whole week of chilly rain is an equal possibility. For me it's the cyclamens, carpets of 
them in that very special shade provided by the millions of olives of Corfu. If you want 
truly ancient olive groves or myrtle shades try the nearby islands of Paxoi and Antipaxot, 
and if you want orchids and oranges it has to be April in Crete where, if you have some 
energy for strenuous mountaineering, ferns are plentiful and diverse. 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 


Outstanding successes at Chelsea Flower Show 

It is very gratifying to hear that, at the 1994 Chelsea Flower Show, ferns really came into 
the foreground. Martin Rickard put on a stand of ferns which attracted a lot of attention, 
and the Oxford University Botanical Garden display also featured ferns. The latter was 
) of the University Horti Praefectus, Timothy Walker. Both 



PETER HAINSWORTH, Station House, Achnashellach, Strathcarron, Ross-Shire, IV54 

My insatiable curiosity is often aroused by the sight of a miffy plant. In my book, plant or 
animal (or human) ill health has to have a reason. Things don't just happen. The chance 
of infection by a parasitic organism has to be faced, but even they don't usually make 
progress or we'd all be dead. These thoughts stem from reading Darwin's Origin of 
Species in my late teens (some time ago, now) and the blindingly obvious revelation that 
evolution, by competition, ruthlessly fine-tunes a species to its environment. If the species 
is not doing well it is the environment that is the problem. 

Every year I raise a full complement of fern species offered by the spore exchange, plus 
a few more offered by well-wishers travelling abroad: "Bring me back a bit of fern with 
brown spots on the back". So, I am glad of some sort of early warning system of compost 

In the early stages, the compost is equal parts of vegetable garden soil, garden compost, 
sand (rather alkaline) and chopped sphagnum ("Vapo" peat, very acid). I get the 
impression that plants in fresh compost are not much affected by pH, or it only begins to 
show after a few months. Perhaps the free availability of nutrients in the garden compost 
is the reason. 

When plants show signs of distress I first consider the usual causes. Over or under 
watering is quickly terminal, as a rule. If short of food, successive fronds become 
progressively more yellow and the plant loses vigour.* Having eliminated those, I suspect 
unfavourable pH. 

My BDH soil indicator fluid is always at hand, together with a few tiny 1 ml clear plastic 
bottles. In a few moments 0.5 ml of compost from between the roots is being shaken up 
with enough indicator to cover it well. As it settles the fluid on top begins to show the 
appropriate colour for the pH. This often shows a marked swing from the usual compost 
value of 7-6. It is seldom very clear why this happens, but I presume some variation 
occurs in the ingredients. This is where the users of standard composts have the edge 
on me, but even these composts don't always suit. 

Most of us, perhaps, looking upon ferns as woodlanders growing in leafmould soil, expect 
to find that they would prefer rather acid conditions. Experience so far has shown that 
acid lovers are exceptional. The great majority succeed in composts where the pH is 

Here is a list (opposite) of plants which, at one time, were doing poorly and, after 
checking the pH, were put in a compost of markedly different pH and recovered. I 
checked the new compost's pH after a month or two. 


A. reniforme 6.0 

A. sylvaticum 6.0 

Asplenium oblongifolium 6.75 

Blechnum attenuatum 5.5 

B. spicant 5.5 

B. sp. (ex Page, New New Caledonia) 5.5 

Dryopteris aemula 6.5 

D. tokyensis 5.5 

Davallia tasmanii 5.75 

Dicksonia squarrosa 6.0 

Gymnocarpium oyamense 7.0 

Microlepis strigosa 5.5 

M. platyphylla 6.0 

Onychium japonicum 7 . 5 

O. contiguum 7.5 

Osmunda regalis 5.5 

Paesia srabula 7.0 

P. r/gens 7.0 

P. squarrosum 6.75 

P. stenophyllum 7.0 

P. tsu-simense 6.0 

P. venustum 6.0 

Pteris w'ffate 7.0 

Rumohra adiantiformis 6.5 

Take these as you find them. They are not intended to be authoritative, and it may well 
be that half a pH point difference either way would have given better results. I just hope 
that anyone struggling with one of these ferns might find a pH test provides the answer. 
Testing for pH has become an expensive business these days and indicator fluid 
appears to have gone out of fashion. We now have to buy 5-tablet tests for about £3. 
The original pH soil indicator is still available from McQulkin & Co., 21 Polmadie Avenue. 
Glasgow G5 0BB. 

It will cost you nearly £17 (mostly VAT and carriage) but that still works out at 5p a shot 
instead of the 60p of tablets. It is, of course, useful in the rest of the garden anyway. As 
for those tiny bottles, a friendly chemist or lab. assistant might provide, or I could oblige 
with a few. 

ENDNOTE - My ferns have occasionally shown white tips to the pinnae and pinnules, 
sometimes ceasing growth as well. The likely cause of this was the use of moss killer on 
the capillary mat on which they were standing. I have not seen it since I gave up the 

246 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 


MARTIN RICKARD, Kyre Park, Tenbury Wells, Worcs., WR15 8RP and ALISON PAUL, 
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW75BD 

Dryopteris aemula is one of our most attractive native ferns. On what Jimmy Dyce calls 
"Aemula Isle" (the Isle of Arran) it grows to perfection in the humid woodland which has 
developed along the cliffs of the raised beaches. The pale green crisped fronds, perhaps 
30 inches long, are a stunning sight as they cascade over the rocks in this fern-rich 
habitat. Despite its preference for high humidity and shade in the wild, D. aemula is not 
difficult to cultivate, and does well in a shady border even in eastern England, although it 
only reaches 12 inches in height. In favoured western gardens, however, it can be grown 
closer to its wild perfection, as demonstrated in Joan Loraine's wonderful garden at 
Greencombe near Porlock in Somerset. Here Joan has planted a dozen or so clumps to 
form a crispy, dense ground cover between shrubs in a shady part of the garden. 
Over the years very few varieties of D. aemula have been recorded. Early in the fern 
craze, during the 1850s, three minor variants were reported: 

'Augustipinnulum'- secondary pinnules more confluent and lobes irregularly shortened. 
'Interruptum'- depauperate. 
'Ramosum' - each frond branched at the base. 
Later, during the 1870s or 1880s two better forms were discovered: 
'Capitatum' - crested and capitate. 
'Cristatum' - prettily and thoroughly crested. 

'Cristatum' was generally considered to be the best of the five finds. It was collected in 
North Devon by W. Gill, a nurseryman from Lynton. The original plant died, but a 
sporeling came up. Dr Jones secured a fertile frond which he sent to Charles Druery. 
From this, Druery raised several hundred progeny, all crested (see the illustration in The 
Book of British Ferns by C.T. Druery). These were distributed fairly widely. Unfortunately 
Dr Jones's sowing failed. 

It is doubtful if any of these ferns are still in cultivation, 
immy Dyce remembers seeing one plant of 'Cristatum' in 
the Savill Gardens in the 1960s, but that now seems to 
be gone. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of this 
cultivar today - or any of the others listed above - 
ase let us know. 
Although the original finds are probably all 

resource. This year, while botanising 

for the Natural History Museum, one 

of us (A.M.P.) spotted a young 

plant of D. aemula 'Cristatum' 

growing in the wild in Ireland. 

The plant, which was in a 

precarious position by a 

track was collected, potted 

up and seems to be doing 

well. From the illustration 

(left) it can be seen that the 

crests are quite large and 

indeed the largest frond is 

branched, suggesting that 

'Ramo-cristatum' might be a good name for 
settle down to being more lightly crested like 1 
As yet there are no sporangia on the plant t 
new find will enable a variety of the Dryopteri, 


GAVIN STARK, 74 Silver Street, Peterborough PE2 9BX 
Psilotum nudum (L.) Beauv is a most peculiar 
pteridophyte. In their classifications, taxono- 
mists place this species in a different class - 
Psilotopsida - from that of any other European 
Pteridophyte. The presence of Psilotum in 
Europe passed unnoticed until January 1965 
when Betty Molesworth Allen discovered a 
small colony growing on a sandstone cliff in SW 
Spain. It almost seems as though being over- 
looked is the vocation of this rather nondescript 

Readers of a purist fern ilk, those among our 

ranks who consider horsetails irritating weeds, 

and clubmosses as plants one sympathetically 

bends down to see on BPS outings in search of 

more frondy mountain species, will find the 

inclusion of this note in the Pteridologist hard to 

swallow. What is our editor thinking of?! {Psilo- 
tum nudum does not even appear on the 

Rickards' list!). In appearance Psilotum consists 

of little more than forked stems. Closer examination of these stems reveals a scattering 
of minute flattened leaf-like appendages and 
occasional clusters of green to brown sacs 
(synangia) borne closely appressed to the 
stem. In spite of its plain appearance Psilotum 
has long fired disagreement among those 
interested in the evolution of land plants. 
Debate began in 1859, when the appearance of 
Psilotum was likened to that of the then newly 
discovered fossils of early Devonian plants. On 
one side of the debate were those who 
regarded this similarity between the fossils and 
Psilotum as a coincidence resulting from simpli- 
ng evolution of a fern like predeces- 

considered the likeness not one of chance, but 
a reflection of Psilotum's direct descent from 
plants of the kind represented in the Devonian 
fossils. Those arguing the latter case supposed 
Psilotum must have passed through generation 
after generation and hardly changed. 

248 Pteridologist 2,6 (1995) 

My first encounter with this plant was during a class practical at Reading University. A 
small fragment of rhizome, procured from a vigorously growing pot of Spanish Psilotum 
which we had been given to examine, failed to grow when transferred to my kitchen 
window. The fragment was too stiff to wither and remained there long enough to arouse 
my curiosity about the plant. If any reader can supply me with living material for a second 
attempt please get in touch! 

The most vociferous debate has centred on interpretation of Psilotum's anatomy. Living 
Psilotum has a number of characters which appear 'primitive'; that is to say characters 
which are shared with the Devonian fossils. Such characters include, the simplicity of 
Psilotum's tissues, the nature of its sporangia (the clusters of brown sacs), the similarity 
of gametophyte and sporophyte tissue and that the gametophyte possesses vascular 
tissue. One could argue that these are primitive characters which Psilotum has retained 
or derived by simplificationwhich Psilotum has obtained. This kind of debate is difficultto 
prove either way, particularly since no fossils of Ps/Voftvm-like plants have been found for 
the 374 million years between the start of the middle Devonian and the present day. 
In Japan there is a long history of growing cultivars of Psilotum as an ornamental plant. In 
parallel to the Victorian fern craze and our rarer British Woodsia and Trichomanes, so the 
collection of Psilotum by Japanese growers (coupled with increasing urbanisation) has 
left few wild stations for Psilotum in Japan. A cultivar named 'Bunryo-zan' (it was 
collected from Mt Bunryo) has been in cultivation since the late eighteenth or early 
nineteenth century. This cultivar is unusual in lacking the small leaf-like appendages and 
in having all its synangia at the ends of branches. In suggesting that this manner of 
growth is latent in Psilotum's make-up, this cultivar places Psilotum just a few steps from 
early plants such as the fossil species Renalia hueberi. (Illustrations may be seen in 
Stewarts Rothwell, 1993). 
Recent studies (Hoi 

Peter Pan never grew up. It is quite plausible that Psilotum in a similar way has passed 

through generation after generation and remains scarcely changed from the first land 

plants. I like to think so. 


Brownsey, P.J. and Lovis, J.D. (1987). Chromosome numbers for New Zealand species 

of Psilotum and Tmesipteris, and the phylogenetic relationships of the Psilotales. New 

Zealand Journal of Botany, 25:439-454. 

Hori, H. et al (1985). Evolution of green plants as deduced from 5s rRNA sequences. 

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 82:820-823. 

Molesworth Allen, B. (1966). Psilotum nudum in Europe. Fern Gazette 9(7): 249-250. 

Rouffa, A.S. (1978). On phenotypic expression, morphogenetic pattern and synangium 

evolution in Psilotum. American Journal of Botany 65(6):692-71 3. 

Stewart, W.N. and Rothwell, G.W. (1993). Paleobotany and the evolution of plants 2na 

edition. Cambridge University Press. 

who bullied Gavin into researching 

nature of Psilotum is to skate on rather thin ice, but I think 

readers of Pteridologist. Those of us who are honest v.... _ 

Psilotum could be confidently assigned to a group of plants once thought 

Hon et al have provided some excellent preliminary evidence ' ' 

this fascinating plant's DNA and comparing relevant fragments with those of other pier 

appreciate being corrected). Once that is done, the story should be good enough. 

Steven Spielberg into making the follow-up to Jurassic Park, perhaps — ™ 

Garden? I'd certainly go to see it - Ed. 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 249 


FLORA OF GALMORGANby A.E. Wade. Q.O.N. Kay and R.G. Ellis HMSO London 
1994. Pp. viii, 393, 170 x 245 mm, 42 col. illustrations (on 9 plates). 20 b & w figures 
including several maps. Paperback price £29.95. ISBN 11 310046 9. 
At long last Glamorgan has a much needed, up-to-date county flora. Out of print works 
Flora of Cardiff by Storrie (1886). Flora of Glamorgan by Riddelsdell (1907) and Flora of 
Glamorgan by Trow (1911) covered much of the flora of the county but are long out of 
date and, in the case of the two newer works, just about impossible to find second-hand. 
Glamorgan is a ferny county of greater than average interest and has not escaped the 
interest of the BPS. Not long ago, George Hutchinson, one of the major contributors to 
this work, organised a BPS weekend meeting in the county which hopefully helped fill in 
a few dots on some of the distribution maps. Currently 48 different ptendophyte species 
are recorded, plus quite a few hybrids and subspecies. The distribution of each taxon is 
given on a 5 km square basis. Only commoner species are mapped, the individual 
squares for rarer species are listed in the text. Two ferns, Ophioglossum vulgatum and 
Osmunda regalis, are illustrated in colour. 

Introductory chapters give accounts of the history of botany, botanists, ecology and plant 
distribution in the county. Geology is particularly well covered, not surprising, considering 
the richness of the fossil flora of the carboniferous coal measures. Some fern and fern 
ally fossils are illustrated. 

The first reliable record for any plant for Glamorgan was Polypodium australe 
'Cambricum'. How nice to see a fern coming first as it should! Even more remarkable to 
think that it still grows in the original site where it was recorded by Richard Kayse of 
Bristol in 1668. 

It is good to know that nationally uncommon Adiantum capillus-veneris still abounds 
along the Glamorgan coast. However, Thelyptehs palustris and Pilularia globulifera have 
gone as too, it seems, has Dryopteris aemula. The absence of the last is the more 
remarkable as Hymenophyllum tunbrigense still occurs at three sites within the county. A 
challenge there for the BPS? 

Towards the end of the book there are sections on liverworts, mosses and lichens, and a 
marvellous gazetteer of the county. The list of references running to 34 pages and the 
index of 54 pages are final proof of the thoroughness of this book. 
Technically excellent as this book is, it seems rather expensive for a paperback and. not 
surprisingly, it will not stay open at a given page. My review copy is beginning to come 
unstuck already, and I am forced to wonder if the book will survive in the field. 
Nevertheless, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the flora of south Wales, and 
the authors are to be congratulated for compiling an extremely comprehensive account 
of the flora of Glamorgan. 

FERNS FOR AMERICAN GARDENS by John Mickel. Macmillan, New York. Pp. xii, 370. 
Numerous line drawings and more than 360 colour photographs 1994. ISBN 02 
584491 1. 

Here is a book which provides the American fern grower, new or experienced, with all he 
or she needs to know. Remarkably, this book is by a botanist of high standing, and much 
of John Mickel's output has been of the academic sort, but he has the facility for 

250 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

communication with all audiences and has frequently contributed to the popular press. 

When I was over there a couple of years ago it was one of his books which guided me 

through the North American fern flora. 

Ferns for American Gardens provides a painless lesson in pteridology, carefully designed 

and written in a way which any horticulturalist will enjoy. There are sections on fern 

structure and development, planting and care, plants to grow with ferns, nomenclature 

and a guide to fern societies and suppliers. 

He describes so many species and varieties that I'll leave it to those who have the will to 

count them. Each is described, most with an excellent colour photograph and information 

about it in the wild, and then he gives that essential information about hardiness and 

You've got so much easily absorbed information here that really, all you need to do is 
enjoy browsing through the book, deciding which ferns you want to grow, and where and 
how you want to grow them. Then, if you can find the supplier, growing them should be a 

There are some trivial errors, but editors-authors understand that they are inevitable, and 
I will not list them here. I know that Martin Rickard has dug them out and the author will, 
no doubt, be grateful to hear about them. Readers in Britain should not be put off by the 
American Gardens label. Many of the ferns discussed by John Mickel are available here, 
and his guide to hardiness will be very useful to all growers. Since he lives in New York 
his choice tends to cover ferns for our sort of climate anyway. 

The cover boldly calls this excellent book "The Definitive Guide" and, though no book can 
be absolutely all-embracing, I'm dashed if I can see any good reason to disagree. This is 
the first edition, and highly collectable, so collect it now! 

with some contributions from CR Fraser-Jenkins. International Book Distributors, 9/3 
Rajpur Road, Dehra Dun, India. 1994. Pp. xl, 506, 3 maps, 168 figs. 187 x 248 mm. 
ISBN 81 7089 1361. Price hardback £50. 

The west Himalaya area covered here is all the Himalayan provinces in India west of the 
Nepalese border with a slight extension into Pakistan. The area is very similar to that 
covered by Dhir in Ferns of North-Western Himalayas (1980) but the number of species 
described is increased, and the nomenclature brought up to date. The Christopher 
Fraser-Jenkins input is apparent here. He has added helpful notes after some species 
and contributed a large number of the localities. 

Full keys are given. Synonymy of each genus and species is followed by a full 
description with key characters highlighted. Where necessary a discussion of any point 
of interest is added. Under each species a brief account of the habitat is given, plus a full 
range of localities. This section will be of great interest to growers as a help with 
cultivation. In many cases altitude ranges are given, which should be a useful guide to 

me coverage of each species is comprehensive, with critical spe_ 
length. This is not a book produced by one man in isolation I particularly like the way the 
author has freely consulted fern experts worldwide making the book vastly more 
authoritative than it might otherwise have been. The coverage of the genera Asplenium 
and Cheilanthes are good cases in point here. 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 251 

The illustrations are usually line drawings, but some are photocopies of herbarium 
material. The line drawings are supplemented by close-ups of diagnostic features. The 
main illustration is usually more or less natural size, but no scale is given for the 
magnified features. All, bar 15 taxa, are illustrated. I expect the drawings to be of 
immense value to students of the ferns of this area. 

Volume 1 reviewed here treats 28 families and 182 taxa (species, hybrids and varieties). 
Perhaps the most important families included are Polypodiaceae, Sinopteridaceae and 
Aspleniaceae. Volume 2 will complete the work, covering a further 13 families including 
the very large groups Athyriaceae, Thelypteridaceae and Dryopteridaceae. 
The price of £50 is rather high but not unfair in the light of other comparable fern floras 
produced recently. I trust the price will not deter too many purchasers. I. for one. hope 
we do not have to wait too long for the second volume of this excellent work, especially 
as it will include so many of the hardy fern taxa familiar to gardeners in cold temperate 


Since writing the above I have seen this 

l trying for a competitive price. 
Also, Christopher Fraser-Jenkins has pointed 
1. C. dalhousiae (p. 

HONG KONG FERNS by Dr M L So. Published by the Urban Council, in the Hong Kong 
Flora and Fauna Series. Pp 159, about 300 coloured photographs and over 100 
scanning electron micrographs of spores. 151 x 215 mm, laminated cover. Price 90 Hong 
Kong dollars (about £7.50). 

A relatively small area heavily built up, such as Hong Kong, would not seem to have the 
potential to generate an interesting book on ferns. Yet this book comes out only 16 years 
after the very comprehensive, technical account prepared by H. Edie, Ferns of Hong 
Kong (1978). The fern flora is therefore very rich and Dr So's book, set at a popular level, 
scores by having a wonderful range of colour photographs of each of the ferns covered. 
Something like 140 ferns are illustrated, usually with a habitat shot, sorus close up and a 
scanning electron micrograph of the spores. Edie's work was in black and white and 
included 175 species of fern so in an ideal world both books would be used in tandem. 
There is at least one error. The illustration of Thelypteris palustris is something quite 
different, possibly Stegnogramma? Easily spotted errors such as this always unsettle my 
ce in a book, but assuming this is an isolated problem, I feel I can recommend 
( to anyone interested in the ferns of south east Asia. It is worth buying for the 




Pteridologist 2, 1 


ADRIAN DYER, Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh. 

Bracken, in its vigorous forms, is common in many parts of the world and, where it 
spreads aggressively to form dense stands, it is well known as a troublesome weed of 
upland grazing land, poisonous to domestic cattle and a haven for ticks. It has, however, 
also many uses (Rymer, 1976) and records of bracken being harvested and sold for one 
or another purpose date back to the 15th century.* There are references in the literature 
to its importance as a source of potash for soap and glass, and to its use as fuel 
(especially in brick kilns), as thatch, animal litter, floor covering and compost. It has also 
been used as animal fodder, human food (both as starch from the rhizome and as a 
green vegetable) and as an anthelmintic (a cure for gut parasites). There are records of 
its use as a hop substitute in beer, as an insect deterrent, a source of dye and as a 
packing material for storing fruit. It is difficult to imagine that bracken could have been put 
to any use not yet described, but a chance observation on a holiday in November, 1991 
revealed one. 

While spending a week i 

id of Porto Santo, 50 km north-east of Madeira, I 
i one-storey, tile-roofed farmhouse near the small village of Campo 
de Baixo towards the west end of the island (below). The house contained two 
separate-roomed dwellings. It has not been possible to date its construction, but it is of 
traditional style, unlike the holiday homes spreading all around it. It was abandoned 
comparatively recently. There were broken pieces of furniture and domestic utensils 
inside, and the stones marking the rim of the circular threshing floor are still in place 
beside the farm house (below). Yoked pairs of oxen, sometimes accompanied by a 
donkey, were driven around within the circle to thresh the grain, mainly barley, which was 
grown, until recently, in adjacent fields. All the island's windmills are now disused, but a 
few still have their furled canvas sails confirming that their inactivity, and the 
t of cereal growing, \ 

The abandoned farmhouse near Campo de Baixo 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 


i dwelling was 

i probably c 

Inside the farmhouse, an integral wall separating the two roorr 
disintegrating to reveal its internal structure (below). It consisted c 
attached horizontally each side of stout vertical posts. The cane 
giant reed, Arundo donax, which grows on Madeira. Two of the posts formed the fran 
a doorway. On each side of the wall, the outer surface was covered with a lay* 
smooth plaster which was then painted (pink). Beneath this, rough plaster had I 
spread over and between the canes. Between the two layers of canes and plaster w 
central cavity tightly crammed with bracken (below) which had apparently been 
as dry, brown fronds at the end of their growing season and placed within the wall before 
it was plastered. The purpose of this might at first sight appear to be insulation but, 
because the climate of Porto Santo is equable, rarely hotter than 25°C or colder than 
10°C, heat insulation in an inside wall is unlikely to be necessary. Another possibility is 
that the bracken provided sound insulation between the two rooms but, because the wall 
included an inter-communicating door, much of the benefit would have been lost. An 
alternative and more likely explanation, suggested to me by Stuart Lindsay, is that the 
bracken was packed into the wall in order to hold the wet plaster in place as it set, in the 
same way as wooden laths are used in Britain. 

It Was not pOSSIDie TO OlSCOVer wneinei una uc- .-. 

island. The only published record I can find for the use of bracken in Macaronesia u, „ 
source of flour for human consumption in the Canaries (Lindley, 1838). Bracken itself is 
not common in Porto Santo. The island is made largely of limestone and and, lacking the 
high central mountains that cause the rain on Madeira. I saw no bracken in the vicinity of 
the farm- the only population I found (Pteridium aquilinum ssp. aquihnum) occupied a 
small area on a dry, south-facing hillside about 2 km away in the centre of the island 
— =^_ ..-_ _..___> -< k. senhora da Graga. Perhaps this population was sufficient to 

ruction needs before the tourist building expansion, 
been previously more widespread. Either way, it would 

or this purpose in preference to barley straw which was 

provide all the islan 
Alternatively, bracken 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

durable and hygienic than straw. 

If bracken was not available in sufficient quantity on Porto Santo, it could have been 

harvested and imported from Madeira, perhaps together with the canes. Bracken is 

locally abundant on Madeira, particularly in the cooler, wetter mountain area inland. Near 

Santo da Serra in the east, it contributes noticeably to a landscape reminiscent of 

Perthshire, complete with pine trees, sheep, grassland and dry-stone walls. Bracken is 

also common in the moorlands of the Paul da Serra in the west. 

It may be that the tradition of using bracken as a filling for cavity walls started in these 

cool, bracken-rich areas of the mountains of Madeira and later spread to Porto Santo 

and elsewhere. In the mountains of Madeira, the increase in heat insulation might have 

been an additional advantage, even if the subsequent use of the practice on Porto Santo 

was of little benefit in this regard. A discovery of bracken within cavity walls made of 

wood or stone rather than plaster would suggest that insulating properties were 

important. It would be interesting to know whether there is any record of bracken having 

been used similarly in Scotland, Wales or anywhere else where there would have been a 

similar resource. 

Alternatively, this use of bracken might be absent from Madeira. If it was particularly 

associated with the construction of walls made entirely from plaster and cane, it might be 

uncommon in Madeira where lime is less available than in Porto Santo. The inclusion of 

bracken in hollow plaster walls in other parts of the world where lime-rich areas coincide 

with a source of the fern would reinforce the suggestion that the main purpose of the 

bracken filling was to support the wet plaster. 

My next visit to Madeira will have to include a tour of derelict houses. In the meantime, I 

would be very interested to hear from any members who have information that would 

throw further light on this use of bracken. 


Lindley, J. (1938). Flora Medica. London. 

Rymer, L. (1976). The history and ethnobotany of bracken. Bot. J. Linn. Soc, 73: 



The Fernery at Danesbury 

Welwyn Hatfield Council owns part of the old Danesbury estate at Welwyn, Hertfordshire. 
They recently discovered, under the brambles and nettles, the outdoor fernery, originally 
built in the 1860s. The pulhamite structure is mostly complete, though nothing remains of 
he plantings. They are very keen to restore it to its former glory. I have agreed to help 
them in any way I can and to co-ordinate any advice or assistance that might be 
available from the B.P.S. 
The Head Gardener at Danesbury from 1851 until he died in 1881 was Anthony Parsons, 

subsequently, A. filix-femina 'Plumosum' Druery. The fernery obviously had a large 
collection of fine forms in its heyday, as evidenced by contemporary accounts, t was 
described in William Robinsons The Flower Garden as the finest fernery in the Home 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 255 

The undergrowth has been cleared and work is now starting to restore the rockwork 
where it has broken or fallen, to mark the pathways and generally to reveal the original 
hard structure of the fernery. After that, the question of further restoration and planting 
can be considered. 

Welwyn Hatfield Council have the offer of some financial support from tl 

Gardens Trust, and seem genuinely keen to make the restoration a reality, talking of 

possibly building a National Collection there. 

I believe this is an exciting project that the Society should encourage and help as much 

as we can. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has information about 

Danesbury and its fernery, so that we can build as good a picture of its original state as 

possible. (Address in front cover). 



MICHAEL GRANT, 3 Greenhill Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 9SR. 
A recent report in Nature (368:683-684) by J.W. Earl and B.V. McCleary has shed a 
pteridological light on the gruesome fate of the Burke and Wills expedition to traverse the 
then unknown interior of Australia. Setting out from Melbourne in 1860 with the aim of 
documenting flora and fauna and taking geophysical measurements, the expedition 
turned into a race to cross the continent before another team led by John Stewart. 
On arriving at Cooper's Creek Burke, a police inspector, split the group taking one 
scientist, Wills and two others, King and Gray. This four man team reached the Gulf of 
Carpentaria on the north coast successfully, but their return was delayed by monsoons 
and the remainder of the expedition was found to have deserted the Creek. 
The four were by now running low on grain flour and began to eat the Aboriginal flour 
made from the ground sporocarps of Marsilea drummondii, the nardoo fern. The 
specialised preparation of this flour had been demonstrated to them by Aborigines but 
this advice was forsaken in favour of grinding and cooking, their greatest mistake. The 
four began suffering from hypothermia, weakening of pulse and severe muscle wasting 
leading to an inability to move. Wills's detailed diary of their decline revealed the classic 
symptoms of beri-beri, now known to be caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1. He was 
aware that they were suffering from nutrient deficiencies, indeed he had recommended 
that they eat Portulaca oleracea, common purslane, to prevent scurvy. However, vitamins 
were unheard of until 50 years later when Funk put forward his theory of four separate 
'vitamines' in 1912. Burke, Wills and Gray died at the Creek while King, with failing 
strength, continued to pound the sporocarps into flour. He was then cared for by 
Aborigines until eventually rescued, but remained crippled for the rest of his life. 
It is now known that their beri-beri was severely exacerbated by the i 

-like sporocarps contain two or three t 

i bracken fronds. 
Thiaminase is an enzyme that breaks down vitamin B1 and causes staggers in horses 
and a similar disease in sheep that feed on nardoo. The clover-like fronds contain a 
hundred times more thiaminase than bracken! 

extremely resistant to heat: the spores will apparently 
oiling, and the thiaminase, unusually for an enzyme, 
will survive cooking. The Aborigines avoid its toxic effects by grinding it in plenty of water 
to dilute not only the enzyme but also co-substrates (adenine, proline and hydroxypro- 
line) which the enzyme requires to break down vitamin B1. Contamination by amino 
■ I by avoiding contact with bark or leaf 

germinate after fifteen r 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

i. The thin paste is spooned straight into the mouth with a 

This is a good example of a traditional food processing practice rendering an otherwise 
poisonous plant palatable in a harsh environment. With our biochemical understanding 
we can only marvel at how the Aborigines developed their detoxification process. 


....and yet another use for bracken ? 

There is a pretty French folk tune of the later 15th century (the original title and text are 
unknown) which was taken by a number of composers as a basis for their more artistic 
chansons. The most famous is the six-part Petite Camusette by the great Flemish 
composer Josquin des Prez (c. 1440-1521). 

However, the ubiquitous Anon, made a four part chanson out of it, and that he called 
Allez a la Fougere. In the text the poet invites a pretty brunette to join him among the 
rushes (jolie jonc) and fougeres for unspecified, yet undoubted pleasures. In the modern 
edition from which the tune below has been liberated the title was translated as, I 
contend erroroneously, 'Lets to the Heath'. We all know that fougeres are ferns, perhaps 
in this case bracken (one of its numerous taxa) which, if you can avoid the ticks, makes 
a good place for two people to vanish for a while for a little al fresco privacy. The 
arrangement here is for a pair of bagpipes (ie. two), and is lifted from Merryweather's 
Tunes for the English Bagpipe (1989; wherein it is dedicated to Bob Stolze, pteridologist 
and medieval music enthusiast (see page 267). 



■■ r i 't r r J | f M P 

j j 

|kj-m r r ; r j j }\}.p{ jj^jf 

f f r r | r J "^ ^=] 

\ ty i ni 1 1 r f lr j r l r nn\£^^ 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 


A R BUSBY, Croziers, 16 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry CV4 8GD. 

When considering whether to exhibit ferns the choice is made easier if we 

ferns to choose from. It also ensures that we have substitutes in case any 

to our prize exhibits. It's amazing how clumsy we become or ' 

conspire to damage or destroy our plants, especially when after a long journey we are 

within sight of the show bench. It's difficult to suggest a optimum number, but if you wish 

to exhibit one lady fern it's as well to grow four in the hope that at least two will be 

Only one major show provides the opportunity to exhibit ferns in several classes, and that 
is Southport. Most local shows may have a class for one pot fern and a class for one 
foliage plant. The following comments are made with Southport Show in mind, but the 
principles apply to any show. Having said that, do remember that in spite of my 
comments here, if your particular show rules demand something different, abide by them. 
Showing from the exhibitors point of view. 

The first task is to obtain a copy of the show schedule and please read it carefully and, 
when you feel that you completely understand what is required, read it again! 
If it's simply a class for one pot fern that is quite straightforward and you can exhibit either 
a hardy or indoor fern. Sometimes a schedule will require that the fern is exhibited in a 
suitable container. Here they are emphasising the use of a plant pot. A plant in a 
washing-up bowl or a bucket is likely to be disqualified. However, a Nephrolepis in a 
hanging basket should be acceptable. Presenting a hanging basket on the show bench 
in a attractive manner can be something of a problem. Better not to attempt to hang it 
from something but sit it upon a terracotta pan or pot. If you can disguise the supporting 
pan with a piece of black cloth so much the better. More about this when we consider 

In some shows they provide a class for three or more pot ferns and this presents more 
difficulties for the exhibitor, and at Southport the pitfalls are even greater because it 
provides classes for varieties of named genera. Do make sure that you recognise the 
different genera. I am always pleased to assist and advise on this before the show's 
staging day. Better this than an inquest after the show. 

If the class demands three or more pot ferns, you must try to exhibit three or more plants 
of equal quality. Two superb examples are not going to upgrade a miffy third exhibit and 
the entry will lose points. Rarity guarantees nothing, a well grown and well presented 
male fern will always beat a poorly grown rarity. Needless to say, a well grown difficult 

: is not within the scope of this article to discuss me aeidiis* u 
ultivated for the show bench. However, it is worth mentioning t 

; might be 
he show "bench However, it is worth mentioning that it was considered 
unacceptable to exhibit some species as multi-crowned ferns in large pots. Obviously 
something like Gymnocarpium dryopteris, Polypodium vulgare or Phegoptens connect/Its 
are by their very nature creeping, multi-crowned species, but in days past it was 
considered bad form to exhibit such species as Dryopteris filix-mas, Polygonum 
setiferum or Athyrium filix-femina as multi-crowned plants. Exhibiting them as single 
crowned plants enabled them to display their distinct forms to advantage. It also provided 
a greater challenge to the grower to produce the perfect specimen handicapped by a 
limited number of fronds. A lot of sins can be disguised within a large pot crammed 
fronds. Even today the judges are likely to favour a well grown, single-crowned plant. 
Some exhibitors seem to have difficulty understanding the term variety. They sometimes 
think it means type and consequently stage their entry incorrectly. Three Athyrium 

258 Pteridologist 2, 6 (1995) 

means three distinct varieties: eg. Athyrium filix-femina 'Frizelliae', A.f.f. 'Cristata' and A. 
nipponicum 'Pictum' would be quite acceptable. However Athyrium nipponicum would not 
be correct because it is a species not a variety. Another incorrect entry would be 
Athyrium filix-femina, A. otophorum and A. distentifolium because they are species not 
varieties. A schedule will never ask for types of fern, they will always state species or 
varieties. Notice that it stipulates three DISTINCT varieties. Three different 'Grandiceps' 
are unlikely to be acceptable. 

Having decided that we are competent to decide which are species and varieties, we 
now must consider our ferns geography. Some classes may ask for three BRITISH 
ferns. This is easy enough if you consult a reliable British pteridophyte flora such as 
Jermy and Camus (1991) ignoring, of course, their references to alien species that are 
recorded as escapes. I am sure that I do not have to remind anyone that fern allies such 
as quillworts and horsetails have no place in fern classes. 

Three Hardy British Ferns (DISSIMILAR) might be another pitfall. Play safe and make 
sure that the three species are quite different, I would be reluctant to stage Dryopteris 
filix-mas with D. affinis unless I had complete faith in the judge. The judge may decide 
that they are not sufficiently dissimilar! A little more tricky are classes for foreign ferns. An 
Asplenium trichomanes exhibited as a foreign fern with the excuse that A. trichomanes is 
native to France or Germany simply will not do. Only fern species not native to the British 
Isles can be considered as foreign. 

Having grown our ferns to perfection and having arrived safely at the show bench, we 
could now stick them on the table and walk away confident that we shall be successful. If 
only that were true. Having spent months or years cultivating our prize specimen, we 
must now spend a few minutes ensuring that it is a joy to behold. 

If any would-be fern exhibitors want an object lesson in how plants should be presented 
on the show bench, I suggest they visit any show of the Alpine Garden Society. They 
have made the presentation of plants on the show bench an art form. It is a skill that is 
easily acquired, it requires a little common sense and careful thought but it can make all 
the difference between first prize and no prize. 

There are three aspects to presentation: the container, the plant and the overall effect. 
Containers, usually pans or pots, should be scrubbed clean. Whether to use plastic or 
terracotta is a matter of taste, but do ensure that they are clean and in good condition. 
Better still use new pots. Cracked or damaged containers do not give a good impression. 
The plant should be in the best condition possible, without damage, pests or disease. If 
our plant does have damaged fronds time must be spent tidying it up. All damaged parts 
must be removed neatly, but try to avoid leaving unsightly gaps. More importantly, it is 
better to remove the entire frond rather than amputating the top few inches. Nothing 
looks worse that two-thirds of a frond, in this case, no frond is better than half a frond. If 
all this tidying up means that you are going to remove more than one third of the fronds, 
then it is probably not worth staging anyway. 

i plant has a face side, ie. a side where it has 

received the 

optimum light conditions. Very often its the side nearest the glass in the greenhouse 
window sill. When staging the plant, turn it around and decide which is its best si 
make sure this is the side facing the judges. 

n ~«^ kw liberal use of limest< 

ttractively presented v 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 259 

a dressing of chippings but ferns require careful thought as to their natural surroundings. 
Any of those spleenworts found on mortared walls or limestone pavements will look right 
with a dressing of limestone chippings however, the forked spleenwort. Asplenium 
septentrionale, would be properly dressed with moss or granite chippings. I have always 
dressed my potted Osmunda regalis with mosses, usually Mnium hornum or Polythchum 
commune. However, leaf-mould, peat or neatly trimmed grass would be appropriate. 
Consider the ferns habitat and try to imitate it. I have seen Platycerium bifurcatum 
dressed with limestone chippings and the overall effect was dreadful. A handful of 
chipped bark or moss would have made all the difference. For British ferns, Jermy and 
Camus (1 991 ) will point you in the right direction. 

We can now place our exhibit(s) on the show bench making sure that if our plant is small 
we put it at the front and if it is a large specimen it is placed towards the back. Give the 
pot a final wipe and turn it around to find the plants face side. Give it a final check over in 
case you have missed any dead or damaged fronds. If the plant needs height, place it on 
an upturned pot or box but do remember to disguise the support with a piece of cloth. Try 
to avoid using a tower of pots, upturned buckets or undisguised cardboard boxes, all of 
which I have seen gracing the show bench. 

Now we come to the vexed question of labelling. Here you must be guided by the show 
schedule. Some shows, such as those organised by the AGS insist on correct labelling 
and the judge will take into account incorrect or missing labels. Southport Show does not 
insist on labels at all, so you are not obliged to provide them. However, in case of two 
entries of equal standard the judge might just decide to give the prize to the entry with the 
label. Correct and neat labelling should be a matter of pride. Give attention to correct 
spelling, the BPS Spore Exchange list is a very handy spell checker. Remember, you 
have the chance to judge your entries long before the judges sees them so try to make 

Showing from the judges' point of view. 

The team that judges at Southport Show consists of two judges, two stewards and a 
runner - a young person who takes the judging results to the show secretary's office. The 
show card with the exhibitor's name is placed by the exhibitor, with their pots, face down 
so that the judges cannot see the identity of the exhibitor and only the stewards are 
allowed to handle it. The judges are not allowed in the tent until the time of judging and 
they take with them a copy of the show schedule. Arriving at the first class on the show 
bench, they first count how many exhibitors have entered the class and count how many 
pots each exhibitor has entered. If an exhibitor has one pot too many or too few that entry 
will not be judged. 

Each plant is examined carefully to ensure that it fulfils the requirements of the class and 
for any damage or disease. It is amazing how blind exhibitors can be to scorched fronds 
or creepy crawlies and remember, you are making the judges job easy if there are plenty 
of reasons for not awarding a prize! If any entry proves to be Not According to Schedule, 
it must be disqualified. There is nothing more depressing for the judges than to consider 
an entry N.A.S. The exhibitor has wasted time, money and effort staging the plants and 

3 judges time looking i 

: read the schedule carefully and 

If the plants are correct and are well grown, the judges must look for other parameters to 
separate the entries into first, second and third. Presentation is now c< 
exhibitors have spent time 
they can give the judges < 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

At the end of judging, the judges look forward to leaving the tent knowing in their heart of 

hearts that they have made their adjudications fairly and without favour yet knowing that 

when the exhibitors see the results, the chances are that at least one exhibitor will feel 

aggrieved that the judging was done by incompetents with questionable parentage. The 

judges however can retire from the scene with the smug satisfaction of knowing that, as 

long as they have observed the rules and regulations and not made any mistakes with 

identification, the judges decision is FINAL. 


Jermy AC & Camus J (1991) The Illustrated Field Guide to Ferns and Allied Plants of 

the British Isles, London, Natural History Museum Publications.(ISBN 0-565-01 172-3) 


Kaye R (1972) Some Observations on Southport Sho. B.P.S. NewsletterNoAO, p 30. 

Kaye R (1972) Preparing Ferns for Exhibition. B.P.S. Bulletin Vol.1 , No.1 , p 23. 

Rickard MH (1991) Centenary Fern Show Pebworth. Pteridologist, Vol.2, part 2, p 53. 


YOUSEF CARDINOUCHE 15 Bourbon Street, Port-Louis, Mauritius 
Ninety percent of the native forest of Mauritius has been cut down to accommodate a 
rapidly growing population and, in consequence, many species of animals and plants 
have become extinct. Some plants have become so rare that they survive as only one 
individual in the wild! Such are Dictosperma album var. conjugatum (Palmae) and 
Pandanus pyramidalis (Pandanaceae). The last Dombeya mauritiana (Sterculiaceae) 
was found dead in July, 1994. 

Many ferns which need the shade and humidity provided by these trees are in a critical 
situation. Of the 170 native pteridophytes, 21 species may be considered to be extinct. 
The others are declining rapidly. 

In 1982, when I visited Tamarind Falls for the first time, I was amazed by the profusion of 
mosses, lichens and ferns growing in the shade of tall sideroxylon and labourdonnaisia 
trees. On the big boulders near the river Asplenium affine, A. polyodon, A. viviparum and 
Loxogramme lanceolata unfurled their graceful fronds to maximum size. Large colonies 
of Ctenitis crinita, C. hispida, Blechnum attenuatum and Diplazium proliferum formed a 
tangled mass of foliage on the forest floor. High on the branches Asplenium nidus, 
Elaphoglossum petiolatum, E. sieberi and Microsorium punctatum were competing for 
light. One of the most beautiful epiphytes, Vittaria elongata was sending its long, pendant 
ribbon-like fronds in hundreds, giving this forest a fairy-like appearance. The lower parts 
of the trunks were draped with a thick mass of Trichomanes and Hymenophyllum ferns. 
In the mid 1980s there was a great demand for new fern varieties to replace the old 
cultivars of Adiantum raddianum. Villagers from around Henrietta saw an opportunity to 
make money quickly, and hundreds of Asplenium, Ctenitis, Diplazium and Sphemmena. 
3 of Port Louis and other cities. Most 

jn thrown in the bin. 
Paradoxically, all our native ferns are protected by law, but 
poachers. In July 1993 I returned to the falls. Not a single / . 
Vittaria was left. Only the mosses and lichens had survived. This is one < 

places devastated by fern hunters, and this is still going on! 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1! 

Pityrogramma calomelanos, Pityrogramma aureaflava, 
Histiopteris incisa, Sphenoptehs chinensis, Asplenium lineatum, 

Mauritius rarities for sale 

262 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 


JAMES MERRYWEATHER, Biology Department, University of York, PO Box 373, York 
Y01 5YW. 

If you want to make new records for pteridophytes, Eastern Crete appears to be ideal 
territory. I'm writing this after only two days of walking and botanising and already, most 
of the ferns I have found, though common, do not appear where I was on the distribution 
maps in the main work on the distribution of Cretan plants: Flora of the Cretan area by 
Turland, Chilton and Press, 1993. 

I've run quickly through the comprehensive bibliography in this work and the majority of 
publications cited are - surprise, surprise - about the orchids of the island. There are but 
four publications which specifically mention ferns. Three discuss critical taxa and the 
other (Brownsey & Jermy, 1973) is about a fern collecting trip in Western Crete. The 
distribution of the common species appears to have been ignored so, simply going for a 
walk can produce lots of useful pteridological data. They're almost all new records! 
I am (or rather was by the time you read this) based in the town of Aghios Nikolaos, 
having purchased a very reasonably priced package holiday at the beginning of April. I 
just missed the worst of the weather, I have been told, and have had two (7) happy days 
of hard, sun-burning walking through olive groves, along country tracks to altitudes of up 
to 650 m. All the way there has been botany and, occasionally the flowers have rendered 
me utterly spell-bound. 
As a taste, I offer you; 

1. Olive groves, carpeted yellow with the South African weed Oxalis pes-caprae which is 
commonly infested with the broom-rape Orobanche ramosa. Among the olives are many 
surprises, including damp flushes where you find sedges, rushes, marsh orchids such as 
Orchis laxiflora and other plants you might not expect to encounter in such an arid place. 

2. Waysides and "Garigue" with bushy rock-roses (and their attendant parasite Citinus 
hypocistis, a relative of the world's largest flower Rafflesia), spiny burnet Sarcopoterium 
and herbs, herbs, herbs! There is purple-flowered sage, yellow Phlomis (from which the 

Cretans make the revolting, but apparently 
efficacious diktamos tea), several versions of 
thyme, oregano, wild garlic, fennel - the com- 
plete herb garden, and all of real culinary value. 
3. Steep lower mountain slopes are dotted with 
bright yellow-green bushes of several species 
of arborescent spurge, Euphorbia with sage 
and Phlomis for added colour accompanied by 
the constant buzz of honey and bumble bees. 

4 and then there are the incomparable 

limestone rock gardens ("Phrygana") with the 
tiny white Gagea (Lloydia) graeca; white or 
bright yellow (sometimes pillar box red) "pop- 
pies/amemones" which are actually buttercups 
Ranunculus asiaticus; the elegantly Pedant 
quaking grass Briza maxima; 
ment of leguminous species with every 
and flower colour you can imagine; 
ubellifers and all sorts of white and yellow 
composites. Many of these plants are 


voraciously fed upon by 

wide assortment c 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 263 

broom-rapes, Orobanche spp. And then there are orchids dotted about everywhere. Tiny 
purple Orchis anatolica, Ophrys luteals innocent little yellow faces turned up to look you 
straight in the eye, mysterious Serapias, gaudy Ophrys tenthredinifera and O. heldreichii, 
the rather vulgar Barlia robertiana, and many others. 

Back to the ferns. Four species were ubiquitous around Agios Nikolaos: Asplenium 
ceterach, Cheilanthes maderensis (syn. C. fragrans), Anogramma leptophylla and 
Selaginella denticulata. Each lived in slightly different situations and tolerated the hot sun 
to different degrees. C. maderensis abounded in the cracks in the limestone of the area, 
right down to sea level and to over 300 m. It 
could also be found in most urban situations. 
Walls in the village of Pano Elounda were 
plastered with it and rusty-backs, and I found it 
occasionally in the heart of Ag. Nik. This 
species grew out in the sunshine, and was 
beginning to prepare for summer shrivelling 
from which, like A. ceterach, it has the capacity 
to recover. However, I rarely found the latter 
down at sea level. I had to climb a bit before 
finding it, and usually discovered that it had 
found itself a little shade in which it thrived. 
Another species which can happily desiccate for 
the summer is Selaginella denticulata. It was 
everywhere, scrambling over rocks and soil, 
usually with a little protection from direct sun, 
but green, lush and sporulating where shaded, 
pink-red and drying out where not. The fourth 
common species definitely cannot tolerate spo- 
rophyte desiccation, but it has an alternative 
strategy (see page 242). It is the annual fern Anogramma leptophylla 

Anogramma leptophylla. I rapidly developed an 
instinct for where it should be found, and I 

reckon it was just about everywhere, as long as it had a pocket of soil (either an earthy 
bank or a crack in a cool rock face) and shade. There was always a little shade, or it 
grew where didn't catch the mid-day sun. It grew upright, each stipe arching out and up^ 
to hold the fronds away from the rock, and the upper frond surface towards the light and 
the viewer-photographer. It was at its best on the walls and banks supporting the 
semi-circular terraces which each support a single olive tree on the steeper slopes, for 
example in the valley between Kroustas and Kritsa. Here it can be found associated with 
A. ceterach and C. maderense which are also at their most vigorous 
Two other species, both to be expected, turned up. I found a couple of plants of 
Polypodium australe as I hauled up the lower slopes of the Thripti mountains from 
Kavoussi - perhaps the best walk I have ever done in my life! At the west end of the 
island it is quite common, but here?....l hunted diligently. Occasionally I encountered the 
blue-grey, fuzzy fronds of Cosentinia (Notholaena) vellaea, hairy above and hairy 
beneath to protect it from desiccation. I found this plant sporadically occupying the most 
exposed rock faces at low altitudes where heat and drought must give it a rare run tor us 

One further pteridophyte took my attention, just before I caught the bus on which I just 
3 BPS committee man, Patrick Acock s son! [As I tried to 
h him I was under constant interrogation about Cretan 
) had spotted my BPS tee-shirt ]. Between the road and 

264 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

the sea at Pachia Ammos there were acres of Equisetum ramosissimum, very erect with 
cones all over. 

If you care to visit Crete, get there in early April and risk the changeability of the wather. 
There is a series of excellent books from a pubisher called Sunflower which provide 
walking itineraries for many places, especially in the Med. There are two for Crete which 
may be bought here or there: Landscapes of Eastern Crete and Landscapes of Western 
Crete by Jonny Godfrey and Elizabeth Karslake. They present the best way of getting 
into the countryside of new places and, although their instructions are rarely perfect, they 
do take you to the best places, eg. the walk up from Kavoussi (#8) which, now I've done 
the whole 11-15 mile trudge, I would recommend simply up and back again through the 
most fabulous mountain botany. I have nowhere near done Crete, and will return as soon 
as I can, but there's plenty out there for you too. I will happily offer a few hints if you ask. 


ROSE MURPHY, Shang-ri-la, Reskadinnick, Cambourne, Cornwall, TR14 OBH. 
Phoenix United Mine stands below the Cheesewring on the eastern side of Bodmin 
Moor. Formerly a copper mine, its ruins are now surrounded by poor quality, 
sheep-grazed grassland and an expanse of mine waste. Streams in the area contain 
high levels of copper that impart a characteristic blue colour to any algae growing in 
them. Copper tolerant mosses and liverworts grow nearby. 

Ferns were not expected to be abundant in such a place, and at first sight the most 
frequent is Pteridium aquilinum, pushing its way through brambles and gorse, forming 
widespread stands in invading willow scrub and grassland. Around the ruins, in the 
shelter of the old walls, are extensive growths of Cotoneaster integrifolius. This 
small-leaved cotoneaster, a wide-spread garden escape, provides a home for Athyrium 
filix-femina and Dryopteris affinis morphotype borreri. Within the partly restored engine 
house and around the apparently filled-in mine shaft are huge fronds of D. filix-mas. 
Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens is the other common fern. It grows on every 
ruined mortar wall save one. On this one, and this one alone, A. ruta-muraria grows in 
abundance. The stones here are narrower, the proportion of cement greater and, 
wherever cracks have appeared, the wall rue has been able to send its roots back 
through the surface Portland cement into the old lime mortar. The A. trichomanes, on the 
other hand, seems able to get a purchase only where the Portland cement has broken 
away exposing the underlying mortar with its constituent clinker and fuel ash. 
Portland cement weathers to produce not only calcium carbonate, but also a proportion 
of calcium aluminate and silicate. It is extremely alkaline to begin with (pH 12.5) but, as it 
carbonates, the pH comes down to 8. Lime mortar weathers to calcium carbonate only, 
presumably not so alkaline. Is wall rue more tolerant of high pH, or more tolerant of 
aluminates and silicates? Its spores must settle and germinate on Portland cement 
before root growth exploring the preferred old mortar takes place. I do not know the 
answer, but it will be fascinating to find out. Certainly, at least here, wall rue does not 
compete with the maidenhair spleenwort, and the other fern which might have been 
expected, namely A. ceterach, could not be found, even though it grows on walls at a 
nearby farm. 

Other ferns found here are A. scolopendrium, Polypodium interjectum, P. vulgare and A 
adiantum-nigrum, but not in such great numbers, and only one plant of the black 
spleenwort was seen. The commonest shield fern in Cornwall is Polystichum setiferum. 
Any records for P. aculeatum are to be treated with caution. There are just three 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

authenticated specimens, these dating from the 1860s and 1870s. Two of them £ 
herbarium of the Natural History Museum. All are from the very south-east corn 
county where base-rich rock outcrops occur. Searching through the r 
kind help of Josephine Camus and Alison Paul, I came across 
"look-alikes" - I can think of no better term to describe them. Against this specimen the 
late Anne Sleep had written: "I think this is P. setiferum. At Phoenix mine, quite 
unexpectedly, a member of the BPS, Mary Atkinson, came across genuine P. aculeatum 
growing with lady fern and maidenhair speenwort in hollows at the base of a mortared 
wall. There are only six mature plants and eleven younger ones at various stages of 
development. How did this fern, so rare in Cornwall, get there? Was it formerly more 

Phoenix mine has proved to be a fascinating place, and my final fern note again 
concerns A. trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens: four plants growing on elder, rooted into the 
moss that so abundantly covers the bark. Other shrubs and trees (willow and ash) grow 
amongst the ruins, even another elder, but only this one supports maidenhair spleenwort. 
A block of granite is trapped between two of the branches, but there is no trace of mortar 
around it. Has the fern spread from nearby walls? The bark of elder is rich in nutrients 
and its pH approaches neutral, so it is possible. Epiphytic ferns in Britain have received 
scant attention, so I intend to address this topic in a future article in Pteridologist. I would 
be pleased to hear from any readers who have observations on this topic to add to mine. 


JACK BOUCKLEY, 209 Woodfield Road, Harrogate, N. Yorks. HG1 4JE. 

About half a mile from where I live is a lovely ferny wooded area along the banks of the 

river Nidd and a couple of its tributaries. This beauty spot is called Bilton Gorge, situated 

to the north of Harrogate starting at OS ref. 44 304 583 and going downstream about two 

miles. The Woodland Trust have owned the first mile for a few years, BUT then the lower 

mile came up for sale and all sorts of businesses began to take an interest. They could 

build. They could make pleasure areas, and maybe the odd amusement arcade or two, 

all of which could ruin this almost untouched, natural area. 

For quite a long time the Bilton Conservation Group have worked with the Woodland 

Trust, maintaining footpaths, planting trees and generally keeping an eye o" - 

the gorge. If the remaining part v 

t into the hands of the developers, much c 

The Woodland Trust was as worried as the locals, but how could the asking price < 
£100,000 be raised in just a few months? No-one had this sort of money spare, so 
would have to be raised by and from people who were concerned about the future of th 
gorge. Fortunately the Woodland Trust would be able to buy it if a large sum could b 
raised locally. 

Two members of the Bilton Conservation Group took on the task of fund raisers. The 
arranged sponsored walks, open gardens and a host of other events as wei a 
persuading local businesses and individuals to pledge cash. It seemed ^possible, b. 
when it looked as though the bottom of the barrel had been scratched and tnat tne sui 
required could not be found, a large sum was given to the Trust by a concern who ha 
been amazed by the efforts of the locals. 

The asking price was now available, but that was not the end of it. The vendor no 
wanted 20% more, another £20,000! Where it came from I do not know, but 
that the Woodland Trust eventually settled on £1 17,500 plus legal fees. 

266 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

So, thanks to conservation-minded local people this lovely wooded gorge with all its ferns 
is safe. An interesting point is that the Woodland Trust also bought Hack Fall, a few miles 
away, on a 1 ,000 year lease. This is another ferny place in the Harrogate area, much 
loved by the late DrWA Sledge. 

You may ask why this article appears in Pteridologist. The answer is that some members 
of the local BPS group* were active in the cash-raising effort, aware that conservation 
cannot simply be left to other people. Actions speak louder thi 
members of the British Pteridological Society will keep this type of < 


A scrape from a skimpy scollie 
Two or three years ago, when visiting my daughter 
in hornsea, Humberside (East Yorkshire as was) I 
spotted a few Asplenium scolopendrium growing in 
the mortar of a retaining wall at one side of the road. 
Of course, there is nothing unusual in this. Scollies 
grow well in many places, but these were very 
stunted - or skimpy - and had rooted into the 
south-facing side of the wall without any shade. As I 
looked closer at the plants it became apparent that 
one frond - and only one - was different from all the 
others. It was quite normal except that the top one 
and a quarter inches on one side was beautifully 
scalloped, but not crisped. 

I turned this decrepit little thing over to see if it was 
fertile and there, sure enough, in the scalloped part, 
was one sorus, less than one sixteenth of an inch 
long. I made a spore envelope out of an old receipt 
and, with the aid of my pocket knife, scraped the 
sorus in. 

Back at home, a few days later, I sorted out the 
package contents and sowed the spores. After a 
while three prothalli appeared, and from those I 
managed to get one plant on which four fronds were 
perfectly scalloped on both sides, but only in the top 
half. The frond nearest the crown was normal. 
At the 1 

sori visible, 
eventually I 
selection, I 

' writing (October, 1994) there are 
so I am just living in the hope 

j and, that with careful 

eventually get a plant 

calloped edges 

I have found in th 

varieties do not come true from spore, so it is < 
important to select wisely. For example, from a 
1993 sowing of A. scolopendrium 'spiralis' I have 
just one plant which is showing the correct charac- 
teristics. The remainder 


* Notably the very modest author - ed. 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 


ROBERT G. STOLZE, 912 Pirate Cove Lane, Vero Beach, Flor 


writing of fern articles was well behind 
reckoned, however, without the gentle f. 
of James Merryweather, with whom I share the 
unusual dual interest in Pteridology and Early 
Music. Indeed, it is the latter which indirectly has 
occasioned the present contribution to Pteridolo- 
gist. During James's visit to the Field Museum in 
August of 1993, I coerced him and his bagpipes, 
shawms and the bass curtal which I covet, into 

Bob Stolze with symphonie 

one*", and wondered if I r 
journal a piece describing 
collecting experiences in tt 
happy to oblige with some i 
final field trip: searching for Diplazi 

f them. Among t 

Pursuant to my studies of the genus Diplazium for the Flora of Ecuador, I conducted two 
months of field work in this fascinating country, from mid-January to mid-March, 1992. 
There are few regions on earth where fern speciation is so rich as in Andean South 
America, therefore I was reluctant to complete this part of the Flora without one last 
exhaustive search for the genus I was studying. Before my research had begun 
estimates of its species in Ecuador ranged from 40 to 60. When my trip in 1992 had 
ended, I had visited all but three of the 20 provinces and had searched for Diplazium in 
hundreds of collections made, two species and one variety turned 
ience. Thus, of a total of 300 species of Diplazium in the world, 55 
r in the country of Ecuador (roughly the size of Great Britain). 

is, is found in tropical 
Athyrium and Asplenium - in 
included within it. Its indusia, 
and affixed to the vein. However, in most 
m _ doubled - that is to say, opposed, or back-to-back on the same 
vein. Also, like Asplenium, the fronds of some species bear a proliferous bud I or two near 
their tips which, if making contact with the forest floor, can propagate vegetative^ uniiKe 
Asplenium, the leaves of Diplazium are often much larger and thicker in texture. 
Moreover, some species resemble tree ferns, for their trunk-like rhizomes can be 2 
inches thick, erect, and grow to a height of three feet. Fronds of these are often 
three- to four-pinnate and over 10 feet long. The size of the P lan \ obvlo f ^P^ 
special problems to the collector who is attempting to convert them into ner 
specimens. In order to preserve all the characters necessary for proper < 
these monster leaves must somehow be cut to fit a standard r 

ly a stranger to fern fanciers of 
regions of both hemispheres. It is rather closely 
fact until recently a few species of both had 
like those of Asplenium, are long and 

i sheet. This v 

268 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

where my wife and able assistant, Sue, was so invaluable in the field. While I was 
lopping off the huge leaves, she systematically cut them into manageable portions: 1 ) a 
15-inch piece of the apex; 2) a section of the leaf base, containing a portion of the 
petiole; 3) a center section of the rachis containing one or two pinnae. Back in the 
herbarium, this results in a 3-sheet specimen which contains all the vital diagnostic 
characteristics the experts need for their studies, without trying to preserve the entire 
10-foot frond. Years ago, during research on the tree fern genus Cnemidaria, I wrote 
detailed instructions on the preparation of huge specimens - ferns, palms, etc. - to which 
I refer the interested reader. (Professionals also take note!). 
My labors were lightened immensely by 
several happy circumstances. Dr. Benjamin 
Gllgaard* (Aarhus University in Denmark), 
an old friend and colleague, was finishing a 
3-year term with his family in Quito at this 
time. Benjamin, Co-ordinator for Pterido- 
phyte contributions to the Flora, was also 
directing a Danish program of field work and 
academic studies at the Catholic University 
in Quito and knew the country as well as a 
native. He furnished me with access to the 
excellent University herbarium, work space 
and plant drying facilities, offered full logistic 
support, and acted as driver, guide and 
companion. On the few occasions when 
Benjamin was otherwise occupied, one of 
his undergraduate fern students, Hugo Nav- 
arrete, served as an alternate in all capaci- 
ties. Last, but certainly not least, was Sue's 
collaboration as field and herbarium assist- 
ant. Her efforts greatly shortened the hours 
of separating and bagging ferns in the field, 

of drying and cataloguing specimens back at the University, while further performing in 
the function of field photographer. In all my previous collecting experiences I had never 
been so well served. 

All major expeditions into the field began at Catholic University in the heart of magnificent 
Quito, which is situated on the central spine of the Andes near the Equator. Its lofty perch 
of nearly 10,000 feet quite offsets the effects of the otherwise steamy latitude and thus 
rewards residents with a pleasing climate of eternal Spring. (For visitors, however, the 
reverse side of this coin is a week or two of mild altitude sickness, until the lungs and 
circulation adjust to the thin air). From here we launched our search for ferns along every 
point of the compass. Due east we crossed over the continental divide at 14,000 feet on 
our first shakedown cruise into the countryside. No Diplazium at this altitude near 
"timberline", but on the cold and wet Paramo de Guamani were plenty of hardy Lycopods 
(Benjamin's specialty) as well as some Isoetes and a few hardy Grammitis and 
Asplemum. I think this trip, during our first days in Ecuador, may have been planned to 
test our endurance. If so, we nearly failed the examination, for our hearts, lungs and legs 
were pushed to the limit at this ungodly altitude. Not only were Sue and I 20 years older 
tnan our host, but I had only recently recovered from a bout of flu in Chicago that had me 
on my back for six weeks. Consequently, it was a great relief to me when we pushed on 
through the high pass and proceeded downward into the eastern provinces of Napo and 
Sucumbios, towards Amazonian Brazil. Ferns and other pteridophytes are found in 
tcuador from sea-level to over 14,000 feet, but the range of Diplazium is more limited. 

2, 5 1994 210-211) 

Pteridologist 2, 6 (1995) 269 

100 to 1 1 ,000 feet, with the majority of species occurring between 1500 and 8000 feet, in 
the deep shade of thick, wet forests. At these altitudes, the climate is not too steamy, the 
lungs are happier, and Diplazium sightings the most frequent. 

To the north, journeying through Esmeraldas and Carchi, our search took us near the 
Colombian border, where human population thins out and the vegetation is less 
harassed. Some ferns, including a few species of Diplazium. can always be found in 
disturbed areas, such as along the roadside cuts. But virgin, or only partially disturbed, 
forests quite understandably yield the greatest finds, so we were constantly on the 
lookout for areas less frequented by Homo sapiens. 

For these reasons we planned our most ambitious trips to the south of the country, down 
toward the Peruvian border. Here, in the sparsely settled provinces of Zamora-Chinchipe 
and Morona-Santiago, species diversity was most pronounced. It is not surprising, then, 
that I was most excited during these forays. Shouts of "another Diplazium" rang out 
repeatedly and, in patches of virgin forest, at low to mid-elevation sites, we located the 
two new species, one in each of the provinces. 

In the Pacific lowlands to the west of Quito the population density explodes, but along the 
west-facing, mid-elevation slopes can still be found some good pockets of forest. The 
trick is to locate areas where the topography is strongly broken. Obviously, crops and 
cattle are not very happy clinging to the steepest inclines, so the eyes of the plant 
collector are constantly peeled for sites which are least hospitable to Man. With diligence, 
luck, and persistent questioning by excellent guides, the pteridologist can succeed here 
in the quest for valuable specimens. 

Why is there such rich speciation of ferns 
in Ecuador? The most obvious reason is 
of course the climate. They do not have 
to endure the winters of Britain or temper- 
ate America. If they needn't cringe from 
the snow and cold several months a 
year, they can thrive in continual comfort. 
No matter what habitats are best for 
ferns, they can be found in Ecuador: 
densely forested, steamy lowlands for 
those which prefer it warm, dark and wet; 
broken topography at mid-elevations for 
those which need a little more light; 

slopes for those which need to reacn out 
horizontally for even more sun; misty 
ravines and edges of waterfalls for those 
preferring perpetual mist; moss-covered 
tree branches for the species which are 
happier perching above the ground (epi- 

Needless to say, the favorite haunts of 
many Diplazium species are not readily 
accessible. Patches of wet virgin forest 
do not cluster along the main highways, 
inviting the eager pteridologist to hop out 
nf a car scoop up a half-dozen likely 

270 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

specimens and proceed leisurely to the next site. Principal roadsides throughout tropical 
America have been denuded of good forest long ago, so botanists must search out the 
rutted side roads which afford access to the back country. Our solution to this stumbling 
block was at hand in the person of Benjamin 0llgaard, with the powerful vehicles 
provided by his DAN I DA program at Catholic University. Benjamin's favorite was the big 
Toyota, an army tank masquerading in the guise of an oversized station wagon. Its 
rugged construction afforded superb road clearance while the 4-wheel drive pulled us 
through deep ruts, forded mountain streams, and ploughed through seas of mud which 
reached to the axles. Passenger space comfortably seated four and the cargo space 
carried gear enough to outfit us for weeks of collecting and travelling, if need be. 
Having the services of an M1 Tank to carry us into the back country was but part of the 
solution, for lacking a good driver and guide to navigate the nearly impassable trails, the 
Toyota may as well have rested in the University parking lot. Benjamin is not only one of 
the finest drivers with whom I have travelled, but he can smell out ferns and virgin forest 
like a Retriever. Moreover, his fluent Spanish and engaging personality served 
continually to solicit directions and obtain permission to enter private land in our quest for 
ferns. Consequently, once in a likely area, it didn't take him long to ferret out the quickest 
approaches to collecting sites. 

Benjamin's detective work occasionally brought us to patches of roadside forest so rich 
in species that we were relatively successful in making good collections within a few 
yards of the road. In these situations Sue and I could have been in our nineties, picking 
up specimens from our wheel chairs - it was that easy. Along certain mountain trails it 
was not uncommon to spot a Diplazium from the rolling Toyota, to be popped in our bags 
without further ado. The more common scenario, however, was to hack our way with 
machetes into the dense montane and rain forests, an alternative which was exhausting 
and time-consuming. To overcome these obstacles we generally searched for a narrow 
logging trail, stream, or ravine, which cut down the mountain slopes, permitting much 
easier access through the hellish tangle of vines and thick undergrowth. Many ferns grew 
in luxuriant abundance along stream or ravine banks, or at least could be spotted within 
a few machete hacks of our vantage point. 

Nevertheless, it was often frustrating for a couple of sexagenarians in dubious physical 
condition to keep pace with "Benjamin the Bull" and "Hugo the Mountain Goat" as our 
troupe advanced through the jungle. Benjamin, of the perpetual sunny smile and 
blond-bearded face, with rippling muscles, cord-like legs and broad shoulders, used his 
machete only when he had to. Most frequently, he simply ploughed through the tangle 
like a bull in a china shop, ripping through vines, bowling over saplings and other lower 
vegetation, while each fern in the vicinity cowered in apprehension at his approach. We 
always knew where he was - we could hear him a quarter-mile away. Hugo, with dark 
and sparkling eyes set in a handsome face, was small, lithe, wiry and indefatigable. On 
our first trip together he earned from me the title of cabra del monte, as I watched him 
bounce from rock to rock down the tumbling cascades, scramble up steep slopes as if 
hey were mole hills, and buzz-saw his way through the underbrush, machete flashing 
tirelessly. Pity, then, the two ancient Chicagoans as they attempted gamely to keep up 
with this Dynamic Duo through the backwoods of Ecuador. More's the surprise that they 
not only survived, but came away from each trip with Diplazium bulging from plant 
presses as well. 

We also endured a few other harrowing experiences, which are here briefly related. In 
order to enter certain patches of forest it was often necessary to cross streams too deep 
and swift to wade (to paraphrase a well-known axiom: "Ferns grow greener on the other 
side of the river"). Streams often intersected well-worn country paths, at which spots 
locals had erected bridges of various description Across broad waterways we found 

Pteridologist 2, 6 (1995) 271 

suspension bridges supported by thick ropes, with rough wooden planks serving as a 
floor. Larger streams were crossed by means of logs anchored to pilings in the center of 
the current, usually with a single or double handrail to steady the walker. Smaller streams 
were spanned simply by two or three parallel logs wedged into the mud at either bank. 
Now, in Chicago, all public bridges, elevators (lifts) and the like were provided with 
conspicuous legends which announced the date of the most recent city examination, 
along with appropriate inspection dates. Therefore we happy citizens used these 
structures and conveyances secure in the knowledge that a competent and licensed 
individual has guaranteed our safe journey. This is not exactly the case in the forests of 
Ecuador, where discretion is always the better part of valor. One always should assume 
that the planks and ropes were installed 30 years previously, and that the only time either 
are replaced are when they have broken through. Consequently, we approached each 
crossing with timidity. 

Imagine, if you will, a raging torrent 100 feet wide, over which a suspension bridge has 
been thrown, and you have to cross it with camera, machete, water jug and collecting 
bags filled with ferns. The stanchions are perhaps eight feet tall at each bank, allowing for 
just enough sag at the center of the bridge to prevent the floor from dragging ii 
current. There are no step ladders to get you to the bridge ' ' 
of bamboo trunk about seven inches in diameter, wi 
internodes to serve as footholds, which you scale with so 
held in one hand, or otherwise slung over the shoulder, you grab a suspension rope v 

the other and begin shuffling along the bridge floor, bearing n 

j that the wooden slats 

laid the year you graduated from primary school. Cleverly, you plant 
each foot where a latitudinal slat intersects with a longitudinal runner, hoping that if one 
board breaks, the other may hold until you have successfully planted the other foot. 
Meanwhile, the bridge bounces and sways with your weight as you progress down the 
slope towards the center of the river. Upon reaching this point (especially if you weigh 15 
stone as I do) the bridge floor has bent uncomfortably near the rushing water, prompting 
you to move faster, even at the risk of ignoring where you place your next step. 
One day, our whole company 
having safely crossed and re- 
crossed the Rio Dashiho, I was 
sorely tempted to affix a placard 
to a bridge stanchion, in Spanish: 
"Bob Stolze (210 lbs.) safely 
crossed here with a bag of ferns, 
15 Feb. 1992". Perhaps some 
little old lady, some months later, 
would take comfort in the knowl- 
edge that if the big American had 
tested it out, she and her little bag 
of firewood might make it to the 

other side. However, I had neither Sue & Bob with r 

placard nor nail at my disposable. 

Furthermore, my being so hot and , .. 

tired at that juncture quite overrode my Samaritan intentions, but I suppose to mis aay me 
bridge still sways in place. 

Unfortunately, there was one bridge not left in place after our crossing, much to £ jue's 
chagrin. The Stolzes, with Hugo as guide, were following a footpath in western j P™"™? 
Province some miles north of the village of Puerto Quito. Between us and l.te* patch 
of forest was a small stream, over which three 8-inch logs had been placed by the locals. 

272 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

First to test the "bridge" and cross it was the redoubtable Hugo, who cautioned us to 
shuffle over it sideways, so as to distribute the weight on two of the logs, not just one. 
The second to execute safe passage was the heavy member of the party, and now it 
was assumed perfectly safe for Sue. However, this lady developed a balance problem 
and shortly into her crossing began to sway precariously on the bridge, whereupon she 
cried out, "I just can't do it this way" and proceeded gingerly to walk the logs in a more 
normal manner. All went well until she neared the bank, when, with a crack and a squeal, 
lady and log were deposited unceremoniously into the water. Luckily, the water was 
about 5 feet deep, with no bone-breaking boulders in its bed, and Sue is an excellent 
swimmer so the only things lost were her pride and dignity and her cap which floated 
merrily downstream. To add insult to injury, on the return trip Hugo found another route 
back to our vehicle which circumvented the stream. Had we known this at the outset the 
incident could have been avoided (but then Sue would not have the fascinating tale to 

There were more river crossings I could describe, such as being ferried one at a time 
across a large and distressingly turbulent river in a dugout canoe captained by a 14-year 
old boy; and other escapades involving hazardous drives along roads that swam in mud 
or skirted the edge of a precipice; and of truly Spartan accommodations in remote 
villages. Suffice it to say that some botanising in the Andes requires a stiff upper lip 
and/or a devil-may-care attitude; but it gets the job done and puts valuable specimens in 
our herbaria. Moreover, the collecting opportunities are superb in the Andes, and there is 
a need to gather its scientific wealth while the plants still exist. Interestingly enough, the 
job can be shared by well-informed and dedicated amateurs, as well as professionals. I 
know a retired couple who have made excellent collections in areas as disjunct as West 
Africa and Ecuador, which are now deposited in the herbaria of The Field Museum and 
the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Perhaps they did not break log bridges or cross rivers in 
dugout canoes, but their contributions have added greatly to taxonomic botany. 
In Ecuador, there still remain areas which are relatively approachable and rich in ferns. 
Given the rapid destruction of good habitats (now rampant everywhere in the world) and 
the latent volatility of political conditions in South America, how long the conditions will 
last is of course open to question. But 
at the present writing, this small country 
is ideal for the study and collection of 
pteridophytes. It has remained politically 
stable for several decades, the destruc- 
tion of forests here has not been quite 
as rapid as in other neotropical coun- 
tries, and the travel and living is rela- 
tively unexpensive. The people are 
friendly (except in certain depressed 
urban areas) and, with the exercise 
precautions, it is one of the safest countries in all of 
South America. With proper planning and a knowledge- 
able guide one can still unearth much pteridological 
wealth, given the proper dedication and desire. 

Stolze & Pacheco: Diplazium in Polypodiaceae-Dryop- 
tendoideae-Pysematieae, Flora of Ecuador, in I 
Andersson (eds.) 49: 4:88. 1994. 
Stolze. Inadequacies in herbarium specimens of large 
ferns, Amer. Fern J. 63: 25-27. 1973. 


Last year's Pteridologist featured two British 
growers but there has been no further response 
from this country - maybe next year please? 


SUE and HARRY OLSEN, Foliage 
Gardens, 2003 128th Ave. S.E., 
Bellevue, WA 98005 USA 
When your editor requested biogra- 
phies of nurseries I smiled, thinking 
of how often these things happen 
more by accident than by design. In 
the mid 60's I was completely smit- 
ten by a planting of Dryopteris eryth- 
rosora in the Seattle garden of the 
late Carl English who was then 
curator of plants at the Ballard Locks 
gardens. I could not find Dryopteris 
erythrosora anywhere so I chose to 
try to grow my own. I had been 
propagating rhododendrons for many 
years but this was the first attempt at 
ferns from spores. I knew nothing 

with a fluorescent light and a small 
basement table, I suddenly found 
myself with 300 baby D. eryth- 
rosoraUWU And - that was it for the 
rhododendrons! (Actually they be- 
came companion plants!) Member- 
ship in the American Fern Society 
followed shortly thereafter (BPS 
membership would come.. .it was just 

a matter of time) and one fern led to . ,. AP c 

another. The late Neill Hall who was then Curator of the Spore Exchange for the AFb 
was most enthusiastic with his encouragement and it wasn't long before I ^s F»art oj a 
small but active fern study group in the Seattle area. (Several members of t 
years later became the nucleus of the group which founded 1 
At first the surplus ferns were given to assorted local charitable P 130 ^ 3 '®^ 
became obvious that the time had come to establish a business ?" 
Foliage Gardens. As John Mickel notes in Fern Horticulture: Past. 
Perspectives (page 260): 

the selection of available fern species was limii 
a few English crested fern 

Harry and Sue Olsen at day's end, University o 
Washington Arboretum plant sale, Seattle. 
(Does it always rain on American Ptendologists?} 

j The Hardy Fern Foundation). 

f and Future 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

Dryopteris erythrosora. A major impetus 
vo nurseries in the Seattle 
vith her mail-order nursery 

came with an invitation to lecture at the 1972 annual meeting of The American 
Horticultural Society and with Reg's help I had a good idea of what would be hardy, 
ornamental and practical in the fern garden. As Foliage Gardens was expanding 
exponentially by then this was also helpful for developing the mail order aspect of the 
nursery (I would say "division" but this was a one person operation). 
About this time the Northwest Horticultural Society decided to promote the use of ferns 
via an annual plant sale which I chaired and continue to chair today. That has 
subsequently expanded to a Fern Festival with displays, speakers and garden tours. Our 
speakers have included BPS members Chris Page, Reg Kaye, Barbara Hoshizaki, John 
Mickel, and Carl Taylor among others. I have also been very active with The Hardy Fern 
Foundation which was founded in 1989 to test ferns throughout the United States for 
hardiness and ornamental value and to promote and distribute them for public and 
private gardens. 

In 1990 the nursery took on a new dimension when my husband Harry retired from his 
position at the Boeing Company (and started working for me at a nickle an hour). He had 
enjoyed a love for Japanese maple cultivars for many years without the time to indulge 
his enthusiasm. Once he became involved with building a collection and propagating, it 
wasn't long before we wondered how he ever had time to go to an office! So in 1992 
Foliage Gardens added maples to our offerings.. .now customers can buy shade along 
with their ferns. All this is taking place on an almost one half acre lot which the nursery 
shares with our house and garden. We are crowded! 

We have been on many marvelous trips some of which were specifically programmed 
around ferns i.e. China, Oaxaca, and the outstanding BPS Centenary- We've been 
introduced not only to exotic ferns (many of which are now in the nursery catalog), but to 
some wonderful people. Over the years Foliage Gardens has introduced well over 100 
types of ferns from all over the world to North American gardens and produced a video: 
Foliage Gardens Presents a Short Course on Ferns. All of this is the result of that original 
quest for plants of Dryopteris erythrosora. It has been very rewarding and we look 
forward to many more years in the delightful world of plants and plant people. 


Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 275 


MARTIN RICKARD, Kyre Park, Tenbury Wells, Worcs., WR15 8RP 
Just before 9am on Friday, 2nd September 1994, my wife and I arrived at Alphen an der 
Rijn in central Holland. We were outside the nurseries of Hans Lemkes, soon to be 
joined by Helmuth Schmick (from Glinde in Germany), Jan Greep (secretary of the 
Nederlandese Varenvereniging) and Pieter Hovenkamp (of Leiden University, our 
interpreter). After a very welcome cup of tea in the nursery foyer our group was shown 
through greenhouse after greenhouse of small ferns in plugs. Lemkes seems to be the 
largest producer of ferns in the world, with about 120 different hardy taxa available. 
Conditions for fern production have been optimised so that from sowing to saleable plug 
only takes 6 months or so and, since the principal season for hardy fern sales in this 
form is spring, the season is geared for sowing in September for sale in May/June. At the 
time of our visit the nursery 
season was directed towards an 

3 crop - about bu differ- 
ent kinds of tender fern. Most 
noticeable were the various 
forms of Nephrolepis, Adiantum, 
Pellaea and Pteris, but I was 
also pleased to see Asplenium 
nidus, Blechnum gibbum, Daval- 
lia fijensis, Humata tyermanii and 
Platycerium alcicorne. 
My interest is primarily hardy 
ferns, but I was not disappointed 
as the nursery does hold a good 
collection of "mother plants" for 
spore production. These were 
inspected closely with much dis- 

This collection covered a greater range tl 
difficulties of mass producing certain tax 
Polypodium vulgare agg. 'Cornubiense' were pleasant surprises here. 
All too soon w fi had to move on. Our next visit was near Aalsmeer at the nursery of Wim 
t made us most welcome, showing 
: Lemkes, the plants in 

us acres of fern prothalli all looking remarkably healthy. As at Lemkes^ tn 
production at the time were all tender species, but there were a few hardy It..- 
corner. Unfortunately the hardy fern mother plants were not kept at the nursery out 
stock plants of the tender species were on site. They made a truly magnificent sight 
greatly enhanced by numerous plants of a tree-fern, probably CyatheacoopeaS^f 
Wim only grows tree ferns for pleasure and does not envisage mass P roduct,on J*™ er 
fern production here is probably similar to the Lemkes output, but Braam s • P r ° du <* a 
more restricted range of hardy ferns - some 40 of the more popular taxa i at the moment. 
However, the full colour nursery catalogue produced by Wim Braam is tne Des 
seen, and of more use than some published books! 

After such a fascinating morning, it was a real pleasure to mull °^l° ur ^^ ™* 
a late lunch in excellent company at a nearby restaurant overlooked a huge 
freshwater lake. 

There was no time to .inger. After lunch we rushed off to the ^*^£^ 
near the famous auction rooms at Aalsmeer. Production here was mamly aimed at tender 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

ne of the problems of mass fern 
to wilt, but a refreshing cup of tea 
;ue. While we were relaxing, the 
'phone rang. It was Bert Hennip- 
man suggesting we drive over to 
yet another nursery and meet 

We shot off, passing through 
some very attractive residential 
areas where, incredibly, virtually 
every garden included some 
ferns, usually Matteuccia struthi- 
opteris. Our target was Wim 
Tasse's nursery where, in col- 
Tern Select", he 

hardy ferns under trial for poten- 

Fig. 2 - Nederlandse Varenvereniging plant ex- most notably Dryopteris lepi- 
change. [Helmut Schmick: third from left - Johan dopoda. We were shown around 
Eek: sixth from left - Jan Greep: far right, back- by Bert and WimTasse, but time 
ground]. was against us and we only saw 

a fraction of the whole nursery. 
We had to rush off for our overnight stop with Bert at Bilthoven. I was not surprised, but 
very pleased to see a wonderful fern collection in his garden. A delicious dinner and a 
pleasant evening with Bert's family set us up for another big day. 

We had to be in Leiden for the anniversary meeting organised by the Nederlandse 
Varenvereniging. At 10am the meeting started with a chat over coffee. With most of the 
nurserymen we had met the 
previous day present it was lik 



10.30 we settled down for i 
ductory comments by the Varen- 
vereniging president, Johan Eek, 
before Helmuth Schmick gave 
the first paper - "Ferns and their 
application". Although given in 
German, and translated on the 
spot into Dutch by Pieter Hov- 
enkamp, neither my wife nor I 
understood much of the spoken 
word. But ferns is an interna- 
tional language and, because 
Helmuth's talk was illustrated by 

many excellent slides taken in Fig. 3 - Hazel Rickard and I 
his garden, we still enjoyed it ing the hardy fern collection of 1594: Dryopteris 
immensely, filix-mas, Polypodium vulgare, Cystopteris fragilis 

Next on the agenda was the and As P lenium * 
opening of the fern exhibition in 

the orangery of the Leiden Botanical Gardens. To accompany this e _.. 

oook, Varen, Varen, Varen (Ferns, Ferns, Ferns) was launched. I believe this is the first 

t 2, 6 (1! 


book on ferns produced in Holland in recent times. After several short speeches we had 
time to enjoy the exhibits before strolling back through the gardens to admire the recently 
planted hardy fern borders. Ferns were donated from many sources, but notably by Wim 
Braam and Harry Roskam, who will be known to many BPS members from his 
attendance at our 1991 centenary celebrations. This collection has to be one of the best 
I've seen in any public garden. The sheer quantity of ferns was almost overwhelming 
(Fig. 1). Common cultivars and species were represented by drifts of many plants, but 
some rare taxa were also on view, most notably several good Polypodium cultivars and 
an odd Gymnocarpium. It was found in the wild in France by Harry, and could be a 
hybrid between G. dyopteris and G. robertianum. 

Over a buffet lunch, provided in the Botanic Garden, there was a chance to buy the book 
Varen, Varen, Varen and a pair of beautiful colour posters, one showing a typical fern life 
cycle using Polypodium vulgare as an example and the other illustrating the various 
technical terms used by pteridologists. At this stage there was also a plant exchange 
where members bring along 
spare plants and everyone just 
seems to help themselves. Sev- 
had obviously 
brought plants along but one, 
the president Johan Eek, had 

s given by 

Ronnie Viane on "Interesting ... . _ n _ 

ferns from Poros". Unfortunately Ronnie gave this in Dutch, and since hed given a 
similar talk during the BPS excursion to Central France in 1993, Hazel and I deeded to 
tour the torn collections instead. Here we were very lucky, as »W*^****£ 
miss Ronnie's talk to give us a guided tour of the gardens (Fig 3). This ntfuoea i a io « . 
behind the scenes at fern propagation and the reconstruction of Clus.uss ong.nal 
garden, including six ferns cultivated here at the end of the 16th century (Fig. 4). 
Following tea there was a discussion (in Dutch) on where the Dutch fern society wrtlgo 
from here. Finally it was back to the orangery for wine and cheese 

To have been a guest of the Nederlandse Varenvereniging for * e ^ ^Jf^^^ 
wonderful experience. Although the schedule was complex, everything went smoothly. 
The programme was varied and very interesting f The ^ soaetv. ^ ^^JJ 
particular, are to be congratulated on a very successful meeting , which n*as P^ 
we., organised. . thoroughly recommend the ^^S^^^^^ ^ 
travelling through Holland. Who knows, you might even be lucKy enuuy 
Roskam there. 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 




A summer meeting of the Society was organised under this title by Stuart 
Lindsay, Adrian Dyer, Heather McHaffie and Chris Page. It was based at the 
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and lasted four days from Thursday 
July 28 to Sunday July 31, 1994. The first two days consisted of lectures, guided 
tours and demonstrations at RBGE and the second two days were occupied by a 
field trip with an overnight stop near Aviemore. An outline account by Margaret 
Nimmo-Smithof the programme at the Botanic Gardens and a record of the field 
trip written by Peter Edwards was published in the Bulletin, Vol. 4 (No. 5) pages 
200-208. Here we are presenting edited highlights of each paper given at RBGE. 
Adrian Dyer and Stuart Lindsay 


Dr. David Mann, Deputy Director, RBGE. 

Welcome to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and its 70 acres of garden and 
glasshouse. As an algologist, my links with pteridology have been limited. The two main 
ones are an undergraduate Honours project on the pteridophyte flora of part of the 
Brecon Beacons, and, perhaps as a consequence of the experience gained during that 
project, my discovery about ten years ago of a new site for Woodsia ilvensis in the 
Cairngorms while leading a student field trip. This discovery demonstrates that it is still 
possible to find new localities for one of the most sought after and rare British ferns. The 
take-home message from this must be that even though the British fern flora is one of the 
best known in the world, there is much still to be done to fully document what grows 
where, let alone to learn the factors that determine that distribution. How is this work to be 

With the Director, Professor David Ingram, I have to decide how our funds are to be spent 
on research at the RBGE. These funds are declining and, increasingly, their use is 
restricted by attached conditions. It is therefore essential that we have good information 
on scientific needs and priorities so that decisions can be made wisely and not arbitrarily. 
This points to a role for societies like the BPS (British Phycological Society as well as 
British Ptendological Society!). They must be pressure groups and sources of information 
for their subject areas, providing informed opinion to botanical institutes and to the 
paymasters of research and conservation activity. These paymasters are civil servants 
but behind them are politicians and behind them are the public. We need to convince all 
of them that there is worthwhile, relevant, achievable work to be done and then we must 
make sure that we are equipped to do the work well and deliver the results in the form 
required. The BPS must try to co-ordinate this activity and seek every opportunity to get 
the right message across to those who form opinion and make decisions at local, national 
and international levels. This meeting is one such opportunity, a forum for exchange of 
information, discussion of new initiatives and promotion of co-operation and integration. 


Dr. Chris Page, RBGE. 

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has played a central role in the history of 
pteridology in Scotland. Scotland has a relatively rich fern flora and Edinburgh provides a 
good centre with access to a variety of fern-rich habitats. This was first appreciated during 
me Victorian "fern craze" of the 1850's onwards when the newly built railways provided 

Pteridologist 2, 6 (1995) 279 

many more people with the opportunity to travel to and within Scotland on fern 
excursions. At that time, pteridologists did not merely survey the flora but also collected it. 
As a consequence, the RBGE has an excellent herbarium collection but unfortunately 
many of the more local populations, like the Woodsia ilvensis colonies in the Moffat Hills, 
were largely eliminated. The interest also resulted in the propagation and cultivation of 
hardy and tropical fern species from all over the world for public display at the RBGE and 
other Botanic Gardens. An impressive example of a "fernery", the Kibble Place, survives 
at Glasgow Botanic Garden. For some pteridologists, the fern craze involved a passionate 
interest in unusual variants found in the wild and then propagated and further selected as 
horticultural varieties. A surprising amount of spectacular variation was found in a very 
short time and many gardens, including the RBGE, maintained a collection of these 
varieties but most have since been lost. 

In parallel with the interest in fern growing, there developed a curiosity about the scientific 
aspects of pteridology. This grew, as did the RBGE itself, out of the interest in the 
medicinal use of plants. In the late 1700's, John Lindsay was a medical student studying 
under Dr. John Hope, Professor of Botany and Materia Medica in the University of 
Edinburgh, King's Botanist in Scotland and Superintendent of the Royal Garden. Lindsay 
subsequently sailed as a ship's surgeon to Jamaica where he then lived for some years. 
There he noticed that young fern plants appeared wherever earth had been exposed and 
then left shaded and untouched for a few months. He investigated the cause of this by 
observation and experiment. Under the microscope, he observed and recorded the 
germination of the spores to form "bilobate liverwort-like scales", (the first description of 
prothalli), and later "a small membranous leaf". He sent his account to Hope for 
presentation to the Royal Society of Edinburgh but Hope's death intervened. In 1789, Sir 
Joseph Banks wrote from Kew to ask Lindsay to send live ferns from Jamaica. Lindsay 
replied that he did not think that plants would survive the journey but that he could send 
"seeds" (spores) and sent a copy of his notes on development from spores. These then 
appeared exactly 200 years ago in the Transactions of the Linnean Society for 1794 (Vol. 
2, 93-100) as the first published description of stages of the fern life cycle. 
Scientific pteridology, starting as a study of the life cycle in cultivation, can thus be said to 
have emanated from the University and Garden at Edinburgh. Not only does the tradition 
of growing ferns from spores from all over the world continue at Edinburgh, as at Kew and 
elsewhere, but so also does the link between the Royal Botanic Garden and the 
University. My work on the sporophyte generation, since I was appointed as the first 
pteridologist at the Garden in 1970, complements the research on gametophytes of 
Adrian Dyer, who joined the University Botany Department in 1960. Our combined 
interests in the two phases of the life cycle led in 1983 to the First International 
Symposium on Pteridology (The Biology of Pteridophytetf, held at the RBGE, the 
University and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. This co-operation has continued until the 
present, and over this period the link between the name Lindsay and Scottish pteridology 
was revived when Stuart Lindsay, also a graduate of Edinburgh University, joined us to 
carry out research on the ecology of the life cycle of rare native ferns. 


Dr. Chris Page, RBGE 

The RBGE is now the main focus of pteridology in Scotland and has several 
collaborative projects with conservationists, ecologists and palaeobotanists from other 
organisations In addition to the continuing fundamental activities of a botanic garden, 
such as critical taxonomic authentication, maintenance of living and herbarium 
collections, and provision of expert advice on distribution and ecology, there are currently 
four areas of more specialised activity which are likely to remain important in the future 
as environmental * 

280 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

1 Studies of indigenous Scottish pteridophytes. 

The British fern flora with about 100 taxa is depauperate (compared with Japan, which is 
similar in area, latitude and isolation but has about 2000 species) as a result largely of 
the effects of Pleistocene glaciation. However, there are compensations. The British 
pteridophyte flora is actively re-creating diversity to fill the empty "evolutionary canvas" of 
the wide range of habitats to be found, especially in Scotland. The high hybrid:species 
ratio in several genera is a reflection of this activity. Hybridisation is an important step in 
pteridophyte speciation and the relatively small flora of Scotland provides an opportunity 
to study more easily the formation and ecology of hybrids, and thus learn about the 
evolutionary process. The Scottish climate is relatively severe but this has the advantage 
of producing a wide range of habitats from alpine to atlantic maritime. Studies are 
continuing on Equisetum hybrids, Diphasiastrum alpinum and its putative hybrids, the 
Cystopteris fragilis/dickieana complex, and the neglected and taxonomically unclear 
alpine Athyrium species, amongst others. 

2 Studies of pteridophytes from within or outside Scotland for which Edinburgh 
provides the necessary expertise. 

Bracken: Recent research has revealed bracken in Britain to be more diverse than 
previously appreciated. The specific and infra-specific taxonomy and evolution of British 
bracken, including the distinctive northern bracken of native pine forest, is being 
re-assessed in the context of bracken world-wide. 

Equisetum: Taking advantage of the fact that Britain has more Equisetum species than 
anywhere else, the genus is being studied from a world and fossil perspective using 
Scanning Electron Microscopy to reveal new micro-morphologicalcharacters. 
Selaginella: Initial observations on megaspore dispersal in Selaginella selaginoides 
reveal a new mechanism that requires further examination. All four spores in each 
megasporangium are propelled several feet, two by compression followed by two ejected 
by a slingshot action. As this species is of the "primitive" group with isomorphic leaves, 
this mechanism might be traceable back to a Carboniferous origin. It does not occur in 
more recent species with heterophyllous leaves; these eject the microspores rather than 

Such knowledge of the bio-ecology of living pteridophyte species can thus help to make 
inferences about the environment of fossil species, especially in Tertiary times when 
ferns were widespread. 

3 Provision of an information source on Scottish pteridophyte conservation. 
RBGE is increasingly active as an information resource for specific pteridophyte 
conservation issues within Scotland. Expert advice is available on several aspects 
including the great changes in pteridophyte diversity which have resulted from changes 
in land use by both agriculture and forestry. One fern, bracken, has itself destroyed 
habitats for many other native species of plants and animals as its spread was promoted 
by over-grazing and excessive burning. 

Two approaches which have been particularly developed in Edinburgh in recent years 
are likely to attain wide significance. The first concerns the appreciation of the value of 
certain fern species as environmental indicators. For example, in Britain, the occurrence 
of Phyllitis scolopendrium in an otherwise acidic area is likely to be due to the presence 
of old mortar, and Phegopteris connectilis and Gymnocarpium dryopteris are important 
as indicators of ancient woodland. Hymenophyllum and Ophioglossum are associated 
with long-undisturbed habitats, while Osmunda regalis reveals the absence of grazing. 
More recently, it has been shown that natural soil spore banks occur for many species, 
and these have considerable conservation potential. 

4 International pteridophyte conservation 

RBGE is expanding its role in the conservation of overseas ferns, targeting in particular 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 281 

endangered temperate floras and oceanic islands of high natural endemism. The newly 
established Edinburgh Spore Bank provides low-temperature storage conditions to 
increase the longevity of spores and provide a "gene-bank" of rare species from an 
increasing list of sources. In conjunction with the Spore Bank, ex situ cultivated 
populations of several rare temperate species are maintained as conservation collections 
in the gardens at Edinburgh, Dawyck, Benmore, Logan and in west Cornwall. In addition, 
the Mauritian Rare Ferns project, funded by the Darwin Initiative, aims to train Mauritians 
in fern propagation and conservation techniques in order to ensure the survival of 


Mr. Phil Lusby, Rare Plants Project, RBGE. 

Long term conservation of rare plants depends on a multi-angled approa 
taxonomy, population monitoring, 

Conservation relies ultimately on the interest and support of the public, including 
landowners and land users. The attention that ferns received during the Victorian 
"Pteridomania" had negative as well as positive consequences. The positive 
consequences included a greater understanding of propagation methods, recognition of 
valuable taxonomic characters, awareness of hybridisation, and an increased 
appreciation of fern beauty and diversity. Negative consequences included frenzied 
collection of rare species and unusual variants. Now there is a more enlightened 
attitude to collecting but there is a need once more to draw attention to the diversity of 
British pteridophytes. National Botanic Gardens can provide living reference collections 
which can do much to encourage appreciation and assist identification. Increased 
understanding of most species is accompanied by a greater concern for their 
well-being. Collections of British species are being established at the RBGE and its 
specialist gardens at Benmore and Dawyck and also in Cornwall. The Scottish Rare 
Plant Trail at RBGE includes most of our Scottish threatened species. 
Major roles of taxonomy in conservation are to draw attention to recent discoveries and 
to recognise rare taxa. However, differences of opinion about taxonomic rank can 
cause problems because legal protection under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and 
Countryside Act (1981) has not been provided for a rare subspecies or variety if a 
commoner subspecies or variety also occurs in Britain or if taxonomic debate persists, 
as for Athyrium distentifolium var. flexile/ A. flexile. Thus there may be a temptation to 
elevate threatened rarities to species level to increase protection. Where there is 
debate about the taxonomic status of a rarity, a consensus by taxonomists regarding its 
biological importance would help those conservationists faced with the difficult task of 
selecting plants for legal protection. The assignment of a taxon to an infra-specific rank 
reflects a close relationship to other taxa, and is not an admission of lesser biological 

j shall provide the information required, the aim musi De cieai 
from the outset. Monitoring ranges from checking that the species still exists at a site to 
a demographic study involving ecological research into recruitment, growth, reproduc- 
tion and death of individuals. The more detailed and expensive studies give early 
warning of subtle changes in age structure. Less detailec 
example, mapping plants on location photographs 
permanent quadrats or plots, is useful in detecting n 

282 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

is frequently necessary. Cultivation of plants provides horticultural information which will 
benefit attempts at reintroduction while spore storage provides a convenient way of 
preserving a wide range of genotypes. An ex situ low-temperature spore bank for British 
and world rarities has recently been set up at RBGE but more research is required into 
the effects of storage conditions on spore longevity. Regeneration by controlled 
disturbance of natural soil spore banks in situ offers a potential alternative to 
labour-intensive translocation of ex s/fi/-raised plants at sites where rare species have 
been destroyed. 

Discussion. For conservation legislation to work, the public and particularly the law 
makers must be convinced of the credibility of the professional judgement in selecting and 
defining the plants to be included. To avoid the complications created by limiting 
protection to species, we need to be able to identify rarities regardless of rank and get 
them scheduled. These rarities will include subspecies and varieties and even hybrids, 
some of which will be incipient species, the building blocks of future evolution. Indeed, in 
terms of conservation, it may be wiser to abandon ranking of taxa within a species as 
there have been persuasive arguments that taxonomic varieties are more likely to be 
incipient species than are subspecies. Infra-specific taxa, whatever their present rank, 
should be considered for protection even when the species is common outside Britain, 
provided that the British form is genetically distinct, as they frequently will be because our 
geographic position results in a flora which includes several geographical elements at 
their climatic margins. In Pennsylvania, USA, recommendations on conservation 
regardless of taxonomic status are made on the basis of a collective judgement by a 
committee of professional botanists. Anyone can petition this committee for protection for 
a rarity and the committee's decision is then embraced by the legislation. Where there is 
uncertainty about the taxonomy, habitat or abundance, plants can be included for 5 years 
under an informally recognised "tentatively undetermined" category pending further 
research. In Britain, the Wildlife and Countryside Act is under review and attention will be 
given to the question of extending coverage to subspecies. However, if protection is to be 
effective, it must be possible to prove that the subspecies can be identified from all others 
and so only plants which are sufficiently distinct should be scheduled. 


Dr. Stuart Lindsay, RBGE and University of Edinburgh. 

About 10% of the world's 13,000 fern species are threatened with extinction. Wherever 
possible, conservation should be attempted in situ but frequently ex situ procedures are 
necessary as alternative or additional measures. Ferns can be brought into ex situ 
conservation as sporophytes, gametophytes, fresh spores or as soil spore banks 
(reservoirs of live spores buried in the soil). Sporophytes are easy to identify, long-lived in 
cultivation, and useful for education and display while providing a spore source, but are 
bulky and vulnerable in transport, expensive to maintain in cultivation and their removal 
depletes the population. Most gametophytes are difficult to find and identify and are short 
lived in cultivation, although the perennial gametophytes of the filmy ferns are more easily 
found and grown than are the sporophytes. Fresh spores have the advantages of being 
available in large numbers and easily transported, stored and grown, and for this reason a 
fern spore gene bank has now been set up at RBGE. However, the spores of many 
species, especially temperate ones, are only collectable during a short season, and the 
so-called "green spores", such as those of Osmunda regalis, are short-lived under 
conventional storage conditions. Because of the limitations of these sources of material, 
soil spore banks have some advantages. 

Soil spore banks of ferns are widespread geographically, ecologically and taxonomically 
(including more than half the British flora). They invariably contain two or more species, 

2,6(1995) 283 

frequently including species not present in the immediate vicinity of the sample site, and 
are found to depths of more than 1 m. Most spore banks are known to be "persistent", i.e. 
last for more than one year. The maximum longevity is unknown but is suspected to be 
several decades. Dry spores of certain desert species have survived for over 50 years on 
herbarium sheets, refrigerated spores live longer than those at room temperature (viability 
after 10 or 20 years is common), and we have discovered that spores stored wet maintain 
their viability much longer than those stored dry, even at room temperature. This is even 
true, at least over a more restricted time scale, of green-spored species. 
These properties of persistent soil spore banks indicate potential advantages as a source 
of ex situ collections. Sampling can be undertaken at any time of year, storage and 
culture to obtain plants or a spore source is relatively easy (although it should not be 
assumed that the native soil that supported the parent sporophytes is necessarily the 
optimum medium for raising the gametophytes), there is no disturbance close to the wild 
plants and it uniquely creates the possibility of retrieving genotypes lost from a dwindling 
population, or even retrieving a lost population after a recent natural or man-made 
catastrophe. Theoretically, it provides a means of resurrecting a species that has recently 
become extinct. It also opens up new possibilities of in situ conservation. Controlled 
disturbance at the site might create the micro-habitats required to stimulate "spontaneous" 
regeneration from the native soil spore bank. 

Application of this approach to British rarities depends on the existence of soil spore 
banks in these species. Recently we have tested eight species: Asplenium septentrion- 
ale, Cystopteris dickieana, Dryoptehs cristata, Gymnocarpium robertianum, Osmunda 
regalis, Thelypteris palustris, Woodsia alpha and W. ilvensis. Soil samples from selected 
wild populations of each were brought back to the laboratory, sealed inside petri dishes 
over a layer of sand, and cultured. When gametophytes produced sporelings, they were 
transferred to pots and grown on until they were mature enough to identify. (In order to 
allow more rapid identification, a reference collection of British species is being grown to 
provide information for the eventual construction of an identification \ 
sporelings of British ferns). The rarities were then selected and 
conservation c 

Soil spore banks have so far been confirmed for at least one site for seven of the species 
examined. These species are: Asplenium septentrionale (large spore bank, three Scottish 
sites); Cystopteris dickieana (no spore bank of any species detected at the type locality, 
perhaps due to high salt content, but similar material abundant in spore bank with other 
species at nearby site); Dryopteris cristata (recently extinct in Scotland but obtained from 
spore banks from East Anglia); Gymnocarpium robertianum (large spore bank found at 
the only, very small, Scottish locality and from two large populations near the Lake 
District); Osmunda regalis (a small spore bank detected even after two years in samples 
from East Anglia even though spores are green and reputedly short-lived); Thelypteris 
palustris (large spore bank in several samples from East Anglia); Woodsia alpma (plants 
obtained in considerable numbers from soil samples from two Scottish populations and 
these plants in turn yielded abundant spores in under a year). For one species, Woodsia 
ilvensis, we have not yet been able to confirm the presence of a persistent spore bank at 
any of the three sites (2 in Scotland and 1 in England) sampled. Gametophytes appear in 
culture but are difficult to raise to sporelings on their native soil and none have yet been 
firmly identified as W ilvensis. We plan to use isozyme "finger-printing"to test for Woodsia 
among the gametophytes and to investigate the effects of environmental cond.t.ons on 
sporeling establishment from spores. 
One of our further aims is to ext< 
threatened. Our first attempt at t 
endemics, Adiantum reniforme and Asplenium hemionitis, 

Tenerife. We are still 

awaiting results for the latter, but success with the former indicates that a similarapproach 
should be employed with its critically endangered close relative Adiantum asarifolium, one 
of the target species in the Mauritius Rare Ferns Project recently established with Darwin 
Initiative funding at RBGE. 

Despite the potential longevity of fern spores, spores from < 
unlikely to be a reliable source of plants from long extinct populations of rare species 
because of storage conditions, chemical treatment of herbarium specimens and 
contamination by spores from other sheets. 


Heather McHaffie, University of Edinburgh. 

About 14,000 years ago the ice, which at times during the previous Ice Age had covered 
even the mountain tops of Scotland, began to retreat as the temperature rose. This 
created large areas of base-rich moraine, available for colonisation by plants. Some idea 
of the flora of the period can be obtained by identifying the fossil pollen and spores 
deposited at that time and now retrieved from the bottom of peat bogs or old lakes. A 
similar picture is obtained by recording the present flora of similar habitats in, for example, 
Iceland. The pteridophytes present in this open, tree-less, landscape included Botrychium 
lunaria, Ophioglossum vulgatum, Cystopteris fragilis and Selaginella selaginoides. Where 
the ground-water was rich in silica, Equisetum species, such as E. variegatum, would 
have flourished. A brief colder phase between 11,000 and 10,000 years ago resulted in 
development of tundra in which species now recorded as arctic-alpines, including 
Woodsia ilvensis and Diphasiastrum alpinum, would have been widespread. 
Although there were climatic oscillations, over the next 5,000 years it became generally 
warmer and drier. Trees established, initially juniper, willows and tree birches (as distinct 
from the dwarf birches of the tundra). Some of the previously abundant pteridophyte 
species, such as those mentioned above and Cystopteris montana, Dryopteris oreades, 
and Equisetum pratense, would have become more localised, as would the snow-patch 
species Athyrium distentifolium and A. flexile. These species are now all restricted to 
montane areas. The lower ground would have been very wet 10,000 years ago and 
Osmunda was abundant. In the widespread mineral-rich fens, Thelypteris palustris also 
thrived. As the larger trees established, hazel was initially abundant because of the basic 
soils. Pine appeared about 8,500 years ago and at about that time some soils began to 
be more acid as a consequence of leaching, and Calluna became more common. 
Bracken, perhaps including Pteridium pinetorum although this cannot be confirmed from 
the fossil spores, became more common as a plant of forest clearings. Lycopodium 
annotinum was very abundant 8,000 years ago, with pine and juniper; it is still found in 
pinewoods. even plantations, although it has declined significantly in recent years. 
Lycopodium clavatum was also present, probably in Calluna as now, but there was no 
open moorland, and heather, though increasingly common, was still limited to forest 

By 6,000 years ago, the temperature was warmer than now but the climate had once 
more become wetter. As a result, large areas became acidic through leaching, and peat 
formation increased in area and depth. Stumps of the early pine forests can be found 
buried under many feet of peat. Base-rich habitats were restricted, as now, to the vicinity 
of exposed and eroding basic rocks such as mica schist. Species we now think of as 
"western", like Hymenophyllum wilsonii, would then have been much more widespread. 

it man also began to have some effect on the frequency and 
. As conditions became cooler and drier, man began to clear 
the forest for grazing land and for cultivation. Some pteridophytes would have benefited 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 285 

from this. Where grassland developed in the ever-expanding forest clearings, new 
habitats for Ophioglossum vulgatum would have resulted. Where cultivated land was 
abandoned, bracken often invaded before trees could re-establish to shade the bracken 
out. Other pteridophytes were adversely affected by the increase in agricultural activity. 
Isoetes appears to have been temporarily eliminated from lochs where it was buried 
under silt washed in from surrounding disturbed and eroding hillsides, and this still 

Early cultivation was restricted to the lighter soils on high ground. By 2,500 years ago, 
when the cool, wet climate was the same as now, the gradual taming of the landscape 
was visible as cultivation terraces, still detectable today in some places. In mediaeval 
times, natural habitats were further reduced as cultivation moved into the lower ground. 
To overcome the problem of poor soil drainage, the runrigg or ridge and furrow system 
was widely used until superseded in the 18th Century by underground field-drains. This 
agricultural improvement, which has continued until the present, has resulted in the 
marked reduction of wetland habitats and the once abundant species, such as Dryopteris 
carthusiana, that inhabited them. 

In at least one instance, however, draining may have been beneficial. Thelypteris 
palustris, now very rare in Scotland, was recorded last century from several lochs which 
were drained in the late 18th Century to remove the buried post-glacial deposits of 
base-rich marl. Exposure of the marl would have re-created the immediately post-glacial 
environment favoured by Thelypteris. A few other species also benefited from man's 
activities. For example, Polypodium and, in particular, Asplenium ruta-muraria. took 
advantage of mortared walls. Equisetum arvense was well equipped to exploit disturbed 

Almost every habitat has been managed or altered by man. Some of the adverse effects 
on pteridophytes could be controlled. Fortunately, over-collecting, the cause of serious 
decline and even local "extirpation" in, for example, Cystopteris dickieana, C. montana. 
Asplenium septentrionale and the Woodsia species, is already prohibited. Excessive 
grazing by goats or deer, which restricts species like Athyrium distentifolium to 
inaccessible ledges, could be prevented with beneficial consequences. Necessary 
disturbance, for example grazing and trampling to maintain the open wetland habitat of 
Lycopodiella inundata, could be maintained. The disturbed conditions required for our 
important populations of Pilularia globulifera, such as silty loch margins and excavated 
brick clay pits, could be provided. To be successful, any intervention will usually require 
more research-based information on the species biology. 

Looking to the future, less intensive agriculture and "set-aside" might allow restoration of 
some wetland habitats. Climatic change will have effects, but they are hard to predict. 
Earlier springs with late frosts would damage frost sensitive species like bracken. A drier 
climate would discourage Botrychium and C. montana, for example, and several other 
species, like Asplenium ceterach, would spread from the south. Warmercond.t.ons would 
threaten the alpine species. Increased rainfall would allow the eastward spread of species 
like Dryopteris aemula but perhaps put continental species like A. septentrionale at a 
disadvantage. As has been the case throughout the last 14,000 years, some will 
decline and others will increase as conditions change. The rarities of one era become the 
common-place of a later one, and vice versa. 


Mr. John Mitchell, ex-Nature Conservancy Council. 

Although having had an interest in the genus Woodsia for a good many years, it was not 

until joining the Nature Conservancy Council (now SNH) in 1966, and suDsequenny 

286 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

taking on responsibility for the Ben Lui National Nature Reserve in the mid-1970s, that I 
was able to put this interest to practical conservation use. Having quickly discovered that 
there was virtually nothing in the Regional Office file as to the precise locations of any of 
the reserve's rarer mountain plants, I gave some thought to devising a system of plotting 
the position of selected species, together with some rough and ready method of 
monitoring the performance of each colony. 

Woodsia alpha seemed the most obvious species to start off with, and the project gave 
me a good feel for the type of habitat the W. alpina seemed to prefer - typically a 
weathered exposure of banded limestone or calcareous schist, with a distinct lack of any 
vigorous competitors. The four known W. alpina colonies on Ben Lui were photographed 
using a Polaroid camera, the position of each marked on the instant print there and then. 
Because I was unable to get a satisfactory answer as to the life expectancy of an instant 
print, a duplicate photograph was taken on conventional film. Later, the data from the field 
instant print were transferred onto the conventional archive print once the film was 
processed. As it was also essential that anyone attempting to monitor the reserves W. 
alpina colonies in future years could readily find the documented site, a large-scale map 
was marked and a distant photographic shot was also taken on instant and conventional 
films, the prints annotated as before. 

Two developments led to the W. alpina survey on Ben Lui reserve being extended to all 
of its other known stations in the western highlands. First, both British species of Woodsia 
had just received legal protection under the Conservation of Wild Creatures and Wild 
Plants Act of 1 975. From then on a much clearer picture of the national status of both 
Woodsias was going to be required by the Nature Conservancy Council in their role as 
advisors to the government. Secondly, in the mid-1970s much of Britain was in the grip of 
a summer drought, and the first warning grumblings of global warming were being heard. 
If global warming was to be a reality, what was going to be the effect of an increase in the 
average summer temperature on Britains relict arctic-alpine flora and fauna? It was clear, 
even back in the 1970s, that a reliable baseline survey needed to be undertaken if 
meaningful assessments on changes in Woodsia populations in Britain were to be made 
in the years to come. 

Let us take a look now at the monitoring system in practice using as an example a pretty 
well-known W. alpina site on the Perth/Argyll border. The background information collated 
included the site name, map reference, vice-county, altitude, direction of exposure, rock 
type, list of plant associates and, where known, previous recorded history. Every tuft of W. 
alpina at each site was allocated an identification number and marked on the photograph. 
As a rough guide to performance, the number of fronds on each accessible tuft was 
counted and a measurement taken of the largest frond. This is an exceptionally dry site 
with a southerly exposure and, with its potential for desiccation, it was found that the 
average number of fronds was only 8, with a maximum of 18 on the older, larger plants. 
Fronds reaching 3.5 inches in length were few and far between. 

Not all the W. alpina sites in the western highlands are as impressive looking as those on 
Ben Lui, a rather nondescript hill, which is probably why it was overlooked by the 
Victorian fern collectors. At this site I found it was just not practical to document each W. 
alpina tuft as before - for once there were just too many of them! In this case the rock 
faces were given an identifying letter, and little more than a count made of the number of 
W. alpina on each of them. In 1990 my successor to Ben Lui NNR, Andrew Campbell, 
assisted by a small team of observers working in rather better weather conditions than I 
had endured 13 years earlier, counted no fewer than 340 tufts concentrated in this 
section of the hill alone. As I had found as well, there were some luxuriant plants amongst 
them too, with as many as 40 fronds, occasionally up to 5 inches long. This is most 
certainly the finest individual colony of W. alpina remaining in Britain today. 

rn Scotland, again to 

establish a baseline to assess future changes in the fortunes of these even rarer British 
fern. My colleague, Dr Vincent Fleming, takes up the W. ilvensis story. 


DrL. Vincent Fleming, Scottish Natural Heritage 

John Mitchell has described the photographic monitoring techniques that he established for 
selected colonies of both Woodsia spp. My aim is present some of the results obtained 
from that monitoring, to provide an assessment of the current status of both species and to 
discuss potential conservation action. 

Overall, there would appear to be no more than 95 known clumps 1 of W. ilvensis surviving 
in the wild in Britain compared to at least 1000 known clumps of W. alpina. Over 99°o of 
the latter occur in Scotland compared to only 25% of W. ilvensis clumps. W. ilvensis is now 
restricted to only five localities in Britain (three in Scotland) with 9 sub-colonies. At least 35 
sub-colonies can be identified for alpina within close to 20 broad localities. Nevertheless, 
most colonies are small with all but one W. ilvensis colony below 10 clumps and most W. 
alpina colonies below 20 clumps. Three colonies (one of W. ilvensis, two of IV. alpina) hold 
the bulk of the Woodsia population in Britain. However, the small size of most colonies, 
even of the more abundant W. alpina, means that most of these are likely to be vulnerable 
to extinction through demographic and stochastic factors alone. 

It is impossible here to present all the monitoring results but I will present data for three 
colonies of W. alpina before discussing the present status of W. ilvensis in the Moffat Hills. 
The W. alpina sites were monitored in 1977, 1985 and 1994. All populations were 
remarkably stable between 1977 and 1985 but all have subsequently increased. In two o 
the colonies this increase has been due solely to recruitment with no apparent mortality aN 
the clumps from 1977 still being present in 1994. In the third colony, however, despite an 
increase from 8 to 10 clumps over the recording period, only three plants were common o 
both 1977 and 1994. The increase here then, has involved five mortalities and I seven new 
recruits indicating a more dynamic turnover than may have been suspected These result 
indicate the value of this monitoring technique because it enables us to follow trie a 
individual clumps and, therefore, to begin to determine important parameters of pop ation 
biology such as longevity and recruitment. This information cannot be obtained from simp.e 
counts alone. 

Monitoring alone cannot tell you why any changes in a Population ha ' 
However, it is noteworthy that both 1977 and 1985 v 
drought. Both Woodsias seem vulnerable to water stress anu i 
were then at a low ebb as a result of this. In recent years, summers ,,, in. 
Highlands have been more typical (that is much wetter) and the pc 

i of the apparent increase i 
ants that were present 

recovered accordingly. What is less cleai .^ .. - 

rlier visits (but which were then dessicated and 

recorded) but have subsequently 

recovered. Regardless, despite this I 

II increases, there is no room for complacency 

i the conservation c 

The Moffat Hills of southern Scotland are one of the classic haunts or w. 

but from which they were thought to have been extirpated by collecting s 

of the century. Subsequently, two small colonies were re ' d i '^° v ^' | nn 

in 1954 and the other b 

have remained stable i 

discovered and larger colony is in evident stee 

present in 1954 only three now survive; if cum 

extrapolated extinction date of 23 October 1995! 

been no recruitment of W. ilvensis plants to the colony since 1977. The three clumps that 
survive todays are, therefore, at least 18 years old but may be older still. This downward 
trend in the population is clearly cause for concern with local extinction a possibility for a 
second time! 

Some factors that may have contributed to this decline include: 

i) collecting - despite legal protection the species may still be vulnerable to this threat, 
yet there is no recent evidence of this from Moffat and some surviving plants are in 
readily accessible locations; ii) rockfalls - comparison of site photographs indicates that 
rockfalls from these crumbly, treacherous cliffs could have only accounted for the loss of 
single clump; iii) loss of genetic variability - the former massive collecting pressure 
may have forced the population through a genetic bottleneck leaving surviving plants 
vulnerable to, for example, inbreeding depression; iv) drought - the two recent drought 
years (1976 & 1984) may have taken their toll. However, in 1992 a summer visit revealed 
only one dried up W. ilvensis clump, but a subsequent visit following late summer rainfall 
found three clumps in the same locality indicating some ability of plants to recover. 
Although the plants are on crags that may be grazed by feral goats we have seen no 
evidence that grazing damage occurs. 

should we intervene to prevent this. If so, what action should we take? An immediate and 
urgent first step must be to capture as much of the existing genetic variation as possible 
by establishing ex situ collections, whether of spores or cultivated plants. This would 
provide a safeguard against extinction as well as material for research needed to guide 
future conservation policy. Plants could also be provided to enable re-stocking of existing 
colonies, if appropriate, and to restore Woodsia to sites from which it has long been 
absent. In doing so, we may have to consider whether we only use genotypes native to 
the site or whether, more controversially, we mix genotypes between colonies to restore 
genetic variability (if indeed that is part of current problems). Woodsia ilvensis, as an 
Arctic-alpine relic, may ultimately be threatened with extinction in Britain as a result of 
global warming but the proximate threat is clearly a legacy of the Victorian fern craze. In 
such circumstances it seems only reasonable that we intervene both to maintain and 
restore populations. 


Dr. Adrian Dyer, RBGEand University of Edinburgh. 

When we talk about the ecology of British ferns, we are really talking only about the 

distribution of the conspicuous sporophytes described in relation to major features of the 

macro-habitat: latitude, altitude, moisture, shade, soil type and pH etc. We know very little 

about the factors determining those distributions. 

I want to show how investigation of aspects of the growth and reproduction of a fern can 

help to explain its distribution, particularly for rare, local species or those with a very 

specialised and restricted habitat. This involves investigation of the other phases of the 

life cycle as well as the sporophyte. 

As we have already heard, A. septentrionale is scarce and very local in Britain. This is 

only partly explained by the fact that it has been lost from some stations because of 

over-collecting in the past or by shading due to overgrowth by gorse or adjacent forest 

plantation more recently. The main reason for its local distribution is its restricted habitat; 

common features of its widely separated sites are dark-coloured volcanic or metamorphic 

rocks lacking calcium or other bases, such as slates, grits, granites and basalts, on 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

The localities suggest a requirement for a hard, base poor, substrate and a warm 
situation. This would explain its absence from the eastern half of Britain, dominated by 
sedimentary rocks, and from high altitudes in mountains, where temperatures are lower. 
Our results suggest a previously unsuspected explanation for this. 
Our experiments were simple. We grew spores of several British species, including A. 
septentrionale, at a range of different temperatures to find the temperature requirements 
for germination. The spores were sown on nutrient medium and placed under artificial 
lights at controlled continuous temperatures. The percentage germination was then 
recorded daily until there was no further germination. 

Asplenium septentrionale was unusual in that although the germination response at 20*C 
was similarto that of the other species, germination at 15 9 C was very slow and there was 
no germination at all at 10 e C over the 9 weeks of the experiment. This confirms some 
earlier unpublished observations of Elizabeth Watt. The fact that temperatures of 1 5 C or 
higher, perhaps even close to 20 e C, are necessary for full germination suggests that there 
may be very few sites in Britain where germination is possible. 

Our spores were collected from a local population on Arthur's Seat; one of the nearest 
weather stations is at RBGE. Temperature records at RBGE for 1993 reveal that the 
maximum shade temperature reached 15"C or above on only 97 days per year (of 146 
between 7.5.93 and 30.9.93) and never maintained a temperature of 15^C or above 
throughout the 24 hours. It reached 20^C only 9 times in total and presumably for only a 
few hours. For much of the year, perhaps all, the temperatures at RBGE are too low xor 
germination and RBGE will be warmer than many places in Scotland. 
Although we don't yet know the temperature requirements for fl^^^SJ 
after germination (we suspect they are lower than for germ.nat.on). these tempe^ure 
requirements for germination would alone be sufficient to restrict the space » d '^*°£ 
What then is the adaptive advantage of this apparently restrictive requ.rement?Bea nng n 
mind that this is a species with a continental distribution in Eur0 P% w h %^J' k ^ 
suggest that it is a mechanism for preventing germination or just b^hei^rsn 
winters and thus limiting development to the summers. The tempo ra ^f"^^* 
germination will be regularly achieved during the warm contmenta | summers rc 
interpretation presupposes that the germination response recorded in, 
;and not unique to British ecotypes. 

sliminary investigation confirms that 
3 requirement for germination. 


range in Europe imposes restrictions on its ecological distribution 

its range, 

each unusually high temperatures 

for long periods. 

Combined with its edaphic requirements, this restricts it to sunny ruo* .a 

west Britain and is enough to explain its rarity. 

Support for this interpretation comes from a similar investigate* J As f e ^ h 

Ja'muraria, the Wall Rue. This is also a confine ^ spec.- a^ pe™ * J^ 

material also have a high temperature requirement for germ.nat.on, w in nu y 

10 e C, and in one experiment, none at 15 e C. 

Again Ske A. septentrionale, we have looked a, "PO™^^^" ^ 
have the same temperature requirement for germinaton, maicajng 

290 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

species characteristic associated with a predominantly continental distribution. It is 
interesting to note therefore that A. ruta-muraria in Britain is frequently found on 
south-facing surfaces. However, A. ruta-muraria unlike A. septentrionale, is not rare in 
Britain. This is because it is a calcicole which can exploit not only the sedimentary basic 
rocks of south and east Britain in addition to calcareous rocks in the north, but also the 
lime mortar of walls all over the country. 

This study illustrates the need for further autecological studies of germination and 
gametophyte development in other species. Without them, the distribution and habitat 
requirements of ferns can never be i 


Professor James Parks, Millersville University, PA, USA 

The Cystopteris fragilis complex, including the variable species C. fragilis, is circum- 
boreal. In the 19th Century, a variant of Cystopteris was discovered near Aberdeen and 
later given the name C. dickieana. Material from the type locality is pretty distinctive. The 
stipe tends to lack the dark colour of C. fragilis (basally). Fronds, which are bright green, 
are fairly wide relative to their length and pinnae tend to be closely spaced and often 
overlapping. These distinctive morphological characters can be seen even on plants that 
have been maintained for years in cultivation. C. dickieana is also unusual (in the genus) 
in having non-echinate spores (often referred to as rugose). In recent years, this 
character has acquired high taxonomic importance and as a result, plants with fronds 
resembling those of C. fragilis but bearing non-echinate spores are being labelled 'C. 
dickieana'. This practice raises taxonomic concerns in view of the fact that, at least in 
North America, spore morphology in C. fragilis is variable, sometimes even within a 
population. Partly for this reason, R.F. Blasdell, in his monograph of Cystopteris (1963), 
chose to demote C. dickieana to a variant of C fragilis. Haufler and Windham {American 
Fern Journal, 81:7 1991) have recently reached the same conclusion, in part, using 
allozyme studies of North American Cystopteris. 

In 1993, while on sabbatical in Scotland (and in collaboration with Adrian Dyer, Stuart 
Lindsay and Chris Page), I took the opportunity to investigate further the taxonomic status 
of C. dickieana using material from the type locality. The purpose of the study was (1) to 
determine if a set of multilocus allozyme phenotypes would distinguish the type 
population of C. dickieana and if so (2) would these allozyme phenotypes be found in 
other dickieana' populations that had fragilis morphology and/or (3) would these allozyme 
phenotypes correlate with plants in other populations that had non-echinate spores. 

near Aberdeen. All plants had 

typical C. dickieana morphology. 

B A population near the type locality for C. dickieana containing some plants with frond 

morphology typical of C. dickieana and others with frond morphology more like C. fragilis. 

C A population 150 km south west of Aberdeen containing plants all of which looked, to 

us, more like C. fragilis than C. dickieana (though we knew from Dave Tennant that at 

teast some had previously produced non-echinate spores). 

fra^//s° PU ' atl0n 2 ° km fr ° m ° (above) - A " plants had frond morphology typical of C. 

E A population near Perth. All plants had frond morphology typical of C. fragilis. 

3 collected one fertile frond from each of 30 to 70 plants. A sample of each 
»™ vvao ^ejected to isozyme analysis [A fairly complicated but standard protocol 
wnereby one can genetically fingerprint individuals by determining the forms of proteins 
tnat each contains] and spores were examined by light and electron microscopy. 

Pteridologist2, 6(1995) 291 

Each multilocusphenotype was assigned a number (1-20) in the order in which they were 
discovered. Each population had a unique set of allozyme phenotypes except for A and B 
which shared the same 2 multilocus phenotypes. The only allozyme phenotype recovered 
from more than one population (with the exception of A and B) was allozyme phenotype 
No. 3 which was found in C and D. Interestingly, the spore types of this allozyme 
phenotype differed in populations C and D. The four plants from C exhibiting it all had 
rugose spores whereas the one plant from D had echinate spores. Only population C had 
more than five allozyme phenotypes (13 in total were recovered). 

Allozyme phenotypes and Spore Types in Scottish Cystopteris Populations 









no. 2 


no. 3 
nos. 16-19 

no. 20 

Total no. 






Spore types 


Rugose & 

Rugose & 



Total no. 






We were interested to discover that in population B, 9 out of 55 ferti «e P' ants ^^ 
that were neither rugose nor echinate, but smooth Jermy and Ha rper (Bnt. sMjer^ 
Gazette, 1971) have previously observed this third spore type » , 

populations. Population C which exhibited the greatest array of allozyme phenotypes 
exhibited two spore types, rugose & echinate. 
Discussion and Conclusions 

Three spere types (echinate, rugose ^\^Tlu7LZT^ZTe Z^ ^ 
Cystopteris. Two spore types were recovered from withm *"° P° pu ™ phenotyp es 

predict from frond morphology the spore type of a plant J he *^ e ? han ^ hjn 
recovered indicated that much more variability exists ""^to^C Tckeana Is 
them. On the basis of these allozyme phenotypes, the type populat on or u 
no more than a distinct populational variant of C. frag, fc ^ «*£» "J s same 
»een allozyme phenotype and spore type P^f™^ correlation 
not exist in other populations. In brief, we founo no ove. 
Iftond morphotogy, sporeVpe or allozyme phenotype among the populations 
examined. . 

The taxonomic status o, variants within the ^r^ZTTc^XTZ7£ 
frag,,* remains questionable. Vida (1974) »™^™££Z£ tetraploid C. 
locality was reproductive^ ^^*™£^^ te U*b*«ytoc«« 
fragilis from Eastern Europe, but nothing is known about its aun y 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

forms of the C. fragilis complex in Scotland. Berg (1992), in a recent study of Norwegian 
C. fragilis, found (as we did in Scotland and others did in N. America) populations with 
several spore types, but one frond morphology. Clearly, spore type alone is inadequate 
to delimit C. dickieana . Our allozyme study of Scottish C. fragilis found the same results 
as extensive work by Windham and Haufler in N. America: that allozyme phenotypes do 
not correlate with spore type or morphological variance. Our results lead us to concur 
with Berg and Windham and Haufler in questioning the status of C. dickieana as a 

C. fragilis is 


Dr F.J. Rumsey, School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, 
M13 9PL. (now at Dept. of Botany, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London 

The Killarney Fern Trichomanes speciosum Willd. is largely restricted to macaronesia and 
the Atlantic fringe of Europe reaching its northernmost extent in Scotland. It is very rare 
throughout this range. The species was first discovered near Bingley in Yorkshire (Ray, 
1724) from where the sporophyte was last seen in c.1785 (Lees, 1888). This was to 
remain the only known British locality until the mid-nineteenth century, by which time the 
species local abundance and subsequent collection to near extinction at many Irish sites 
was well documented eg. Newman, 1844; Scully, 1916. 

In Scotland T. speciosum was first found in Aug. 1863, on the east coast of Arran, near 
Corrie. The initial publication of this find (Babington, 1863) credited Mr. George Combe 
with the discovery, although he was shown the locality by the local 'walking postman' Mr. 
Robert Douglas (1864; 1887). Between them all traces of the plant were removed, the last 
"fragment of frond with an inch or two of rhizome" being taken from the already depleted 
site by Simson (1887), who successfully cultivated his spoils (specimens at El). At much 
the same time another locality was discovered, on the mainland just North of Ardlamont 
Point (Landsborough, 1887). Again the discoverers, Messrs. Cook and Young, seem to 
have collected all the material present. Some, however, thrived in cultivation subsequently 
(Stewart, 1901). The third Scottish find was made by the palaeobotanist Robert Kidston in 
1876, on the west coast of Arran, near Dougarie. He found just "three small and 
depauperate roots" one of which he removed to grow on (Landsborough, 1887). The 
following year a Miss MacBean literally stumbled upon the plant while walking near the 

Cock of Arran. The c 

) crevice responsible yielding upwards of a yard c 

dozen fronds (Stewart, 1901), but attempts to grow on bits v 
a dehydrated state too long. Then for almost a century the fern was believed extinct in 
Scotland, until refound on the Scottish coast in 1979 by Dr. Derek Ratcliffe, Carmen 
Placido and Peter Wormell.when 3 colonies were discovered during an N.C.C. vegetation 

Subsequently the fern was refound on Arran by Grace Small and Alice Sommerville 
(Sommerville, 1981; 1982) and since then 3 further colonies in two separate localities 
have been detected on the island by Tony Church (Church, 1990), one, perhaps that of 
Miss MacBean. While almost certainly gone from their original sites, some or all of the first 
Victorian discoveries may still be in cultivation but in the absence of documentation we 
may never know, although the development of molecular techniques gives hope that this 
may someday be resolved. 

^he discovery of the gametophyte generation of Trichomanes speciosum (Rumsey et al. 
1990) has forced us to consider this species in a different light. By virtue of its ecology 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 293 

and propagative ability the gametophyte can survive indefinitely in the absence of the 
sporophyte. Study has revealed gametophytes to be present over a much greater 
geographical range than the sporophyte in both the British Isles and most interestingly. 
Continental Europe (Vogel et al. 1993). In Scotland recent fieldwork has revealed 
gametophytes to be distributed scattered around the Scottish coast and inland in a Mid 
Perth, site where Hymenophyllum wilsonii just persists. These finds have extended the 
species northern limits over 300 km. Both generations appear to be restricted in Scotland 

the British Isles maxima match those of Hymenophyllum tunbrigense. 

i sporophyte and its possible post-glacial 
. Discovery of the gametophyte has posed 
3 this vexed question. An important factor is the 
) whether outlying gametophyte populations represent recent colonisa- 
tion or the vestiges of a once wider range. Initial evidence suggests gametophytes 
disperse very poorly. Dispersal other than very locally is thus as with other ferns likely to 
be achieved by spores. Trichomanes is unusual in possessing green, thin walled spores 
which show no dormancy and very limited ability to withstand desiccation. They are also 
rarely produced - only one Scottish colony has ever been seen to be fertile and even in 
Macaronesia fertility in many colonies is irregular i.e. not annual. Rumsey (1994) 
estimated that the total British and Irish spore production over the last century could be 
exceeded by 10 Dryopteris dilatata plants in a single season! All available evidence 
suggests recent advance in range to be negligible. However, the question as to how 
spore dispersal readily occurred in the distant past, but not now remains to be tuny 

conducive conditions 
of the species 

So what is the future of Trichomanes speciosum in Scotland? Will there ever be a 
significant increase in the number of sporophytes? Sporophytic absence may be through 
failure in production or mortality once produced. Evidence from throughou the bntisn 
Isles suggests archegonial production is a critical limiting step (Rumsey et al. 199^), tnese 
being markedly scarcer than antheridia. Data as to sporophyte product.on^and 
subsequent survival are still limited but suggest a gradient 
reflecting a combination of greater gametangial initiati 
for sporophyte survival in wetter, winter-warm are 

reproductive behaviour and success throughout its distribution suggests only 
changes in. macroclimatemay have a profound effect on sporophyte recruitment r 
the species is generating new sporophytes and even the mature plants ; may have 
within the last 30 years. This is very encouraging for the species Tu jurej n^^ ^ 
may be evidence of change through climatic amelioration," 
survey of where both generations occur, regular monitoring 
prevention of collection and disturbance will tell us. 


Babington, C.C. (1863) Trichomanes radicans J. Bot. (Lond.) V.&6-&* 
Church, A.R. (1990) Recent finds of Killarney Fern (Trichomanes speciosum \ 
Arran, Clyde Isles Glasgow Nat. 21 :608-609 

, D. (1887) Additional note on the occurrence of Tnchomanes rac 

3 for novel sporophytes i 

Scotland Trans. Bot. Soc. Glasgow 27:39 

Lees, F.A. (1888) The flora of West Yorkshire. Lovell Reeve & Co., London 

Newman, E (1844) A History of British Ferns and Allied plants. Van VoorsUondon 

RatcHfte, oi, bL, H,.B. A «* "^{^^^^^rlo* 

Killarney Fern Trichomanes speciosum i 

Ray, J.(1 724) Synopsis Methodica 

StirpiumBrittanicarum3rd. Ed. W. 

. Innys, London 

294 Pteridologist2, 6(1995) 

Rumsey, F.J. (1994) The distribution, Ecology and population biology of the Killamey 

Fern (Trichomanes speciosum Willd.)Unpubl. PhD. thesis, University of Manchester 

Rumsey, F.J., Sheffield, E. & Farrar, D.R. (1990) British filmy-fern gametophytes 

Pteridologist 2:40-42 

Rumsey, F.J., Raine, C.A. & Sheffield, E. (1992) The reproductive capability of 

independent Trichomanes gametophytes in: Fern Horticulture: past, present and future 

perspectives eds. J.M. Ide, A.C. Jermy & A.M. Paul Intercept, Andover 

Scully, R.W. (1916) Flora of County Kerry Hodges, Figgis & Co., Dublin 

Simson, W.B. (1864) Gardeners Chronicle 10:220 

Simson, W.B. (1887) Notes on the finding of Trichomanes radicans in Arran in August 

1863 Trans. Bot. Soc. Glasgow 27:35-38 

Sommerville,A.H. (1981) Trichomanes speciosum Willd. in Arran, V.C. 100 Trans. Bot. 

Soc. Edinb. 43:343 

Sommerville, A.H. (1982) Killarney Fern refound in Arran B.S.B.I. Scottish Newsletter 4:4 

Stewart, W. (1901) Notes on the occurrence of Trichomanes radicans Sw. in Scotland 

Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Glasgow 6:18-21 

Vogel, J.C., Jessen, S., Gibby, M., Jermy, A.C. & Ellis, L. (1993) Gametophytes of 

Trichomanes speciosum (Hymenophyllaceae:Pteridophyta) in Central Europe Fern Gaz. 




Dr. Chris Page, RBGE. 

Until a few years only one taxon of British bracken (Pteridium aquilinum subsp. aquilinum 
var. aquilinum) was widely recognised. However, in 1989, following a study of the 
morphological variation in that taxon, I concluded that we actually had 3 taxa in Britain 
(subspecies aquilinum, subspecies atlanticum and subspecies latiusculum). My most 
recent research, incorporating phenological observations, leads me to believe that in 
Scotland we should recognise at least 4 taxa: subspecies aquilinum var. aquilinum, 
subspecies atlanticum, subspecies pinetorum var. pinetorum and subspecies pinetorum 
var. osmundaceum. Subspecies atlanticum and the new subspecies pinetorum are 
described briefly. 

Not described here. 

Subspecies atlanticum (Atlantic bracken) 

Like the common bracken, atlanticum is a tall growing, swamping plant. Its stem (rachis), 
however is twice as thick as those of Common Bracken and its croziers are thickly 
covered in white hairs. Consequently, pockets of this particular bracken are easy to spot 
early in the season amongst common bracken. Moreover atlanticum is much more 
upright, its fronds have more drooping-tipped pinnae, the pinna shape is somewhat 
different and the vernation is more indeterminate (i.e. fronds get taller as new pinnae are 
produced through most of the season). As far as I can see it is also restricted to limestone 
soils. So far, in Britain it has been found in the west of Scotland and in North and South 
Wales. It has not yet been found in England but I suspect that it might turn up in 
south-west England or the South Coast because in thaese areas there are all sorts of 
introgressions with it. I have also found herbarium material of the same taxon in Brittany, 
Central Spain and the Ivory Coast (West Africa). Clearly, it has an Atlantic distribution 
(hence its name) and a preference for warm climates. 
Subspecies pinetorum (Northern bracken) 
Pinetorum is a new subspecies (belonging to the widespread northern latiusculum 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 295 

complex) into which I have put bracken taxa which have a preference for pinewood 
habitats in more northern cold climates (Pinetorum means 'of the pinewood'). In Scotland, 
I recognise 3 distinct forms of pinewood bracken but only 2 have names at present. All 
three forms are also united by the fact that their vernation is strongly determinate (i.e. all 
pinnae expand as the crozier unrolls and then no further growth occurs). This is an 
extremely fundamental difference which deserves taxonomic recognition. Also, all the 
Northern brackens are more frost tolerant than either aquilinum or atlanticum and the 
skeletons of dead fronds remain standing over winter. 

1. Pteridium aquilinum subsp. pinetorum var. pinetorum. 

Variety pinetorum (the type material), grows in the Rothiemurchus pinewoods of the 
Cairngorms, near Aviemore. It is extremely distinctive. It is a small low growing plant with 
an upright stipe, a rather steeply angled frond, a triangular (almost tripartite) frond, a 
coarsely cut blade (very leathery after full expansion), pinnae have very elongate ultimate 
segments, and in the spring the croziers are covered with red hairs. I have been able to 
match this material with herbarium specimens in Sweden, Russia and even China. 
[Worthy of brief mention at this point is that the Swedish herbarium material was that 
belonging to Linnaeus and to which he gave the name 'aquilinum'; the same name that is 
now widely used for the common (Southern?) bracken!. My colleague, Dr. Robert Mill 
(RBGE) is currently assessing the implicationsof this]. 

2. Pteridium aquilinum subsp. pinetorum var. osmundaceum. 

The second distinct form of northern pinewood bracken that I found was on the moors 
above the surviving pinewood of the Black Wood of Rannoch, near Loch Rannoch. It 
looks totally different; It is much more upright that var. pinetorum, it has a coarsely cut 
blade, it is very leathery, its colonies are very sparse and its fronds have ultimate 
segments that are even larger and more elongate than those of var. pinetorum. Its pinnae 
tend to stand very upright but if you lay the frond out as a herbarium specimen you 
discover that the blade is also tripartite. This is the only form of Northern Bracken for 
which I have actually been able to find a valid name already in existence elsewhere in 
Europe. That name is osmundaceum and was first used by Christ in the 19th century to 
describe a similar 'Osmunda-like' bracken in Switzerland. 

3. un-named 

The third form of Northern Pinewood bracken which I recognise (but have not yet named) 
grows as local patches on the hillsides around Loch Faskally and Loch Rannoch. It is not 
yet named, since its affinities are not yet clear, having a peculiar morphology and ecology 
which to some extent shares characters of both Common and Northern bracken, but 
without indication of being a recent hybrid. It also has a peculiar ecology, growing on 
rather shallow soil beside a rich association of other plant species that are not usually 
associated with bracken. At first sight, it looks like common bracken (aquilinum) but on 
closer inspection it is found to have a bigger frond, a very leathery frond, and a very wiry 
and orange-coloured stipe. Its blade is also inclined to the stipe. 
Conference organisers footnote: 

Since presenting this preliminary talk, Drs Page and Mill have further refined and typified 
the overall classifiication of bracken in Scotland, taking into account the nomenclature 
aspects necessary to equate these new British finds with bracken in the broader 
European perspective. The results of these more recent studies are presented in Kage. 
C.N. and Mill, R.R (1995). Botanical Journal of Scotland, 47:139-140 and in press. 
Pteridium aquilinum subsp. pinetorum (Northern Bracken) has now becomes species 
Pteridium pinetorum comprising two subspecies: subsp. pinetorum and subsp. osmun- 
daceum. Pteridium aquilinum now comprises three subspecies: subsp. aquilinum suosp^ 
atlanticum and subsp. fulvum (the unnamed bracken in the text above). Descriptions ano 
illustrations of all of these new taxa are included in the forthcoming new edition or page 
The Ferns of Britain and Ireland, to be published shortly. 

296 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 


Dr. Elizabeth Sheffield, University of Manchester. 

This work was undertaken in response to Chris Page's last (1989) taxonomic revision of 
bracken in Britain (see footnote). Reference will therefore be made to 'aquilinum', 
'atlanticum' and latiusculum' but no opinions will be given on whether these should be 

Isozyme analysis is a powerful molecular technique. The details of the technique are not 
important as long as you remember that the end product of the analysis (banding 
patterns) represents different forms of proteins (isozymes) that are present in the 
individual. Isozyme banding patterns can often serve as 'fingerprints' to characterise an 
individual, species, genus, population etc. Most pteridophyte taxa, including most types of 
bracken, can be distinguished in this way. Moreover, isozyme banding patterns 
sometimes give clues to an individual's parentage and/or evolutionary events. For 
example, a few years ago we compared the banding patterns of British aquilinum, British 
(Scottish) latiusculum and North American latiusculum. The isozyme banding patterns for 
British and American latiusculums were not the same and there was no similarity in 2 
critical marker enzymes between British aquilinum and North American latiusculum. 
However the pattern for British latiusculum was consistent with the theory that the other 
two taxa had at some point participated as parents in the evolution of British latiusculum. 
This meant that we had found molecular data to supported Chris's conviction that there is 
a latiusculum-type genome in Scotland. 

Isozyme analysis of 'atlanticum' produced a different result: for every isozyme that we 
could detect, the pattern in atlanticum was identical to that in aquilinum. This was 
surprising in view of the fact that most people who have seen this taxon agree that, 
morphologically, it is quite distinct from aquilinum. It is possible that, by continuing to 
screen for different isozymes, we would have eventually found a set of banding patterns 
that would characterise atlanticum but it was considered more likely that we were looking 
for molecular markers at the wrong level. In view of this we decided to try a more 
sophisticated technique involving analysis of the genetic variation in the DNA itself. 
This part of the study was carried out in collaboration with Dr. Paul Wolf at Utah State 
University. One of the techniques used was restriction (enzyme) analysis. Again, the 
details of the technique are not important. Basically, DNA is extracted from the plant and 
carefully broken into fragments of different length using digestive enzymes which target 
specific points (restriction sites). These fragments are separated on a gel by applying an 
electric current (in much the same way as for isozyme analysis). Using lengths of DNA 
obtained from a standard bracken as probes to bind to the fragments, the fragments can 
i banding pattern. Differences between the banding patterns of different 
> represent differences in the number and type of restriction sites in their DNA 
1 to measure genetic similarity/dissimilarity. 
There are 3 types of DNA in plants: nuclear, mitochondrial and chloroplast, and each can 
be subjected to restriction enzyme analysis. Chloroplast DNA was the most extensively 
analysed in this study as it has proved extremely useful for detecting phylogenetic 
relationships in other taxa. 

The study included atlanticum from Britain, aquilinum from Britain and France, and 
latiusculum from Britain, North America and Japan. 

Data obtained from DNA analysis provided strong evidence for a latiusculum-type 
genome being present in Scotland. They also demonstrated that the Scottish latiusculum 
genome is very different from the aquilinum genome. However, genetic evidence to 

Pteridologist 2, 6 (1995) 

Conference organisers footnote: 

Since presenting this paper, Drs Page and Mill have again reclassified Scottish Bracken. 
See Page, C.N. and Mill, R.R (1995). Botanical Journal of Scotland, 47:139-140. 
Pteridium aquilinum subsp. pinetorum (Northern Bracken) has now become species 
Pteridium pinetorum comprising two subspecies: subsp. pinetorum (P. aquilinum. subsp. 
pinetorum var. pinetorum in the text above) and subsp. osmundaceum (P. aquilinum 
subsp. pinetorum var. osmundaceum in the text above). Pteridium aquilinum now 
comprises three subspecies: subsp. aquilinum (as described above), subsp. atlanticum 
(as described above) and now also subsp. fulvum (the third, unnamed, form of Northern 
Bracken in the text above). 


Professor Michael B Usher (Chief Scientific Adviser), Scottish Natural Heritage. 
The talk was divided into 6 parts. 

1. How many species are there in Scotland? There are about 66 pteridophyte species 
in Scotland. One species that we have not yet found is Adiantum capillus-venens, which 
is abundant on west coast of Isle of Man - here's a challenge! There are some questions. 
What is Diphasiastrum issleri with its supposed parentage of D. alpmum and u 
complanatum (which is abundant in Norway)? Can we locate more populations of 
Dryopteris remota, found last century by Loch Lomond? Is Athynum f/ex/e a distinct 
taxon (perhaps Britain's only endemic fern)? How many brackens do we really have 

2. Plant communities. In the 3 published volumes of the National VejBtejton 
Classification, how many times are ferns used to typify plant commun.t.e s? ' » ™^™' 
(Woodlands), there is only one community characterised in part by a ferr (^™' ur " 
aquilinum). In volume 2 (Mires and Heaths) there is not a ^ngle community characte r, ed 
by its ferns, and in volume 3 no pteridophytes are mentioned as charactensnc on 
lowland grassland communities. Cryptogramma crispa, Oreoptens '>f°^jj^ c 
num spicant and Pteridium aquilinum are, however, ment.oned as characteristic 
components of some of the upland grassland communities 

3. Biogeograhical zones in Scotland. In analysing the fern d,s nbution dat^ tor 
Scotland a map clearly shows that certain areas are charade r.sed by part cular 
assemblages of ferns and fern allies. For two examples a Cf^^ n *™* 
characterised by an assemblage of Athyrium, Lycopodjum ™£^ 
Diphasiastrum alpinum, Dryopteris expansa (all upland species ) and Lycopo<*um 
Cavatum (a more widely ranging species); ^J^Zi^t^Zm. 
mainland) is characterised by an assemblage of Asplemum mannum "W 
Hymenophyllum W i,sonii and Hymenophyllum ^^J^f^Zd 

. hyllum wilsonii and Hymenophynum "Z^Tsd**** Scotland and 
provide a framework for thinking about the distr.bution of species 
demonstrating which species tend to occur together. 

4. The legislative framework within which SNH works. At present 4 J^speoes^ 
Scotland are protected under schedule 8 of the Wi.d.rfe and G*j**s£ acM9 J 
Woodsia ilvensis, Woodsia alpina, Cystoptens ^' ea ^" d ^^ f c d , ckie ana is 
The list of species protected under this Act is reviewed every i years _ t 
reclassified as a variety of C. fragilis, then it might be removed [°^ he ^^g, ( Act , 
Wildlife and Countryside Act only protects 'species', not variet ' es ^ declared an 

SNH was permitted to schedule SSSIs. However, only one site snas 
SSSI primarilyfor its fern interest: the cave in which C. d,ck,eana occurs. 

298 Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 

Trichomanes speciosum is also protected by international legislation (The Bern 
Convention 1979 and the Habitats Directive of the European Union). On the IUCN list of 
species threatened at the world level, there are 22 vascular plants that occur in the UK, 
but none is a fern. Some fern species require special conservation measures in Scotland 
and, as the statutory agency, SNH has to advise Government on their management and 

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan was published in January 1994. It recommends that 
conservation efforts should be focused first on 'globally threatened species' and second 
on 'threatened endemics'. No Scottish ferns fall into the first category, but Athyrium flexile 
might fall into the second. W. alpina, W. ilvensis, C. dickieana and T. speciosum fall into 
other, less urgent, categories of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. 

5. Monitoring. How are these species changing? In answering this question recording 
species distributions is important, as is recording of numbers in isolated populations. The 
following table lists all the Scottish pteridophyte species that have apparently declined by 
20% or more in the last 25 years (as assessed by the number of 10km grid squares in 
which they occur. 

Species Pre-1970 Post-1970 % Decline 

Ophioglossum azoricum 34 7 79 

Pilularia globulifera 63 22 65 

Lycopodiella inundata 42 16 62 

Lycopodium annotinum 1 38 76 45 

Equisetum variegatum 62 35 44 

Equisetum pratense 125 79 37 

Thelypteris palustris 6 4 33 

Asplenium septentrionale 10 7 30 

Cystopteris montana 20 15 25 

6. What is SNH doing? 

There are three particular things that SNH is doing. 

First, the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, which fulfills the UK's obligations to the 1992 Rio 
Conference, sets targets. Most of these relate to work on habitats, but SNH is also 
required to prepare action plans for Scotland's rarest species and to increase public 
awareness of biodiversity. 

Second, the Strategic Framework for plant conservation developed by the three country 
agencies (Scottish Natural Heritage, English Nature and the Countryside Council for 
Wales), working with the Joint Nature Conservancy Committee, has recently been 
agreed. The main aims are: to maintain the character of the natural flora; to maintain the 
natural range of species and their assemblages; to ensure the viability of species and 
assemblages, recognising the risks of depletion of commoner species and assemblages; 
to enhance the security of threatened species and their assemblages; to prevent the 
anthropogenic extinction of species over all or part of their range; and to recognise the 
importance of the UK's flora in an international context. 

Third, SNH is encouraging partnership projects, e.g. the Scottish Rare Plants Project with 
the Royal Botantic Garden Edinburgh. SNH's own programme on species recovery is to 
be lauched in 1995, but the emphasis on caring for Scotland's rarer species will be in 
partnership with other organisations. 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 



Pteridologist welco 

history and horticulture of ferns and related plants 

literature art architecture, music, furniture, folklore etc 

in fact, anything fern-related. 

SCRIPT: Ideally text should be provided in the form of a file downloaded to a floppy disc 
from a PC type of computer (not Mac or AMSTRAD PCW, though I'm trying to find 

. „i„„ ,.„*...„„, ™h rr^u hommp ahlfil I can use formatted material from most 

ell as WORDPER- 

care because even I get very tired and cross dealing with i 
;ts of communication. One space between sentences, please. 
)uterless authors, please try. If you really can't, I'll accept type-script 
, spidery scrawl on tatty bits of twice-used fish & chip wrappers! It just rr 

CONVENTIONS: Scientific names should be in it; 
manuscript), the authority normal thus: 

Polystichum setiferum I 

Variety names should be in normal type, capitalised and 
commas thus: 

Polystichum setiferum 'Plumoso-divi 

Common names should be in lower case: 

soft shield fern 
ILLUSTRATIONS: These days printers are able to reproduce j 
on text pages from B&W originals, colour prints 
text. If supplying photocopy silhouettes please i 

them too often, quality is lost. Plea; 

So you can see there are really very ferrules 
I look forward to receiving ferny ^'clesma-iyform 
but youV make me particularly happy if you send stuff on 

8 01904 432878/431328 

or B if you teveany^uerie^ 

Pteridologist 2, 6(1995) 


Please send contributions for PTERIDOLOGIST 1996 

(the sooner, the better, but please by 13th March) 

James Menyweather 

alogy Department, PO Box 373, University of York, York U.K. YOl 5YW 
101904 432878/431328 FAX 01904 432860 S JWM5@YORK.AC.UK 


a very comprehensive collection is stocked by 


36 Lindeth Road, Silverdale, Lancashire LA5 OTY 



Honeybourne Road, Pebworth, 
Nr Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 8XT 

Hardy & tender ferns 
Catalogue on request 


Judith I Jones 

Specialising in North American and British hardy ferns 

Send Two International Reply Coupons for Catalogue 

1911 4th Avenue West, S eattle, Washington, 9811 9, U.S.A. 


Sue & Harry Olsen 
2003 128th Avenue S.E. 
Bellevue, WA 98005 USA 


Hazel & Martin Rickard 
Kyre Park, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire WR1 5 8RP 

« 01 885 410282 


The Fern Nursery, Grimsby Road, Binbrook, Linc sJ^ 


Roger Grounds 

Hordle Lane, Lymington, Hants 

* 01590 624130 


The organisers extend all good wishes for a successful 1995 

17th, 18th, 19th AUGUST 1995 

Schedules and further information from: 

The Flower Show Secretary 

44 Houghton Street, Southport, PR9 0PQ 

The British Pteridological Society 


— Contents — 

Volume 2, Part 6, 1995 


Editorial James Merryweather 

The President's letter Dr Trevor Walker 

Hiking boots and fern spore dispersal Adrian Dyer 

The errant fk>TavoXoyo<; in north-east Corfu James Merryweather 

Ferns don't like it acid Peter Hainsworth 

Variation in Dryopteris aemula Martin Rickard & Alison Paul 

A pteridological Peter Pan Gavin Stark 

Yet another use for bracken Adrian Dyer 

Marsilea poisoning in 1 9th century Australia Michael Grant 

Exhibiting ferns in competitive classes AR Busby 

Loss of ferns in Mauritius Yousef Cardinouche 

Fern hunting in eastern Crete James Merryweather 

A Cornish tin mine and its ferns Rose Murphy 

Conservation in action j ac k Bouckley 

Hazards of fern collecting in Ecuador Robert G. Stoltze 

Foliage Gardens Sue & Harry Olsen 

The fifth anniversary of the Dutch Fern Society Martin Rickard 


The Ecology and Conservation of Scotland's Rare Ferns 


BPS member honoured ! 

Matteuccia on the menu Michael Grant 

Bulbils on fronds of Asplenium scolopendrium Martin Rickard 

Outstanding successes at Chelsea flower show Jack Bouckley 

The fernery at Danesbury Antnon y Pjggott 

....and yet another use for bracken? James Merryweather 

A scrape from a skimpy scollie jack Bouckley 


Flora of Glamorgan by A. E. Wade, Q. O. N. Kay & R. G. Ellis 
Perns for American gardens by John Mickel 
An illustrated fern flora of west Hymalaya, vol 1 by S. P. Khullar 
Hong Kong ferns by Dr M. L. So 


Pteridologist Volume 2 Part 5 was published on 13th May jggj^^, 

Published by the British Pteridological Society - 

Typeset by the editor Mitfesipof tiffing, <*&& - printed by MAXIPRINTof YORK 



; the information given 

much appreciate being notified o 

wishing to pursue a greater knowledge of f 

the Society's activities are available from ^ - . 

Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD. 

H Hardy Plant Society Member 

M British Pteridological Society Member 

N Nursery or Garden Centre w/ ~rpr 

NC National Collection recognised by the NCCi-u 

NT National Trust property 

NTS National Trust for Scotland property 

P Garden open to the public (whether publicly or privately 

Private Garden 

Alison Davies, Comberton, CB3 7EF. Dryopteris (7 vars), Athyrium (7 vars, i 
'Angusto-cruciatum'), Polystichum, Polypodium, Matteuccia, Asplenium. Open: 2 
(for charity) or by appt. A/E(charity)/H/X. Tel: 0223 264159. 


glasshouse ferns. Open all year; M-Sa, 8am-6.30pm/dusk; Su, 10anT-6.30pm. 

Sa)/P. Tel: 0223 336265. 

The Fernery, Tatton Park Gardens, Knutsford, WA16 6QN. Fernery 
antarctica, Cyathea smithii, Cyathea dealbata, Woodwardia radicans. Opei 
every day except Mon (open B.Hols.) E/NT/P/S. Free to NT members. Te 

Bridget Graham, Polpey, Par. Small fernery; 1 acre garden with various fern 
species: Woodwardia, Dryopteris, Polystichum (inc. unusual ones from Nepal), Cyrtomium. 
Open llam-5pm by appointment only. A/E(donation to BPS)/M/X. Tel: 0726 813219. 

Penjerick Garden, Budock Water, Falmouth, TR11 5ED. Jane Bird, Head Gardener(M). 
Tender ferns: Dicksonia antarctica (5.5m high; 2.10m girth), Pteris cretica, Polystichum 
polyblepharum, Selaginella kraussiana, plus native ferns inc. Osmunda regalis, Cystopteris 
fragilis; also mosses & liverworts. Fern collection being developed in association with Royal 
Botanical Garden Edinburgh. Guided tours for groups. Open: Sun pm and Wed pm from 1 
March-30 Sept. A/E/M/P/X. Tel: 0326 250074. 

Trengwainton Gardens, Near Heamoor, Penzance, TR20 8RZ. Peter Horder, Head Gardener. 
National Trust garden including Dicksonia antarctica, Osmunda regalis, Asplenium 
scolopendrium, varieties of Blechnum and Polystichum, also Dryopteris, Matteuccia. Open: 
W,Th,F,Sa & B.Hols; March-Oct. 10.30am-5.00pm(530 Apr-Sept). Coaches by Appointment 
F/NT/P/S. Tel: 0736 63148. 

Trewidden Estate Nursery, Trewidden, Penzance, TR20 8TT. Mr M G Snellgrove, Manager. 
Dicksonia antartica. Open M-Sa, 8am-lpm & 2-5pm. E/N/S. Tel: 0736 62087. 

Hartside Nursery, Alston, CA9 3BL Neil and Susan Huntly. Specialist alpine nursery stocking 
good range of container-grown hardy ferns, inc. some rarities. Open: March-Oct: M-F, 9am- 
5.30pm; Sa & B.Hols lOam^pm; Su 12.304pm; Nov-Feb: by appt. A(Nov-Feb)/F/N/S. Tel: 
0434 381372. 

The Lakeland Horticultural Society Gardens, Holehird, Ullswater Road, Windermere, LAB 
1NP. Miss C J Kelsall (M). National Collection of Polystichum (47 taxa); fern border and 
ferns throughout garden (30 taxa of 9 genera). Private Trust open to public all year 9am-dusk. 
F/NC/S(May)/P. Tel: 09662 6008 (llam-5pm, Apr-Oct). 

: ferns in woodland; unusual 

Plant Hunters' Plant Centre, Levens Hall, Levens, Kendal. 

varieties in retail plant centre; also Heaves r 

Easter Sunday to 30 Sept, 10.30am-5.00pm. F/N/S. Tel: I 

Sizergh Castle, Levens, Kendal, LA8 8AE. Mr M Hutcheson, Head Gardener (M). National 
Collections of Asplenium scolopendrium, Cystopteris, Dryopteris, Osmunda. Open: Apr-31 Oct, 
M,T,W,Th,Su,B.Hols, 12.30-5.30pm(gardens) 1.30-5.45pm(castle). E/NC/NT/P. Tel: 0539 

Kings Gatchell, Higher Metcombe, Ottery St. Mary, EX11 1SL Mr Kenneth Adlam (M). 
Private garden with National Collection of ferns (general). Open see Nat. Gardens Scheme 
Yellow Book. A/E(50p)/F(BPS members)/M/NC/S/X. Tel: 0404 813944. 

Knightshayes Gardens Trust, The Garden Office, Knightshayes, Tiverton, EX16 7RG. Mainly 
British ferns & varieties. Nat. Trust garden open Apr-Oct, llam-530pm. E/N/NT/S. Tel: 
0884 253264. 

Anthony Marriage, Rocombe, Lyme Regis. 3 acre private woodland garden with approx. 50 
species of ferns and a few varieties, plus rare trees and shrubs. Open occasional Suns/Mons 
under National Gardens Scheme in Apr, May & Nov otherwise by appointment A/E(for 
charity)/M/S/X. Tel: 0297 443295. 


Kingston Lacy House Wimborne, BH21 4EA 18 varieties of Dryopteris, Polystichum, 
Asplenium, Athyrium,' Matteuccia, Adiantum. Open Apr-Oct, MT,W,Sa,Su, 1130am- 
6pm(gardens), 12-430(house). E/F(NT members)/NT/P/S(not ferns). Tel: 0202 883402. 

Mr & Mrs C W Wright, Seaborough, Beaminster DT8 3QY. Two-acre garden with many native 
ferns inc. Polystichum setiferum 'Plumosum Bevis' & descendant. Open under National 
Gardens Scheme or by appt. A/E/H/S(occasionally)/X. Tel: 0308 68426. 

Highfield Nurseries, 1 

Dryopteris, ] 

Su, llam-4pm. F/N/S. Tel: 0452 740266. 

Apple Court Nursery, Hordle Lane, Hordle, Lymington, S041 OHU. Roger Grounds or Diana 
Grenfell(M). 15-20 ferns including National Collection of Woodwardia; varieties of British & 
North American ferns. Open daily 10am-5pm. F/N/NC/S. 0590 642130. 

Hillier Nurseries (Winchester) Ltd, Ampfield House, Ampfield, Romsey, S051 9PA Small 
chain of nurseries in Winchester, Romsey, Sunningdale and Newbury. Basic list of Hardy Ferns, 
including Adiantum, Asplenium, Athyrium, Blechnum, Dryopteris, Matteuccia, Onoclea, 
Osmunda, Polypodium, Polystichum. 
Open 9am-5.30pm, M-Sa; 10am-5.30, Su & B.Hols. F/N/P/S. Tel: 0962 842288. 

Spinners, School ] 

Abbeydore Court, Abbeydore, HR2 0AD. C L Ward. Private garden with Polystichum, 
Polypodium, Athyrium, etc. Open from 3rd Sa in Mar to 3rd Su Oct: llam-6Dm daily (closed 
Wed). E/P/S. Tel: 0981 240419. 

Mrs D M Blanchard, Fern Grotto, Near Leominster HR6 8RL A 'Pulhamite' Fernery built 
1872 by Josiah Newman (brother of Edward) with dropping well and stream containing various 
pteridophytes, some probably from the original collection of Edward Newman. Open any time 
by appointment A/F/M/X. Tel: 0568 612063. 

The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, SY8 2HP. 

1) Mrs Hazel Rickard: Polypodium, hardy & half hardy fern nursery; many unusual. 
A/F/M/N/S, and 

2) Mr Martin Rickard: One acre garden with National Collection of Polypodium, Cystopteris 
and thelypteroid ferns, plus general fern collection. Some 900 taxa in all, predominantly hardy. 
A/F/M/NC/X. Tel: 0568 86282. 

Study collections of Dryopteris and Equisetum. 
airily hardy species and 

Culag, Nafferton, Driffield, Humberside. Mrs J K Marston (M). Nursery with \ 
species & varieties. Open: Sa & Su, 130-5pm, Easter - mid-Sep, otherwise by 

dive Jermy, Otford TN14 5QR. Dryopteris. Open: June/July only by appt. A/F/M/X. Tel: 

Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Sissinghurst, Cranbrook, TN17 2AB. Wide variety of hardy ferns 
grown for their ornamental value in mixed plantings. Open: Easter to 13 Oct: Tu-F l-6pnr 
Sa/Su 10am-6pm; closed Mons. incl. Bank Hols. E/NT/P/S. Tel. 0580 712850. 

Waithman Nurseries, 36 Lindeth Road, Silverdale, LA5 OTY. Reginald Kaye (M). British 
species & varieties, mainly British hardy species. Open: M-Sa, 8am-12 & l-5pm 5 
F/M/N/S. Tel: 0524 701252. 

The Fern Nursery, Grimsby Road, Binbrook, LN3 6DH. Neil Timm (M). British a 
species and cultivars. Open: Weekends and most weekdays 10am-5pm; 1 Marcl 
F/M/N/S. Tel: 0472 398092. 

Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS. Historic apothecaries' 
garden with collection of ferns first described or cultivated by Thomas Moore (Curator, 1848- 
1887); planted in restored 1907 fern house. Open Apr -mid-Oct: W & Su, 2-5pm; also Chelsea 
Show Week: Tu-F, 12-5pm. B/E/P/S(rarely ferns). Tel: 071 352 5646. 


Southport Botanic Gardens, Botanic Road, Churchtown, Southport PR9 7NB. Indoor Fernery 
built late 1870s with grottos and waterfalls; hardy & half hardy ferns inc. Dicksonia situated in 
public park managed by Sefton Parks Dept. Open: 10am-4pm, April - end Sep. B/F/P. Tel: 
0704 214164. 

Howick Gardens, Alnwick, Northumberland. Wooded garden specialising in rhododendrons, 
includes Blechnum penna-marina, Matteuccia and Osmunda. Open: Apr-Sep, 2-7pm. E/P. Tel: 
0665 577285. 

Newstead Abbey Park, Nottingham NG15 8GE. Hardy ferns i 
I860 in abbey gardens managed by City of Nottingham. Gardens 
last Friday in November. E/P. Tel: 0623 793557. 

University of Oxford Botanic Gardens, Rose Lane, Oxford, O] 
ferns. Open: 9am-5pm (winter:4.30pm); greenhouses, 2-4pm; < 
B/E(Jul & Aug)/F(Sep-June)/P. Tel: 0865 242737. 


Mrs Joyce Heywood, Chapel Chorlton, ST5 5JN. Various hardy ferns in garden of unusual 
hardy plants. A/F/H/S/X. Tel: 0782 680206. 

Mrs Pat Roberts, Seale, Farnham GU10 1NG. Woodland garden with hardy ferns. A/F/M/X. 
Tel: 02518 2778. 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Approx. 1200 taxa of temperate and 
tropical pteridophytes grown, many of which are displayed, mainly in the Princess of Wales 
Conservatory. Open: M-Sa, 10am-6.30 (winter: 4pm), Su & B.Hols, 10am-8pm. B/E/P. Tel: 
081 940 1171. 

Royal Horticultural Society Garden, Wisley, Woking, GU23 6QB. Extensive collection of hardy 
species and cultivars inc. Polystichum, Dryopteris, Polypodium, Osmunda, etc. in gardens, 
woodlands and greenhouses. BPS Centenary collection by the glasshouses. Open all year; M-Sa 
10am-7pm/Dusk; Su RHS members only. B/E/F(RHS members)/P/S. Tel: 0483 224234. 

Savill Garden, Wick Lane, Englefield Green, Egham, TW20 0UU. John Bond, Keeper of the 
Gardens (M). National Collection of Hardy Ferns distributed throughout the garden. Open: 
all year (except 25-28 Dec), M-F, 10am-6pm, Sa/Su, 10am-7pm/sunset. E/NC/P/S. Tel: 0753 

University of London Botanic Garden, Egham Hill, Egham, TW20 0BN. Brian Gale, Curator 
(M). University botanic garden with wide range of species (inc. tropical) of ferns and fern 
allies, but no cultivars. Open on Open Days and by appointment. A/B/E/M. Tel: 0784 433303 
(Brian Gale or Anne Daly). 

Wakehurst Place (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew), Ardingly, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH17 
6TN. Limited collections of cultivated hardy ferns, including Osmunda, Blechnum, Polystichum, 
plus ferns of the Sussex Weald in woodlands, incl. Dryopteris aemula. Open: all year, times 
vary. B/E/NT/P. Tel: 0444 892701. 

Fibrex Nurseries Ltd, Honeybourne Road, Pebworth, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 8XT. MR 
Hazel Key (M). Nursery with British & foreign hardy and tender ferns. Open: Apr-Jul, T-Su, 
12-5pm; Aug-Mar, M-F, 12-5pm. F/M/N/S. Tel: 0789 720789. 

University Botanic Garden, 
Birmingham B15 2RT Prof. R.AD. Can 
414 5590. 

Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses, Westbourne Road, Edgbastc 
B15 3TR. Mainly indoor, inc. tree ferns in Palm House, and some hardy ferr 
lOam-dusk (or 8pm). B/E/P/S. Tel: 021 454 1860. 

Mr A R Busby, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD. Private garder 
Osmunda and a wide selection of British and foreign hardy I 
A/F/M/X Tel: 0203 715690. 

Alan and Valerie Ogden, Hopwood, Birmingham. Private garden with British & foreign species 
& varieties, incl. Dryopteris, Polystichum, Adiantum, Osmunda, Matteuccia & Onoclea; some 
in greenhouse. A/M/X. Tel: 021 445 3804. 

Treasures of Tenbury Ltd, Burford House Gardens, Burford, Tenbury Wells, WR15 8HQ. Wide 
range of ferns in garden borders, garden centre, 18thC house, gardening museum, tea room. 
Open mid-March to mid-Oct, M-Sa 10am-5pm; Su l-5pm; in winter M-F by appL 
A(winter)/E/N/P/S. 0584 810777. 

Yorks. Private garden, general ferns. A/F/M/S/X Tel: 

Northern Horticultural Society, Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens, Crag Lane, Harrogate, N. 
Yorks. HG3 1QB. National Collections of Dryopteris & Polypodium. Open: all year, 9am-dusk. 
B/E/NC/P/S. Free to NHS members. Tel: 0423 508237. 

Branklyn Garden, Branklyn, Perth PH2 7BB. National Trust for Scotland garden with extensive 
collection of approximately 40 species and varieties of Adiantum, Asplenium, Athyrium, 
Blechnum, Cryptogramma, Cystopteris, Dryopteris, Gymnocarpium Osmunda, Onoclea, 
Matteuccia, Phegopteris, Polypodium, Polystichum, Selaginella. Open: 1 March - 31 Oct., 
9J0am-sunset. E/NTS/P/S. Tel: 0738 25535. 

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Stobo, Peeblesshire EH45 9JU. David Knott, Asst. Curator. A 
specialist garden of the RBG Edinburgh with hardy native and N. American ferns in a woodland 
garden. Open daily: 15 March - 31 Oct. 10am-6pm or by appt. B/E/P. Tel: 0721 254. 

Glasgow Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0UE. National Collection 
of Tree Ferns (Kibble Palace), tropical ferns including collection from Papua New Guinea, in 
Main range of glasshouses. Open: Kibble Palace, 10am-430pm daily; Main range, 1430pm 
daily; Filmy Fern House by request. Affflmy fems)/B/F/NC/P. Tel: 041 334 2422. 

Peter Hainsworth, AchnasheUach, Ross-shire. Private garden approx. 100 species plus some 
variants of native and exotic ferns in 1 acre wild garden; less hardy ferns in plastic tunnel. 
A/F/M/X Tel: 0520 6218. 

Linn Nursery, Shore Road, Cove, Dunbartonshire, G84 ONR. Dr J Taggart. Osmunda, 
Dryopteris, Athyrium and Polypodium in lake-side setting, marsh and rockery in Gulf Stream 
garden of over 6,000 species/varieties. Open: lOam-dusk; closed Thurs & Sun am. 
F/N/P/S(not ferns). Tel: 0436 842242. 

Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan, Stranraer, Wigtownshire DG9 9ND (14 miles south of 
Stranraer on B7065). Barry Unwin, Asst. Curator. Specialist garden of RBG Edinburgh, 
established 100 years ago by sea in Gulf Stream. Temperate, southern hemisphere plants; tree 
ferns inc. various Macaronesian and southern hemisphere ferns in walled garden. Open daily: 
15 March - 31 Oct. 10am-6pm or by appt. B/E/P/S. Tel: 0776 86231. 

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5LR. Dr C N Page (M). 
Subtropical Fern House; various study collections including Equisetum & Pteridium. 
Open: March-April 10am-6pm; May-Aug 10am-8pm; Sept-Oct 10am-6pm; Nov-Feb 10am-4pm. 
A(Dr Page)/B/F/P. Tel: 031 552 7171. 

Alison Rutherford, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire. Trichomanes speciosum, Hymenophyllum 
demissum in Wardian Case; small fern border in garden; woodland fernery in progress. Open: 
Evenings (exc. Sa). A/F/M/X. Tel: 0436 71510 (after 10.30am exc. Weds) or 75603 (eves). 

Younger Botanic Garden, Benmore, Dunoon, Argyll PA23 8QU. Arthur Hall, Asst. Curator. 
A specialist garden of RBG Edinburgh with 26 species of native ferns in woodland garden. 
Open daily: 15 March - 31 Oct. 10am-6pm or by appt. B/E/P/S. Tel: 0369 6261. 

1 Collection of Dryoptens 
(over 300 taxa) and many oth e -^rubs and herbaceous plants, 

in May and June (under National Gardens Scheme) and by 
A/E(for charity)/M/NC/X. Tel: 0656 766880. 


Mrs Gunilla Hailes, Guernsey. Adiantum, Asplenium, Athyrium, Blechnum x 3, Dryopteris, 
Gymnocarpium, Matteuccia, Onoclea, Osmunda x 5, Polypodium, Polystichum; plus 100' tropical 
A/F/M/X. Tel: 0481 47293. 


National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9. Dr Charles Nelson. Tropical fern species in 
glasshouses; hardy ferns out of doors; miscellaneous collections of other Pteridophytes. Open. 
Summer 9am-6pm; Winter 10am-4.30pm; glasshouses at times as posted. B/F/P. Tel: (010 353; 
1 374388. 


Botanischer Garten der Universitat Freiburg, Schanzlestrasse 1, D-7800 Freiburg I.BR. ] 
Dr D Vogellehner (M). University botanical collection including: Polypodia " 
Aglaomorpha heraclea, A. coronans, Hemionitis arifolia, Cyathea australis. Open: 
2-4pm; Su 10am-12/2-4pm. B/F/P/S. Tel: (010 49) 671 2032763. 

: Tu,Th,Sat