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Volume 1 Part 1 





Edited by I 

MR Richard ^eseeeJ 

Officers and Committee for 1 984 

President: A. C. Jermy 
J. W. Dyce, Dr R. E. 

War ley, West H 

Treasurer Dr B. A. Thomas, Biological Sciences Department, Goldsmiths' College, 

Rachael McMillan Building, Creek Road, London SE8 3BU 

Meetings Secretary Kathryn Kavanagh, British Museum (Natural History), 

Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD. Tel: 01 589 6323, Ext. 797 

Editors of the Fern Gazette Dr M. Gibby, Dr C. N. Page, Dr B. S. Parris 

Material for publication should be sent to C. N. Page, Royal Botanic Garden, 

Edinburgh EL3 5LR 

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

Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 2HP 

Committee M. Barker, J. M. Camus, J. K. Cramp, P. J. Edwards, R. P. H. Lamb, 

A. Pigott, R. Rush, G. Tonge, Dr A. Willmot, J. R Woodhams 

Membership Secretary Lt.Col. P. G. Coke, c/o 17 Hillcrest, Baker Street, 

(temporary address) Weybridge, Surrey KT1 3 8AD 

Fern Distribution Recorder A. J. Worland, 102 Queens Close, Harston, 

Cambs, CB2 5QN 

Spore Exchange Organiser R. F. Cartwright, 13 Perry Mill Road. Peopleton, 

Pershore, Worcestershire 

Archivist N. A. Hall, 15 Mostyn Road, Hazel Grove. Stockport, Cheshire 

t ferns through the medium of its 
[eraiure. it also organises formal talks, informal discussions, field 
t exchanges and a spore exchange scheme The Society has a wide 

i rates (due o 

5 Bulletin Society b 

Membership i< 

i year) are Full Personal Members £7; Personal Memb 

lent Members £5 ., ons for membership snould t^ 

3 Secretary (address above)from whom further details can be obtained (Remi 

Gazette £5; 

i Treasurer (address 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 



This is the 75th year of publication of our main society journal — The Fern Gazette. For 
many years the Gazette was dedicated to the fern grower and especially the variety 
enthusiast. It seems appropriate therefore that we should mark this anniversary by 
launching a new publication aimed at improving our service to growers and other 

The title of this journal, the Pteridologist, has been carefully chosen to be very general so 
that it can legitimately include any item of fern or fern ally interest (other than technical 
items which will continue to go in the Gazette and Society business which will go in the 
Bulletin). The title is also very distinctive and in conversation is unlikely to be confused 
with any other subject or journal. 

I mentioned above that 1984 marks 75 years since the launch of The Fern Gazette in 
1909 (only suspended during World War II). In fact the Society did publish Reports and 
Records, containing 2 or 3 articles a year on ferns and fern growing, annually from 1 894 
to 1 905. For 3 years there was then an apparent lack of any publication until C.T. Druery 
began The British Fern Gazette (the 'British' was dropped in 1974). One could argue, 
rather loosely, that our Society publications are therefore 90 years old this year! 
The point of giving this brief history is to bring the subject of the old Gazette before the 
membership as a whole. They are all still available, either as reprints or originals, from Dr 
Barry Thomas (address on inside of front cover). Volumes I to VIII are recommended to 
anyone interested in learning about fern growing, the history of our Society, or aboutthe 
great varieties of the past. Volumes IX to XII are also recommended but they become 
progressively more technical and contain relatively little of interest to the grower, but, of 
course, are a source of much information on subjects of international fern study. 
The earlier Reports and Records are not currently available, but it is hoped that these too 
may be reprinted in the not too distant future. 

While on the subject of early Society publications. I should mention The Book of British 
Ferns by Druery. This was not published by the Society as such, but it was the result of 
work by a Society Committee set up to enumerate all the worthwhile varieties. This was 
published in 1903 and copies are still sometimes available through BPS Booksales 
Perhaps it is time for the Society to think about an update of this volume? 
For many years the Society's journals have published many new varietal names — most 
illegitimately This might sound like irrelevent botanical jargon, but I am sure most 
members can see the sense in giving some guide to future recognition of a new cultivar, 
other than simply a name. In this issue 3 new varieties are described and two of them are 
illustrated. By next year the Committee hope to be able to draw up a standard format for 
the publication of new variety names. When available these guidelines will be included in 
a future Pteridologist. Our President, Clive Jermy, touches on this problem in his account 
of the Scaly Male Fern in this issue. Our past President, Jimmy Dyce, is also working in 
this area, and is currently in the final stages of preparing a glossary of fern variety names 
The production of this first issue of the Pteridologist only five months after the recent 
Bulletin is a tribute to the efforts of many contributors who have kept me well supplied 
with suitable material. I thank them all, but I must single out Richard Rush for special 
mention; not only has he contributed several items but he has also designed our new 
cover _ against a very tight time schedule. In addition he has designed the covers for 
future Bulletins and Gazettes (beginning with Volume XIII). 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

This brings me to the subject of material for future Pteridologists. May I take 
opportunity of gently reminding membersto continue to send me suitable articles?! I 
illustrated with black and white photographs would be particularly welcome, as v 



I forget how many years it is since Robert Whiteside offered me his collection of ferns, 
which he was unable to take to his new home in Morecambe. The collection was planted 
in a north sloping quite extensive garden in Lancaster with a stream at the bottom and 
most of the ferns were in fine fettle though the labels were all over the place as a horse 
had got in and rampaged through the garden. 

Amongst the ferns was a small moribund stump which Bob informed me was the sole 
plant of a fine crisped variety of Dryopteris dilatata which he found on Clougha, near 
Lancaster. I took the object away and it spent the next three years in a shady corner with a 
2-lb jam jar inverted over it. Eventually a tiny frond appeared and I planted it in the corner 
of a trough garden I was making at the time. 

For the next three or four years it existed, only making at the most two or three 3-4 inch 
fronds. It was taken out and I think grown in a pot for a year or two in my mist house, and 
eventually planted out amongst other weaklings in a shady bed, and, I fear, forgotten 
about. Some three or four years later I noticed quite a good crispy frond poking up amongst 
the mass of British natives for which my fern garden is well known. It was removed to a 
new bed I was making and it has never looked back, though occasional sowings of spores 
always seemed to be failures. 

However, a sowing made some three years ago resulted in a very strong germination from 
which I potted up a year or so ago a few hundred plants. These are completely uniform, 
beautifully crisped, the young plants under the greenhouse stage looked like a batch of D. 
aemula but are undoubtedly 'dilatatas' and I now feel that this variety is quite in the top 
class. The original plant is still a single crown, but typically furnished with dark brown 
scales and looks like a normal dilatata' until the fronds expand, and it is formally 
described below: 

Dryopteris dilatata Crispa Whiteside '. A form of D. dilatata (Hottm )A Graytypicalinall 
respects but with the blade of mature fronds 'crispy', i.e. the marginal teeth and parts of 
the ultimate segments turned upwards similar in general effect to our British D. aemula 
and D. crispifoha from the Azores (see p. 13) 

i particularly pleased to think that in spite of many vicissitudes what Bob Whiteside 


It is particularly interesting that this variety should re-emerge at a time when we are 
becoming aware of Dryopteris crispilolia (see p. 1 3). I grow both ferns and while the D. 
d.latata Crispa' is only one year out of Reg Kaye's Nursery, and hence not yet mature, it 
is c| ear that there are many similarities between them. Overall they do look 'different but 
•t is difficult to pinpoint the differences. The only answer is to get plants of both these 
i and grow them side by side. (Editor) 



Although they may differ considerably in their requirements or preferences when mature, 
most ferns can be raised from spores by an effective standard procedure. How widely 
applicable is this assertion, the like of which we may have read? Can we infer that "most 
ferns" means "mainstream ferns" or "typical true ferns"? If so, can we assume that 
groups which would seem to be excluded, such as Ophioglossaceae, aquatic ferns (such 
as Azolla and Salvinia), and, of course, the fern allies, will usually not be raisable? 
This article arose because, seeing Hymenophyllum and Selaginella species in spore lists I 
realised that I did not know whether either was raisable. It was only by chance that I 
learned that Hymenophyllum spores are green and short-lived — and it was by then 
already too late as far as the spores I had were concerned. Deciding to enquire further into 
such matters, I thought it would be useful to broaden the scope of my enquiries. 
Cultivation books generally have nothing to say on raising fern allies and "atypical" ferns 
(Hoshizaki 1975, as I belatedly discovered, is more informative than most, but what she 
says on raising Selaginella. for example, is not in the chapter on "Propagation" nor under 

architecture, but usually (in books) none to the stages and cycle, and aspects thereof, in 
between. Is it not curious that we are not shown gametophytes, and the early stages of 
sporophytes? Most fern books seem primarily concerned with identification of species, as 
sporophytes. Nevertheless I find it difficult to understand why, learning that filmy ferns 
have green spores (for example) and then back-checking with modern books, such 
features are not usually even briefly noted. 

I will attempt to clarify some questions of raisability, to note special factors such as short- 
lived spores, and to suggest, more generally, that even while the object of our spore 
cultures may be to produce new ferns for our gardens they might also be a source of 
interest in themselves. I am much obliged to Clive Jermy and Barbara Parris for 
answering questions on raisability and for additional notes and comments. My concern, I 
should say, was expressly with deliberate raising from spores, using simple methods. 
Ease or difficulty of cultivation thereafter need not invariably relate directly to ease or 
difficulty of raising. What is unraisable need not be ungrowable, while what is easily 

An open question mentioned to me was whether there might be som 
between the epiphytic habit and slowness from spores. Most epiphytes, i 
seem to have filamentous prothalli, as distinct from the more familiar corda 
point worth bearing in mind when we have no idea of how, once raised, a sf 
be treated. There are cases (not often occurring with ferns we could easily a 
and would be likely to try) where slowness from spores is carried to an ext 
prothalli may be long-lived and disinclined to proceed to the sporophyte c 
understood that this was so with Dipteris but don't know how to square this, as reportedly 
the common experience, with the very short viability of spores given in Lloyd & Klekowski, 
which would make raising prothalli unlikely to be common away from established plants. 
Some gametophytes, those of a Vittaria species occurring in N.America being a known 
example, become established in asexually reproducing colonies, without (or only very 
rarely, and then not successfully establishing) sporophytes arising. Seemingly this 
phenomenon occurs where the gametophyte generation has developed beyond the range 
in which sporophytes could survive, demonstrating what, as amateur fern raisers, we 
might suppose from observation of spore cultures: that gametophytes sometimes seem 

either more or less hardy than we would expect. How common, it might be asked, is the 
capacity for asexual reproduction in and of gametophytes — how much has this been 
studied — and is it a response to adversity? Subjecting spore cultures to adversity has 
been brought to a fine art by some of us, so this might be an area in which amateurs might 
make interesting observations. I put it to botanists that they might consider suggesting 
specific points which amateur fern raisers might pay particular attention to. 
Green spores 

Green spores are chlorophyll-bearing spores of limited length of viability (exceptionally to 
about 1 year, usually far less). Green-spored pteridophytes are a minority and are usually 
plants of consistently wetter places. The majority of ferns have non-green spores, with a 
capacity for dormacy. Germination (meaning, following Lloyd & Klekowski, breakage of 
spore wall and the beginning of prothallial development) of green spores is normally 
notably rapid, decreasing as spores age: this need not mean that sporophytes are quickly 
raised, for in some cases the gametophytes, once developed, can be very slow growing. 
Sowing green spores as soon after collection as possible is usually advisable, and quite 
often is essential. With Osmunda it is known that length of viability can be increased by 
storing spores, sealed in a refrigerator. Green spores have relatively high water content 
and commonly rapid respiration: refrigeration (we might suppose) slows this down and 
thereby prolongs viability. We could therefore suppose that refrigeration would be 
effective in the same way for other green spores, of tender as well as hardy species. 
Presuming that we should normally want to raise ferns as a means of acquiring species 
which we do not already have, the first obstacle to success is obtaining fresh spores. On 
the figures given in Lloyd & Klekowski of known viability duration it might generally be 
said that while, in seeking spores, we will often have to gamble on their swift passage 
through the post, the attempt will very often be worthwhile. Most particularly with the 
shorter-lived spores, the sender might first sow them fresh and send them germinated, 
with moist peat or sphagnum; or the fresh spores may be put on a plug of moist peat in a 
plastic tube, plugged to pressurise the contents, where they will begin to germinate in 

i wnne the spores i 
sporangia: a small piece of fertile frond could be sent. There is obviously some 

While non-green spores, such as occur in most ferns, are usually longer- 
spores, there are known short-lived non-green spores as well as others of considerable 
longevity (e.g. 70 years). In some, perhaps most or all, of the families where green spores 
are the norm this, Lloyd & Klekowski postulate, may represent the primitive condition 
Being nearly always plants of consistently wetter places, short-lived spores are at no 
disadvantage. Green-spored species occurring as exceptions in otherwise non-green- 
spored, they suggest, may have green spores as a derived condition, these 
conserving the energy otherwise required for producing spores capable of dormancy. 
Allowing for my rewording, this last does not seem (to me) so compelling as an 
explanation, in itself, as to justify their description of the green-spored condition in these 
exceptional cases as "most likely derived". An obvious hypothesis would be that these 
exceptions might be primitive members of generally more advanced groups if ancestors 
of modern Matteuccia spp. had had non-green spores would there have been 
advantages in losing the dormancy capacity such as would outweigh the advantage 
most modern ferns apparently find in non-green spores? Could it not be that having, or 
having developed, unusually long-lived green spores Matteuccia has sidestepped the 
general evolutionary pressure favouring non-green spores - or has evolved an 
alternative "solution". With Os™/**, (per haps I) extravagant production of spores might 
be another alternative, so how does spore production of green-spored exceptions 
compare with that of non-green spored ferns in the same families? The exceptions noted 
by Lloyd & Klekowski are nearly all green-spored genera (such as Matteuccia) within 

primarily non-green-spored families. More surprising i 
within a genus: they report one such certainly known (e 

Croxall, is noted here), and they mention another as an as yet uncontirmea possiDiniy 
We would surmise that further such exceptions may remain to be recognised: rapid 
germination occurring at all, and the green colour itself fades (after several weeks with 
condition is not known at the outset the latter is a factor diminishing the likelihood of 
germination occurring at all, and the green colour itself fades (after several weekss with 
Osmunda). New observations of green-spored exceptions would usually depend upon 
access to living, spore-bearing plants, a suspicion that the spores are ripe when green, 
and then controlled and carefully observed experimental sowings. In short the green- 
spored condition is quite likely to go unrecognised. 

Lloyd & Klekowski's paper is fascinating and most instructive, drawing upon a wide range 
of published sources as well as on their own studies. I've here abstracted only such data 
as seems pertinent to this article: i.e. while heavily indebted to the paper this is no 
thorough digest, and no adequate substitute. 

Notes c 

KEY: Gs = green spores; Lv = length of viability (derived from Lloyd & Klekowski); Het. - 

heterosporous (= having mega- and microspores: most ferns are homosporous, having 

one kind of spore); CJ&M = Crabbe, Jermy & Mickel 1 975; L&K = Lloyd & Klekowski 1 970; 

J&C Jones = Jones & Clemesha 1981; BJH = Hoshizaki 1976. 

Psilotaceae: Psilotum — subterranean gametophytes; perhaps raisable keeping spore 
cultures in dark (?). BJH says intentional raising rarely successful: results have been 
achieved by sowing spores into pots of other plants in greenhouse. Growable & 
grown. Tmesipteris — cultivation requirements little known; high humidity 
necessary. Raisable? Probably requires soil fungus/mycorrhiza. 

Lycopodiaceae: Lycopodium (etc.) — can be raised, but very slow. Though spp. are 
generally difficult to grow, J&C describe epiphytic spp. as generally easier. 

Selaginellaceae: Selaginella — Het., raisable (mega- and microspores needed). BJH 
suggests cutting mature, sporangia-bearing leaf tips into y 2 " lengths and scattering 

Isoetaceae: Isoetes — Het., raisable only with special techniques (Sam 1 982 gives some 
refs). Stylites — as for Isoetes? 

Equisetaceae: Equisetum - Gs. (Lv for spp. instanced in L&K in the general region of 12 
days). Raisable. Gametophytes subterranean in nature, but L&K found spores 
germinated at a constant rate under different light and temperature regimes tried 
However, keeping spore cultures dark would seem advisable. 

Ophioglossaceae: Botrychium, Ophioglossum, Helminthostachys — gametophytes 
subterranean. If tried, spore cultures might best be kept in dark Whittier 1 981 is not 
encouraging, excepting that ease of achieving germination and the regimes required 
seem to vary between spp. Raising gametophytes may not be entirely impossible in 
every case: prothalli have a symbiotic relationship with a fungus — sporophytes 
seem not raisable deliberately. 

Osmundaceae: Osmunda, Todea. Leptopteris — all Gs., Lv, where known: O. 
banksiaefolia about 10 days; O. cinnamomea 43-54 days (source cited by L&K is 
work by Y. Okada: it might be inferred that figure relates to var. fokiensis); 0. japonica 
23-43 days; O. regalis 1 50-21 days; Or. var. spectabilis under 240days. N.b. Lvfor 
O. regalis derives from work by E. Gerhardt, published 1 927, that for var. spectabilis, 
which is in no conflict with Gerhardt's finding in Europe, from L&K's own studies — 
so why is Lv of O. regalis often described as a few days only? 

Plagiogyriaceae: Plagiogyria L&K put question mark against spore colour for 2 spp 
: Lv for P. semicorata over 1 .5 years. Germination very slow. 
i: Schizaea — prothalli have symbiotic relationship with fungus and there is 

no record of success in raising (J&C). Applicable also to closely allied Actinostachys? 
CJ&M include Lygodium, Anemia & Mohria in this family, but Lygodium spp. 
reputedly usually easy from spores and I know of no reason for assuming Anemia 
and Mohria problematical. 
Parkeriaceae: Ceratopteris — Homosporous unlike most aquatic ferns: should be easily 
and quickly raisable — they can take as little as 29 days from spores to spore 
producing plants. Spores can germinate when submerged or on wet mud in nature 
(J&C). Lv of C. thalictroides about 5 years. 
Hymenophyllaceae: Hymenophyllum. Trichomanes, Mecodium etc. (filmy ferns). A large 
family with many genera and spp.: Gs., Lv short — L&K give 1 9 days for one sp., 6 
days for another. We could assume Lv generally a few days only. In 2 Mecodium spp. 
studied germination occurred in sporangia. Fresh spores (or ripe fertile fronds might 
be better) could be sent by plastic tube method outlined. For 7 Hymenophyllum spp. 
studied germination was within a few hours. After germination, however, filmy fern 
prothalli seem normally extremely slow growing. 
Gleicheniaceae: Gleichenia. Sticherus, Dicranopteris etc. — spores non-green but L&K 
report Lv of 10 spp. in 4 genera as only 1 50-1 80 days. Holttum & Woodhams 1 976 
describe cultivation difficulties, but see J&C for spp. more suited to wider cultivation 
than those grown at Kew. 
Dipteridaceae: Dipteris — non-green spores, L&K say, but add question mark. Lv of D. 
conjugata few days only. Curious ferns, reputedly ungrowable, but success has been 
achieved at Kew on nutrient deficient substrate. 

Grammitidaceae: Grammitis etc. (many genera) - all Gs. Lv of examples in L&K under 45 
days. Spores can germinate in sporangia; whole sori on leaf tissue might be sent in 
airtight capsules. So far as I can ascertain they would seem as difficult to raise as 
they are, notoriously, intractible in cultivation. Most occur on mossy trees, 
sometimes rocks, in cloud-zones on tropical mountains and are seemingly highly 
evolved and specialised. CJ&M mc\udeLoxogramme in this family: it is variously 
treated by modern authors, often included in Polypodiaceae. I believe none of the 
above applies; that Loxogramma spp. can be and are raised and grown and (by 
supposition) are unlikely to have Gs. Horticulturally at least more like Polypodiaceae I 
think: if sporelings I have are Loxogramme sp., similarly slow 

Marsileaceae: Marsilea. Pilularia, Regnellidium — sporocarps. Lv of M. vestita over 68 
years. Easy: prick sporocarps with pin to allow water in, place in dish on moist 
blotting paper. 

Salviniaceae: Safvinia. and Azollaceae: Azolla - sporocarps, rarely produced (Mickel 

Exceptions in otherwise non-green-spored families: 

Polypodiaceae: 2 genera with Gs. Christiopteris and Marginariopsis. (C. tricuspis, Lv 
under 60 days; M. wiesbaurii, Lv under 90 days). 

Aspidiaceae (Aspleniaceae subfamily Athyriodeae of CJ&M): Matteuccia - Gs. (Lvof M. 
struthiopteris under 1 year); Onoclea - Gs. (Lv circa 1 year); Onocleopsis - Gs. (Lv 
of O. hintonii 1 20-1 50 days). 

(Subfamily Dryopteridoideae of CJ&M). Spore colour of Dryopteris viridescens 
queried by L&K. Lv reportedly 30- 100 days. (I've had and sown spores of this species, 
which were fresh. I didn't, at the time, pay attention to spore colour, but am surethe 
donor would have noticed something as remarkable as Gs. in Dryopteris). 

Blechnaceae: 2 Gs. spp. known, Blechnum nudum (Lv circa 90 days), and Stenochlaena 
sorbifo/ia (not in L&K). Could there be more? 

Note: My friend Cor van Moesdyk reports successfully storing Osmunda spores in a 

freezer, at— 20°C. He found spores of 0. rega/is, 0. claytoniana. O.r. 'Purpurascens', and 

says that while spores r 

C & MICKEL. . 
I. 28.3: 141-16 



Bulletin. 1, 4: 154-158. 
HOSHIZAKI, B.J. 1975. Fern Growers 
L &CLEMESHA, S.C. 1981 

Sydney (2nd edition). 
LLOYD, "■■ 

r the pteridophyte 

Ferns & Fern A 

& KLEKOWSKI, E.J. 1970. Spore germination 
s. Biotropica 2 

MICKEL, J.T. '1 97~9. How to Know the Ferns & Fern Allies. Wm. C. Brown & Co 

1982 The Ferns of Britain & Ireland. Cambridge University Press. 
SAM, S.J. 1982. A germination method for Isoetes. Amer Fern J. 72, 2:61. 
WHITTIER, DP. 1 981 . Spore germination and young gametophyte 
Ophioglossum in axenic culture. Amer. Fern J. 71 , 1:13-19. 


PLATES, 31 FIGS, 170 x 243 mm. PRICE : Dfl.75 (c£ 14.00). 

This ne 

w thorough 


and revision consid 

ers in depth 

primarily that of Barbara Joe H 

shizaki. Of the 18 species best k 


two are reduced to the 

of sub-spe 

ies, two are 

changed from one 

pecies' name 


name persis 

t as previously known — for a tot 

al of 15 specie 

and two 


(ssp.), as fc 



3. P. bifurcatum s 



P. elephantoti 
P. ellisii 
P. grande 
P. holttumii 
P. madagascar 

> also reviewed in the British Fern Gazette, 12, 166 (1983). 




William Bradbury Latham was born at Bicknacre, near Maldon, Essex, on February 13, 
1 835. He began his gardening career at the age of 1 3 in the garden of William McNeil, 
Esq. of Wandsworth Common. After three years' apprenticeship, he joined the nursery of 
Robert Neal. His interest also embraced botany and he began collecting British plants. At 
twenty years of age, he entered the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, spending much of the 
next 2'/ 2 years with the Palm, Heath, Orchid and Stove houses. After Kew, a short time 
was spent under Sir Joseph Paxton at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. Yet again, within a 
year, he had moved to the Jardine des Plantes, Paris. A year later, he returned to England 
to work in the greenhouses of Messrs Parker and Williams nursery at Holloway. From 
Holloway he was appointed gardener to Lt. Col. Perkins, Birtley Hall, Chester-le-Street, 
County Durham, in whose service he remained for eight years. Apparently, the collections 
at Birtley Hall included a fine assortment of ferns. 

In 1 868, Mr Catlin retired from the curatorship of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in 
Westbourne Road, Edgbaston and Mr Latham was appointed tothe office - a position he 
■ *-> hold for 35 years. When he retired in September 1903, the Trustees of the 

Gardens expressed their < 

zing, presenting him with a framed and a modest pension. In his time at the Gardens, he was responsible for 
many .mprovements including the extension of the glasshouses and the erection of a 
grand Palm House which was achieved by the private subscription he encouraged 
amongst the fr.ends of the Garden. He earned an enviable reputation as a sound all- 
round gardener of great knowledge, the foundation of which, must have been his wide 

be enjoyed at the Botanic Gardens. It is a magnificent hybrid tree-fern, Dicksonia x 
latnamn Presumed to be the only example of a known hybrid tree-fern in cultivation in 

i first described in the 

"Some years ago I had under my care a plant of the very rare Dicksonia 
arborescens. an imported plant, with a clear stem of from 3% to 4 feet in 
height, and having so completely the character of that figured in Hooker's 
Species Filicum (i., t.22) that I have no doubt it was the true plant. I collected 
spores from this plant and sowed them in a 5 inch pot, at the same time 
sowing in another pot of similar size some spores of D. antarctica These pots 
were placed side by side. In due time the prothalia came up very freely in the 
potofD. antarctica, but not so in the case of D. arborescens. Amongstthose in 
the pot of D. antarctica I noticed two very distinct from the rest, and these I 
carefully watched from day to day, and when at length the first little frond 
made .ts appearance I was delighted to see something different from the rest 
and what then appeared to be D. arborescens. 

"For some years after, while the plant was in a young state, it was supposed 
to be the latter plant, but when it began to develop its stem and the fronds 
grew to their full size, I saw it was distinct and had combined the characters of 
D. antarctica and D. arborescens, which I now believe to be its parents. The 
spores in some way having got mingled in the seed pot. 

"In the texture of its fronds it is very much like D. i 
character of the plant, taken as a whole, comes nee 
stem quite resembling that of the latter, only being stouter, while D. 
arborescens on the other hand has a thinner, more slender stem in the way of 
that of D. squarrosa. The habit of throwing up the young fronds one after the 
other and not all at one time to form a new crown of foliage, is also foreign to 
D. antarctica, and more nearly resembles the mode of development in D. 
Regrettably, D. arborescens has long since disappeared from the gardens and I have 
been able to track down a living specimen in Britain. It is native and still to be found ii 
Helena. It is still possible to compare D. x lathamiiwith a large plant of D. antarctica wl 

manner in which the new crown of fronds is produced. 

I have also examined the spores of D. x lathamii and they appear as white, poorly 

developed or badly wizened spores, however there appears to be a tiny percentage of 

healthy, golden brown spores which may prove viable. I feel that there is a lot more we 

can learn from Mr Latham's hybrid tree-fern. 

Another hybrid fern that Mr Latham is credited with (see Gardener's Chronicle 1914) is 

Gymnogramme x lathamiae, the parents being G. decomposite and G. schizophylla, but I 

know nothing of its history. There was also a hybrid between Atsophila excelsia and 

Oyathea insignis, (see Gardener's Chronicle 1904). It would appear that these other 

I would especially like to thank Miss Edith David of Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, West 
Midlands for her kind interest and for allowing meto use material from her historical files 
concerning the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. 


The Ecology of British Rail in North Humberside 
The disused railway line between Selby and Ms 

The ferns include the ubiquitous Dryopteris filix-mas and its close relative D. affinis (I 
have yet to grasp the subspeciesl) with plenty of Asplenium ruta-muraria and D. 
trichomanes (ditto!). Even A scolopendrium. uncommon in our region, is plentiful here, 
like the other Asplenium species, "attracted" by the limey mortar. 
Some ferns may carry this calcicolous habit to extremes like the fanatical Dryopteris 
submontana and Gymnocarpium robertianum which grow native on the limestone 
e Yorkshire Dales and a few other limestone localities. 
> surprise for the pteridologist to find the latter here in this tiny village 
h (also Viking) and Holme-on-Spalding Moore, (see opp. p.13.) 

from the newsletter of The University of York Natural History Society) 

s the study of ferns is 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 



For over 200 years, amateurs who have studied the natural sciences have been able to 
contribute, through observation and subsequent deduction, to the core of knowledge and 
understanding of their subject. Much of the recording of the British flora in the latter half 
of the 19th century was done by such people, many of them reverend gentlemen with 
time to spare, or others in a professional capacity who had the leisure hours to roam the 
woods and hills. However, in the 20th century the study of the various sciences became 
more and more sophisticated with the involvement of elaborate equipment The 
contribution of amateurs became less, or was directed to specific areas where they could 
maintain their status as responsible recorders. 

y of the distribution and variation of British 
ferns remained the prerogative of many a keen amateur botanist. The cultivation of ferns 
m heated stove' houses and later in the garden, was linked to an increase in the 
commercial interests of the latter part of last century and the Victorian fern craze so well 
documented by David Allen (1969) and others. The cultivation of interesting variants 
r Ttl thB ? M 'l ST™*™ 8 9r ° UP ° f Pe ° p,e that equally formed our own Society. 
But although such plants and cultivars and exotic species could be purchased 
from commercial growers, there was still the great urge to go out into the wild in Britain 
and look for oneself. Such excursions became less and less fruitful it seems and this 
fi S ofo! was j t0uched Upon by an inter esting paper by Richard Rush in Bulletin Vol.2, No.5 
(1983), and again by Martin Rickard in this Journal. 

For those people who were interested, there was still much natural genetical variation in 
our wild fern flora to stimulate the minds of many keen botanists. Both Edward Newman 
and Thomas Moore wrote extensively on the subject between 1 840 and 1 880 (see this 
tZrt P ", L M l nVOth ! rS ' 6 9 Wo,,aston < Sowerb V- Sim, Ley, Borrer. Druce, Stansfield 
taxonlT , ' 1' experimented < in the 9-rderi at least), and commented on the 

taxonomy of our ferns. Then in 1950 when it seemed that everything about our 
native flora must be known, a book was published called Problems of cytology and 
evolution m thePtendophyta'by Irene Manton. Professor Manton, a past-president of our 
bociety. showed that by comparing the numbers of chromosomes, and how these reacted 
»nTLT°! I" an H tC,aU \ made "Vbrids. that one could deduce much about the origins 
unL n7 ^K PS t ™ ^ '*"* ThiS Study of fern chromosomes was. 
rnl* « h * a ' ^^ k6en 3mateUrS because * re ^ uired a high-powered 

compound microscope, a certain amount of sk.ll and the knowledge of how to go about 
ZT^ f p,ant J 5amp,e so the chromosomes could be seen and studied. It was then, a 
sophisticated technique which few amateurs could pursue and it became the prerogative 
of the umversrty or research institute-based botanist. The knowledge gained from it and 
ml T h 3 L te ^ hniqueS used with lowering plants, was accepted but not always 
understood by the amateur fraternity. 

There is one other aspect of botany that has confounded the amateur botanist the field of 
nomenclature. The question as to what is the right name, at any given time, to call even 
our co mm0 n plants seems to be the prerogative of, again, a professional - not so much a 
scientist but more a lawyer. The naming of plants with binomial Latin names as has 

Th P s P C o n l d r^ I/h 3 , mUSt fOMOW pr0Cedures ,aid d cwn in an Internationa, Code 
'his Code is amended from time to tim* hv the i a pt /i„.„,^:___, *_ .- ,„. . 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

Taxonomy) when they meet at International Botanical Congresses. Similarly there is an 
International Code of nomenclature of cultivated plants ( 1 980). One important principle 
built into the Code is that plants should rightfully be called by the earliest specific name 
given to them. The same general principle applies to Latin names at all ranks, whether 
subspecies and varieties, or genera. This means we must take into consideration the 
views and names given by the earlier botanists. Another important aspect is that the 
original specimen described (the Type specimen — hopefully preserved in an herbarium) 
should be taken as the base-line to show the concepts of the original author rather than 
his printed words or later interpretations of them. This in itself would not be so bad but to 
compound the confusion is the fact that the concept of what species a genus may contain 
depends on the view (considered opinion) of the individual researcher or botanist. To give 
examples, the reason we lost Aspidium, Nephrodium and Lastrea was because they were 
illegitimate, for one reason or another, according to the Code. On the other hand, as to 
whether you use Gymnocarpium, Oreopteris or Phegopteris or place them all under 
Thelypteris depends on your generic concepts, i.e. it is a taxonomic (opinion) ratherthan a 
nomenclatural (legal rule) problem. Whatever the problem, names get changed too 
frequently, some would say. 

Whilst I do not want to condone constant name changing, for the most part in our British 
ferns, the changes have been legitimate and necessary. The most important thing is that 
both the names we give to ferns and our concepts of how they should be classified, i.e. 
their taxonomy, should be as practical as possible. I have touched on a number of matters 
which might well be elaborated in the pages of future issues of this Journal, but the real 
purpose of this paper is to put forward a suggestion about Dryopteris affinis. 
The variation of the male fern Dryopteris filix-mas group was noted by Edward Newman 
in his History of British Ferns ( 1 854). He described three varieties of it, or to quote him, 
"three prominent forms which constitute links in a chain ... the entire chain constituting 
the species": var. affinis, var. borreri and var. abbreviata. The latter isD. abbreviata more 
properly called D. oreades Fomin for nomenclatural reasons (see Fraser Jenkins & Jermy 
1976 for details). The former variety we would now include in D affinis itself, although 
Newman was confusing it with a Russian species D. caucasica (A.Br.) Fras -Jenk. & Corley 
that we now know to be one of the parents of D. filix-mas. The third variety was referred to 
for the next 100 years, in British fern literature at least, as D. borreri Newm. until Holob 
(1967) showed that for nomenclatural reasons the correct name was D pseudomas 
(Woll.) Holub. The story did not stop there because Christopher Fraser -Jenkins in his 
study of the genus world-wide, realised that the plant described from Madeira as 
Nephrodium affine by R.T. Lowe, in 1 838, was indeed the first name to be used, hence D. 
affinis (Lowe) Fras.-Jenk. 

e taxonomy? Fraser-Jenkins (1 980) has given 
it of this group and in his assessment he used the cytological 
evidence of Manton (1 950) and an earlier German worker Dopp (1 939). They found that 
both diploid and triploid levels occur in the complex and that both are apogamous 
(agamosporous), i.e. they can form new plants on the prothallus, direct from the egg cell, 
without fertilisation. This means that plants with unbalanced chromosome cells such as 
triploids, which are normally sterile, can give rise to new progeny. It also means that the 
additional genes, that would in normal sexual reproduction help to even out the minor 
nissing, and that each genetical form of D. affinis is reproduced i< 

:o be recognised and named a 

of continental botanists. Chromosome counts quoted have been made by M Gibby and J 
Schneller. He follows the principle "thatsome of the variants may be genomically distinct 
from others and worthy of higher taxonomic rank than that of variety or forma being of a 
fundamentally different biological nature". These elements he recognises as subspecies 
and says that "it would be impractical and unwarranted to recognise them at specific 
rank and would cause widespread confusion in herbaria and floristic lists where have to be determined in order to name plants while subspecies may be ignored 
if necessary". He goes on to describe 1 1 varieties in 6 subspecies. It is confusing andthe 
author h.mself admits that his ideas are by no means firm. Hybrids of both cytotypes with 
D. fihx-mas and D. oreades are frequent and add to the variation and confusion because 
the agamospory is inherited and the plants are fertile. Fraser-Jenkins (pers. com.) now 
believes there are three or possibly four subspecies in Britain; affinis borreri 
stilluppensis and robusta. which he is inclined to place under borreri. 
The latest view is that of C.N. Page (1 982) who described these four subspecies within 
the framework of Fraser-Jenkins' treatment. In a recent review (Jermy 1984) I was of Page's attempt to equate his field knowledge of the plants, which is 
more extensive than C.F-J.'s, with the latter's published account. In fact, on reflection, I 
think he did a better job than C.F-J., whose accounts are by no means comparative but 
the s.tuat.on is nevertheless still confusing. Page agrees that more fieldwork needs to be 
"°"l o e P°' ntS ° Ut th fV ,n Bnta,n ' subs P robu sta appears to be distinct. I agree with this 
but the plant is very difficult to tell from the hybrid D. x tavelii (D. affinis x filix-mas). 

i help with careful observations. As a case in point, I 
the commoner subspecies: affinis and borreri (Figs. 1 
meeting, 1980, Dr. Jacob Schneller pointed out this 
diagnostic character; C.F-J. describes it for some of his subspecies but Page omits any 
mention Jn subspecies affinis the indusium ,s thick, inflected at the margin.even when 
mature being pushed up like a hamburger bun andf requently splitting, as the pressure of 
expandrng sporangia becomes too great. Subspecies borreri. on the other hand being 
l^ZJc^ U9h h .'" f ' eCted K When * oun 9' becom es flatter on maturity. Subspecies 
st.Uuppens.s, which may be common in the west on well drained hillsides (Page 1982; 
K.. " .i/T' 7 iSh indUSia 9 enera,| V. similar to affinis but rarely splitting, and 

could no * ftd PUnCt8te teXtUre 8nd P8,e br ° Wn COl ° Ur ° f ° ° reades Unfortunately. I 
d^l?n!hTt ■ ? t P K rat,Ve mat6rial t0 H,UStrate ' "<** this ™V he 'P the reader to 
?h?£r th6Se tW ° tVPCS and encour age him to make further observations in 

As a further point for consideration I ci inno ct ..,« „„ * ... _. . 

spec,,, ,eve, D. P seu doma s „ su*p. X^aVf^l^Z^T^ 

_. in der Gattu ng Dryopteris Planta 29 
FRASER-JENKINS. C R . 1980 Dryoptens affinis: a new treatment for a comolex soecies in the 
co E A U o°Sf an p,er,d( ; ' • "■ •■■'■■■■■ ■■ :v,a 10 107-1 15 lreatment for a com P'ex species in the 

JERMY. AC. 1984 Book reviews w*t*n n ; a ik ao , 
MANTON. I.. 1950 Problems™ VJatson,a 15 **< 
MANTON, I, 1973 How .t all be 
HOLUB. J., 1967 Remarks on 
p G?° b °t Phytotax 2: 329-332. 

SCHNELLFR 1 ^HnJ^ S °' Bntam and lreland Cambridge. 
Tm rii 94 D Unt f, UChun9en an emheimischen Farner 
mix mas - Uruppe 1. Ber Schweiz. Bot Ges 84: 195-217 

Note thinner indusium rolling back but not splitting. 

Gymnocarpium roberti 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 13 




There are hundreds of Dryopteris species, many of them being superficially similar in 
appearance, and this, together with the fact that they frequently hybridize, can make 
them difficult to identify. Added to this the fact that taxonomists keep changing their 
names means that Dryopteris can be a pteridologist's nightmare. Yet another new 
Dryopteris species sounds like yet another problem to come to terms with, but Dryopteris 
crispi folia, from the Azores, is so distinctive and so attractive that it is safe to say that once 
it has been seen it can never be forgotten. 

Dryopteris crispifolia is known only from the islands of Pico and Faial in the Azores, 
where it grows at c. 700m in the moist laurel forest, together with other Dryopteris 
species, D. aemu/a, D. azorica, D. affinis ssp. affinis and, on Pico, D. dilatata. The species 
is well named; the fronds are extremely crispy, with crowded, overlapping pinnae and 
pinnules, and ultimate segments that bend downwards, whilst their tips and teeth curve 
upwards. It is a tetraploid species (2n = 164) and on morphological evidence it was 
suggested that it had evolved from D. aemu/a and D. azorica (both diploids with 2n = 82) 
with which it grows, probably evolving in situ in the Azores. Recently I have obtained 
cytological evidence that supports this view. D. aemula is well known for its upcurling 
pinnae. In contrast, in D. azorica the pinnules bend down from their midribs. D. crispifolia 
seems to incorporate both these features — the upcurling of one does not negate the 
down-turning of the other — instead the wonderful crisped effect is produced. The fronds 
of D. crispifolia are ovate-deltate, up to a metre in height, and more smilar in outline to£>. 
azorica than to the triangular D. aemula frond. But from D. aemula, D. crispifolia has 
inherited the sessile sticky glands that give both species the fragrant scent of hay. 
D. crispifolia is hardy in Britain; it survived the cold winter of 1 981 /2 under the snows in 
Martin Packard's garden in Herefordshire, where the temperature dropped to — 20°C. 
The plants that I have in cultivation at Chelsea Physic Garden tend to put up mostly sterile 
fronds, and so spores are usually in short supply However, I am constantly trying to 
hybridize it with other species (no, not just to cause confusion!) and so often have young 
plants to spare. I do hope lots of people will try to grow it. I am looking forward to the day 


Solway Coastline Reserve 

Members will be pleased to hear that the Scottish Wildlife Trust has recently purchased a 

strip of coastland over half a mile long at the western end of the Inner Solway complex of 

mudflats at Southwick. The area includes the Silurian rock pillar, Lot's Wife. Inland from 

the merse is a stranded cliff line which supports a fine ancient oakwood. On both the rocks 

and the old trees are substantial populations of all three species of Polypodium and fine 

specimens of the hybrid of the Intermediate Polypody with the Southern Polypody (P. x 

shivasiae) and the Common Polypody (P. x mantonae). 

The Secretary of the Dumfries and Galloway Branch of the SWT, Manager of the Reserve. 

is Dr. Peter C. Hopkins, Carleton, Bladnoch, Wigtown DG8 9AB JERMY 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 



The Maidenhair dreads winter cold. 

And in a cleft its fronds unfold. 

The Maidenhair, 

Well satisfied with frugal fare 

Will glorify the crevice bare: 
Secure in that precarious hold, 
The wind its loveliness must spare 
To be of every one extolled — 
The Maidenhair. 

Fras. W. Thorrington 

Black as ebony, green as the emerald sea, and as delicate as the intricate snowflake, 
Adiantums are the glory and delight of the fern world. Glaucous tracery of tissue-thin 
wedges, often fringed, captivate the eye of all who pass. Even the most casual plant 
observer can claim acquaintance with the Maidenhair Fern. 

The derivation of the common name 'maidenhair' is obscured by a variety of legends. One 
belief held that the Maidenhair was named in honour of Venus. A German legend relates 
that a maiden's lover mysteriously changed into a wolf and caused her to fall over a cliff, 
and at that spot a spring appeared and the hair of the maiden changed into a Maidenhair 
Fern. According to the Doctrine of Signatures, the resemblance of the black leaf stalks to 
hair indicated that the fern had power to restore hair. Mixed with parsley seeds and wine 
the Maidenhair Fern was supposed to thicken the hair as well as promote the curliness. 
Pliny, a Roman naturalist, wrote that this fern was used in tonics. 
Indian people have found still other uses for the Maidenhair Fern. The Quinault Indians of 
the Pacific Northwest burned the fronds and rubbed the ashes on their hair. Many 
Northwest tribes use the stalks in basket making because their black or reddish colour 
provides pleasant contrast to the straw or tan colour of the other commonly used fibres. 
The Coahuilla Indians of the Colorado Desert have used the fern, along with other herbs, 
in a steam bath for inflammatory rheumatism. The afflicted limbs were first rubbed with 
nettle! Of this treatment, one Indian writes: The cure was very simple if your limbs were 
in a bad state, but rather unpleasant if in a sound condition." 

The scientific name Adiantum is derived from the Greek word "adiantos", meaning 
unwetted". This is in reference to the water-repelling properties of the surface of the 
fronds. Even fronds dipped in water will still appear dry afterwards. There are about 200 
species found in this genus, the majority of which reside in the American tropics. But 
temperate to tropical these are all characterised by their dark polished stalks (stipes), 
the absence of a conspicuous midvein on the segments (pinnae), and the false indusium 
formed by a fold of the pinna margin and bearing the spore (sporangia) on the underside 
The classic elegance of the Five-Finger Maidenhair, Adiantum pedatum, is the backbone 
of the shady fern glade. Even for the gardener who demands only evergreen ferns, this 
deciduous beauty is the exception to the rule. I have no such rules, being an avowed fern 
fanatic, and hover in eager anticipation for the soft green fronds of spring to slowly unfurl 
into those unmistakeable fan-like pedate blades posed on slender reddish-black stipes. 
Within natural populations there is the uxpected variation as to the size and shape of the 
pinnae, as well as plant height and habit. My personal garden favourites include one form 
so prolific with fronds as to form a solid mound of minqled fans in full sail Another is a 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

mother like the petticoats of yore. 
A number of forms of A pedatum have been given varietal names but botanists are still 
having trouble agreeing as to their taxonomic worth. After visiting many private fern 
growers in England and observing their variously named A pedatum forms, I am still 
perplexed as to which ones can be accounted in the range of normal variation for the 
species and its formally acknowledged variants, A. pedatum 'Subpumilum', in particular, 
and which are decidedly different enough to deserve separate varietal status. I am not 
one for the willy-nilly naming of every odd or slightly different item that passes by me. A 
good grower knows the plants he works with from a cultivated standpoint as well as in 
their natural state so he can recognise a change that deviates from the normal range of 
population. There are a number of immediately recognizable A. pedatum forms in 
cultivation and they deserve serious study by botanists and growers alike. 
I am not going to cover any of the distinctly different variations grown in England as I have 
not worked extensively enough with them to form a definite opinion of their varietal 
status. But I do want to mention a form originating from the Pacific north west. Adiantum 
pedatum var. subpumilum was introduced into cultivation in the 1950s by Carl S. 
English, Jr., horticulturist at Seattle's Hiram Chittenden Locks. Although the original 
source for this introduction was never released by Mr. English, wild populations have 
since been documented on NW Vancouver Island off the western coast of Canada. 
Various names have been applied to it over the years and it has become also confused 
with other A. pedatum forms in England. A pedatum var. subpumilum carries the same 
chromosome number as the species and since the diminutive stature is genetically fixed 
it comes 100% true from spore. Minute fans overlap shingle fashion on this charming 
miniature and it well deserves a prime niche in the garden. 

Of lesser fame but as desirable and welcome to the shady border is the so called 
Evergreen Maidenhair, Adiantum venustum. Hailing from the mountain slopes of 
Kashmir and one isolated site in Canada, this undulating creeper is not truly evergreen. It 
just seems so since the frosted fronds do not collapse with the first icy blast of winter, but 
instead they colour to an attractive bronze sheen and persist throughout the season. Woe 
betides the indolent gardener who delays trimming the old fronds before the new 
translucent reddish croziers herald in spring with the early dwarf narcissi. Failing to give 
this fern an early spring hair-cut will result in an unsightly mess of tattered old fronds 
crowding the fresh new ones and you will miss the delight of sunshine luminating those 
myriad croziers. One hint in propagating this lovely fern is to separate the rhizomes into 
small sections and cover shallowly in a flat of friable soil. Large divisions will often 
struggle feebly to resume growth or just expire outright. 

The California Maidenhair, Adiantum jordanii, is a bit more difficult to establish than the 
other hardy maidenhairs. Although it is known in two isolated locales in Oregon, it is 
common throughout coastal California. A jordanii loves shaded rocky or grassy slopes 
which are wet during the growing season and then later become dry. At sea level that 
growing season can begin in December and by early spring A Jordanii is actually more 
common than A capi/lus -veneris which is referred to as the Common Maidenhair in 
California. I discovered this in my sister's Escondido hillside yard. There is something 
different down here you have to see", says she. Off we went sliding through the damp red 
clay where we ducked under the gripping chaparrel tangle to be confronted with the 
unmistakeable verdant billow of Adiantum. Specimen in hand we scrambled back to the 
corroborating security of the reference books for our final pronouncement of elated 
certainty. Given a protected nook in the rockery, with good drainage, to insure moist but 

not soggy wi 

Although I < 

pedatum, Barbara Jo Hoshizaki, prominent fern-taxonomist, considers Adiantum x 
tracyi, a natural hybrid between A. pedatum and A jordanii, to be just that. This opinion 
may arise from the fact that A. x tracyi is truly an evergreen Maidenhair. Intermediate in 
morphology between its parents it inclines towards the pedate condition of the first 
parent with the pinnae reflecting the perfect fan shape of the second parent. Though A 
tracyi lacks the ordered symmetry of A pedatum, the cunning charm of A pedatum 
Subpumilum' or the exotic show of A venustum, it is a welcome addition to the shade 
garden. Alas that it is a sterile hybrid and not prolific to increase. Nevertheless, in my 
garden I have a "maiden" for all seasons. 


KAYE, Reginald, Hardy Ferns, Faber and Faber Ltd., London, 
MACSELF, A.J., Ferns for Garden and Greenhouse, W.H. & 
^X^,™ - Pacific North ™est Ferns and Their Allies, I 
THORRINGTON. V. Vol 5 No 3 Mav 

WAGNER & BOYDSTON, "A dwarf coastal variety' of' Maid 
' Photocopy from Boydston, date and journal 
, Helen, Ferns of San Diego County. 1972. 

Fern Illustration by Vernece Sharp 

"The Genus Adiantum 


The oldest recorded fern variety is Polypodium australe 'Cambricum', found by the 

botanist John Ray in Wales in 1690. 

C.T. Druery was the most prolific writer on British ferns. As well as three books, all 

still very popular, he left us eight huge quarto "scrap books" of his press cuttings. 

One of F.G. Heaths books, the Fern World, ran to twelve editions. 

The most expensive book on British ferns is the folio edition of Thomas Moore's 

Nature Printed British Ferns. The price rose rapidly a few years ago and is now 

fluctuating about the £500 mark. 


> Cystopteris dickieana — 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 



The years between 1 837 and 1 900 saw the rise and fall of a fashion that has since earned 
itself the title "the Victorian fern craze". In the manner of those obsessed the Victorians 
exploited every aspect of fern mania. In addition to cultivating ferns they hunted them, 
collected them, stuck them in albums, made pictures of them, carved them in wood, cast 
them in iron, put them on tiles, crockery and wallpaper, designed special stands and cases 
for them, and built huge glass palaces to hold them. The reasons why such a craze arose 
are complex but having arisen there is no doubt that its progress was sustained by the 
literature that began to appear with increasing frequency. Much of this was fairly 
ephemeral; mostly in botanical and horticultural magazines. As thecentury progressed so 
the number of books about ferns increased quite dramatically. The period of the Victorian 
fern craze is also of interest to the student of printing and publishing. Slow, traditional 
skills were giving way to faster mechanical processes, and hand colouring, the mainstay 
of early botanical and horticultural literature, was being replaced by chromolithographic 
techniques and, as the century progressed, photographic techniques. 
Today books about ferns are sought by a n umber of different types of collectors: botanists, 
gardeners, print historians, coloured plate collectors (alas), natural historians, and even 
people like myself who are interested in ferns. Victorian fern books are, for the most part, 
fairly easily collected. Many of the books are very modestly priced and a quite extensive 
collection of Victorian fern books could be formed by the collector prepared to pay from 
two to fifty pounds for a volume. In this review I shall concentrate on those books written 
by British authors and covering either the British ferns or the cultivation of ferns in 

There were two books about ferns prior to the emergence of popular interest in the 1 830s. 
In 1 785 James Bolton produced the first volume of Filices Britannicae. This volume and 
the second, published in 1 790, contained 45 copper-plate engravings by Bolton. The book 
was available with coloured or plain plates. Opinions vary about the botanical accuracy of 
the plates but on any other criteria this is a fine work and justifiably commands a good 
price on those few occasions when it appears for sale. 

The other pre-fern -craze book is probably the most expensive of all fern books. W.J. 
Hooker and R.K. Greville issued their Icones Filicum in parts between 1 827 and 1 833. The 
coloured version cost the staggering price of twenty-five guineas. Today, if one was 
fortunate enough to be able to buy it, there would not be much change from two thousand 
pounds. The finished work, in two volumes, has 250 plates, each one beautifully engraved 
by Greville who also hand coloured every plate. W.J. Hooker was probably the nineteenth 
century's most eminent pteridologist and his other fern books, Genera f ific urn (1838-42), 
Species Filicum (1845-64), A Century of Ferns (1854), Filices Exoticae (1857-59), A 
Second Century of Ferns ( 1 861 ), The British Ferns ( 1 86 1 ), Garden Ferns ( 1 86 1 -62), and 
Synopsis Filicum (1865-68) are still extensively used today. Most had hand-coloured 
plates and most of these were drawn by Fitch. None of Hooker's books were, or are, cheap; 
however their presence gave a scientific solidity to the study, classification and 
cultivation of ferns. 

The first 'popular' work appeared in 1837. George Francis had by 1850 published books 
about the arts, chemical experiments, modelling wax flowers, electrical experiments, 
flowers and ferns. The book about ferns, An Analysis of the British Ferns, is, in a way, a 
remarkable book. It is very accurate a nd carefully written, much more so than ma ny of the 
books which were to follow. It had six uncoloured, engraved plates by Francis. Five 
editions of the book appeared, the second not until ten years after the first. No doubt the 
author's emigration to Australia had something to do with that. Between those two 
editions another author had entered the popular fern book market. 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

Edward Newman was a keen naturalist and writer. He was apparently converted' to ferns 
while on a trip to Ireland, the results of which were published in 1840 as Notes on Irish 
History. More Especially on Ferns. This was swiftly followed, also in 1 840, by 4 History of 
British Ferns. It had a number of very nice woodcut illustrations by Newman. The 
significance of Newman's book is that it alerted readers to the interest to be gained in 
studying the distribution of species. 
In between the publication of 
handbook that, while modest i 
century's leading expert on the cultivation of ferns as well as the author of some highly 
3 fern books. This small book. The Handbook of British Ferns, was published in 
I the author was Thomas Moore. Newman was, to say the least, not pleased at 

of this rival. He wrote, "It is difficult to notice this book although there 

can be no rational objection to one author borrowing an occasional sentence or idea 

he is bound in candour and in common courtesy to acknowledge the obligation" (Phyt. 
1853, p.1157). This comment was quite unfair and only serves to illustrate Newman's 
obsessive notion that he alone could write the definitive fern book. 
Although the Handbook went to three editions ( 1 853 and 1 858) it was really superseded 
in 1851 by the publication of Moore's Popular History of the British Ferns. Thiswasoneof 
a series of "popular" books on natural history subjects published by Reeve. It had twenty 
hand-coloured plates which had been drawn by Fitch. It achieved instant success. The 
Gardener's Chronicle (1851, p.823) claimed, 'This stands at the head beyond all 
comparison". The text was simply written, straightforward and accurate. The 
illustrations were rather insipid and when Routledge became the publishers of the third 
edition (1859) the plates were redrawn by W.S. Coleman and printed, I believe, by 
Edmund Evans. This Popular History spawned two smaller books both of whch are a 
bibliographer's nightmare. 

Those two books, identical in content but different in format, were both titled British 
Ferns and their Allies and the text was an abridgement of that in the Popular History. The 
more important of the two was, without any doubt, the one shilling edition which first 
appeared in 1859 published by Routledge. The small pocket-sized edition had twelve 
plain plates and a three colour board cover printed by Evans. Within a few years the plain 
plates were replaced by coloured plates. At one shilling it was easily bought, easily 
carried and easily used. It went through a vast number of reprints up until the 1890s 
appearing in a variety of covers and as a member of a number of different series. It must 
surely be the best selling fern book of all time and that popularity is reflected in the 
frequency with which it turns up in bookshops. The other volume was also very popular, 
cost three and sixpence, ran through at least six reprints and is also easily found today. 
The difference between the volumes is simply one of cover and paper. 
1 855 witnessed the publication of the first part of the majestic Ferns of Great Britain and 
Ire/and. Nothing like this had ever been produced before and it has never been equalled 
since. The special quality of the book owes less to Moore's text and more to the size and 
beauty of the 51 elephant-folio sized nature-printed plates, the product of the genius of 
Henry Bradbury. The contribution of Bradbury to nature-printing has been amply 
documented by Cave and Wakeman in Typographia Naturalis (Wymondham 1967) but I 
must comment on the appropriateness of ferns to nature-printing. Ferns are flowerless 
plants which depend for their grace and beauty on the structure and texture of the foliage. 
Nature-printing, which would have been a failure if applied to flowering plants, recorded 
fern forms accurately and with great effect. The adulation shown towards the above 
volume resulted in the publication, in 1 859, of volume one of the Octavo Nature-Printed 
Ferns and, in 1860, of volume two. The two volumes contain 1 13 nature-printed plates 

and while they cannot have the same effect as the plates in the large volumethey are still 
very lovely. 

At the same time that the Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland was appearing another 
prolific fern author had commenced his first work on ferns. E.J. Lowe started Ferns: 
British and exotic in 1 855, the first part appearing, priced one shilling, in June that year. It 
continued monthly until 1 860 when eight volumes were complete. This work and Lowe's 
later colour-plate books were reissued many times and as a consequence are quite 
common today. The popularity of Lowe's work would surprise the reviewer of the 
Gardener's Chronicle^ 858, p.91 -2) who said of Ferns: British and Exotic "Future writers 

on ferns must erase this trash from the list of works on science we can only 

pronounce it a treacherous companion to the unskillful in fern-lore". In all probability 
most of today's purchasers do not buy the volumes for the text but for the illustrations. 
Lowe clearly recognised the sales-appeal of the illustrations. It is therefore something of 
a paradox that nowhere does Lowe give thanks to or even mention those responsible for 
producing the plates. The 479 plates were all drawn by Francis Lydon and printed by 
Benjamin Fawcett. Some booksellers persist in labelling these plates 
"chromolithographs ", but it is clear that all Fawcett's plates were drawn onto wood, 
engraved and then usually printed from the wood. The final volume of Ferns: British and 
Exotic was followed by the issue, again in parts, of New and Rare Ferns (1860-1862), 
which was simply an addendum to the previous eight volumes. It has 72 plates, again 
drawn by Lydon and printed by Fawcett. 

Lowe followed with two volumes devoted to the British ferns and their varieties. Our 
Native Ferns was issued in parts between 1 862 and 1 867. It contains 79 coloured plates 
(many of which are from the earlier volumes), and over a thousand monochrome 
illustrations of fern varieties. Moore had identified many varieties in the Octavo Nature- 
Printed ferns, but Lowe now managed to classify 1294. By 1891, when Lowe's British 
ferns and Where Found appeared in Swan's Young Collector series, he was claiming to 
have identified 1861 varieties. Lowe's scarcest book was his last. Fern Growing. 
published by Nimmo in 1 895, is Lowe's reflection on his hobby. Although unattractive to 
plate-collectors it is a highly significant book informing and illustrating, in many ways, the 

The 1 850s were undoubtably the decade of the fern book. In addition to the works already 
mentioned many more were making their appearance in an attempt to meet the massive 
public demand. In 1 854 were published an example of the best and an example of the 
worst. The example of one of the best was The Ferns of Great Britain with text by C 
Johnson and illustration by John Sowerby. This was issued in parts in coloured, part 
coloured, and uncoloured versions. By 1855 the volume was complete and they had 
started releasing a volume on the fern allies which was completed in 1 856. The two were 
issued together in 1859 by Bonn. An example of the worst was A Plain and Easy Account 
of the British Ferns by "E. B. ". E. B. was the Rev. Edwin Bosenquet. The Gardener's 
Chronicle (1 854, p.270) claimed, "We would not hurt a fly and therefore forebear to say 

more than that it is a pity that anyone should undertake to instruct others without 

possessing some knowledge of the subject taught." The book did reach a second edition 
( 1 855) but a subsequent edition ( 1 860) was rewritten by Phoebe Lankester ( 1 825- 1 900). 
An interesting book issued in 1855 was Ferns of Great Britain by Anne Pratt. The first 
edition is undated and had some problems prior to its publication. The volume contains an 
be understood that he has purchased pen - '~ 

J.E. Sowerby to copy from the work lately published by h 

This was included only 

after legal proceedings had been threatened and according to the Gardener's Chronicle 
( 1 855, p.423), "Even then it was conceded with the worst possible grace". The artist was 
in fact Anne Pratt but it is noticeable how she attempts to avoid responsibility by the use 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

of the term "the artist". The book has 40 remarkable plates. The plates in the first three 
editions were printed by William Dickes, a wood engraver, who became a Baxter 
licensee. The Anne Pratt plates are very good examples of that process and they are still 
exceptionally fresh and vivid today. 

A small book. Ferny Coombes, published in 1856, was written by Charlotte Chanter, 
younger sister of author Charles Kingsley. This fairly mundane account of ferny rambles 

i Devonshir 

a number of books to appear in which 

a particular locality was featured. Later years saw the publication of Ferns of t 
(1862) by Z.J. Edwards, Ferns of Sidmouth (1862) by P.O. HUTCHINSON, Ferns of the 
English Lake Country by W.J. Linton, and Ferns of York by H. Ibbotson. 
As the century moved into the 60s the tide of fern books slowed only slightly. One of the 
most fascinating books appeared in 1865. Nona Bellairs wrote Hardy Ferns: How I 
Collected and Cultivated Them. This highly anecdotal and interesting memoir of fern 
collecting expeditions offers amazing insights into the fern collecting mentality. On the 
one hand she laments the depredation of ferns from the country-side, "We must have 
fern-laws' and preserve them like game": on the other hand, faced with a particularly 
large and interesting specimen, "I did what I advise others to do: I packed up a huge 

Margaret Plues and Mordecai Cooke both published accounts of the British ferns during 
this decade. British Ferns by Plues appeared in 1866 with 16, I believe, hand coloured 
plates. As The Gardener's Chronicle (1866, p. 662) put it, "This book was not wanted". 
However one last book did create a nich for itself. Cooke's/4 Fern Book for Everybody first 
appeared in 1867. It looked like Moore's one shilling book. It was the same size, had 
twelve coloured plates, coloured board covers and it sold at one shilling. It was evidently 
successful; it was reprinted at least eight times up to 1903. 

The nature of public interest was now changing. The public seemed to want to know more 
about growing ferns. Shirley Hibberd waited until 1 869 to produce The Fern Garden. This 
perceptive journalist had seen the need and supplied the desired article. His admirable 
book cost three and sixpence, had eight colour plates and a highly readable and 
informative text. The colour plates were taken from Lowe's books and were printed by 
Fawcett. The gilt blocked cover of the early editions is a lovely example of Victorian cover 
design. The book was deservedly popular and in twenty years was reprinted eight times. 
Public enthusiasm for ferns had waned since the heady days of the 1840s and 1850s, 
and it may be that Hibberd, in identifying a need, was to some extent responsible for the 
resurgence of interest that occurred in the last thirty years of the nineteenth century. In 
this second phase the focus had changed from field studies to cultivation. 
The major writer on ferns to emerge during the 1870s was F.G. Heath. The use of the 
word "major" is to indicate "volume" rather than significance", for while Heath was 
probably the most prolific writer about ferns, he was, for the most part, trivial and easily 
forgotten. Heath's first book on ferns was The Fern Paradise published in 1875. The book 
with its one colour plate was subtitled "a plea for the culture of ferns" and whether or not 
the pleas was successful many people bought it for it reached its eighty edition by 1 908. 
Along the way (4th ed. 1878) it acquired eight coloured plates and, more interestingly, 
four Woodburytypes. 

Inspired by success Heath, in 1 877, produced The Fern World. Like The Fern Paradisethts 
proved to be a popular book and by 1910 reached its twelfth edition. Extracts from these 
two books, together with extracts from Heath's Our Wood/and Trees comprised the text of 
Trees and Ferns published in 1 879. The Fern Paradiseand The Fern Wor/dmust certainly 
have sold a lot of copies. They occur frequently in bookshops today and it is interesting to 

note the number of copies that have school or Sunday school prize labels on the inside 
cover. Heath's style is painful reading today but the language and the content were 
guaranteed not to cause a parent, school teacher or curate any embarrassment. 
By 1881 Heath had aspired to expertise on fern distribution and written a book entitled 
Where to Find Ferns, including in it a chapter about ferns around London. The reviewer of 
Field, who presumably would not turn a hair at the shooting, trapping or chasing of 
wildlife, was appalled. "When we consider how completely ferns have been 

exterminated in the neighbourhood of London we can only regard this chapter in the 

light of a calamity (Field: 1885 ii, p. 171). 

Undeterred Heath continued to produce books on ferns and 1 885 saw the publication of 
his most interesting book The Fern Portfolio. This had 15 folio-sized coloured plates which 
are, on the whole, quite well done. Heath published no more fern books in Victorian times 
although he produced three new fern books in the early years of the twentieth century one 
of which, published in 1910, was his excruciating fern book for children Fairy Plants. 
At the end of the decade was published an impressive fern book which seems to cause 
contemporary cataloguers some problems. It has been assigned dates as far apart as 
1 840 and 1910. The first part of European Ferns by James Britten appeared in 1 879 and 
the parts were issued monthly finishing in 1881 with part thirty. The full volume was 
issued in 1 881 and the work was reissued in parts from 1 883- 1 885. The book has thirty 
chromolithographed plates drawn by D. Blair and the early editions had a beautiful gilt 
blocked cover. Britten was, at the time, based at the British Museum and the book is a 
quite authoritative review of European ferns. It also includes a fascinating collection of 
myths and legends about the attributes of ferns. For some reason catalogues persist in 
labelling this book as scarce. In a three year survey I carried out it was the most frequently 
occurring of all fern books. 

The last book to which I shall make specific reference is Ferns and Fern Culture by John 
Birkenhead. Although only a modest book, it is a mine of information and, with its 
woodcut illustrations, quite charming. It is notable for being written by the foremost grower of 
the late Victorian period. John Birkenhead and his brother William ran, in Sale, Cheshire, the 
largest ever fern nursery. The extent of their stock is most easily understood by reference 
to their very collectable large catalogues. The catalogue for 1 888 lists over 2000 species 

This brief survey of Victorian fern books is, of course, rather selective and comprises only 
a part of the total range of books. Many of the others are not expensive and are well within 
the reach of the low budget collector. The avid fern book enthusiast is certainly not 
restricted to the areas dealt with here. During the same period a lot of books were being 
written by British authors that covered the ferns of other countries, particularly 
Commonwealth countries. Equally authors from other countries were writing books 
about ferns. The collector need not be restricted to books: fern albums and nurserymen's 
catalogues make an interesting group. Fern books continued to be published and indeed 
are being published today. The last fifteen years have seen a revival of popular interest in 
ferns particularly in Australia and the United States. This is reflected in the number of 
books being published in those countries. The numbers are currently equalling the 
quantities published in the 1 850s. Clearly collectors will be kept busy for many years to 

hich is published f 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 



In recent years BPS Booksales has circulated with our literature, lists of fern books for 
sale. Of late the organiser of this service, Jimmy Dyce, has been increasingly successful 
in acquiring large numbers of new and secondhand books from all over the world. The 
result is an unrivalled selection of books on offer to tempt the keenest collector. For the 

beginner, however, the impact of the list is perhaps overwhelming which book gives 

the best account of fern growing? Which book best describes the British ferns?, etc. etc. 

Two articles published some time ago in the Newsletter, the forerunner of the Bulletin, 
described the principal fern books then published, together with some helpful comments 
on the various books. One by Jimmy Dyce gave an annotated list of some of the books in 
his collection (No. 5, 1 967, app. 4), the other by Henry Schollick was "An Anatomy of a 
Pteridological Bibliomania" (No. 9, 1971, p. 20). Both of these items are strongly 
t unfortunately neither of them is now readily available. The previous 
ill is also of great value, but by being limited to Victorian fern books, it is 
helpful to the newcomer. In this article therefore I give, what is of 
necessity, a personalised view of the books which stand out in each category. 

Books for fern growers 

Outstanding in this section is Reg Kaye's Hardy Ferns (1968). Extensive cultural notes 
are given together with fully anotated lists of British and exotic ferns and varieties hardy 
in the UK. For me this is a book to refer to or browse, safe in the knowledge that it is an 
authorative work written by some who really knows his ferns. Illustrations are good too 
although a few more would have been welcome! This book is still available and it is hard 
to believe that any fern grower can be without it. Other notable modern books which 
cover the same general ground are: Ferns ( 1 980) again by Reg Kaye, a slim volume more 
or less abridged from Hardy Ferns; Ferns ( 1 974) by Roger Grounds; and Ferns for Garden 
and Greenhouse (1971) by Philip Swindells. 

Going back in time several other works deserve a mention. A.J. Macself's Ferns for 
Garden and Greenhouse (1952) is a very useful account largely superseded by Reg 
Kaye's book, but well worth getting when available. British Ferns and their Varieties 
(1910) by Charles Druery is obviously an older book but still the best for the specialist 
variety collector — mainly because it includes 98 nature prints of many of the classic 
varieties grown during the heyday of the fern grower. Druery wrote two other books - 
Choice British Ferns (1888) and The Book of British Ferns (no date, but published in 1903) 
which though lacking the nature prints are full of valuable information and also have the 
great advantage of being cheaper and easier to find! British Ferns and where found 
(1980) by E.J. Lowe is an extraordinary work, apparently published for the 'Young 
Collector', but it gives the fullest list of fern varieties ever published, a total of 1 861 in all! 
Lowe also published Out Native Ferns ( 1 862 etc.). This comes in two volumes and is very 
well produced with numerous full page colour plates. In its time it was an important book 
but unfortunately many of the varieties are not considered worth keeping these days 
Coverage of the good class varieties is better achieved in the slightly more recent Druery 
book, British Ferns and their Varieties, mentioned above. 

Looking to the future Richard Rush's Hardy Ferns deserves mention. It will be published 
this spring by the Society and from what I have seen of the copy I expect it to be the most 
comprehensive guide to exotic hardy ferns ever published. 

Additional information on fern growing in the United Kingdom will be found in many 
other books but the above will be a very good start — when available! 

Non-British books on fern growing are relatively scarce — at least on the British market. 
Two which standout are both American. One, Foster's The Gardener's Fern Book (1964) 
(renamed Ferns to Know and Grow in later editions (1971, 1976) ) gives a double page 
spread for each selected fern considered suitable for cultivation in North America. Hardy 
and Non-hardy ferns are covered. The other. The Fern Grower's Manual (1975) by 
-ery comprehensive work, giving cultural details for hundreds of fern taxa 
nerica. It is unlikely that the novice fern grower will need this book, but for 
i specialist it contains vast amounts of re; 

While not strictly speaking a book, I cannot complete this section without mentioning one 
of the best sources of random information on this subject, i.e. the first eight volumes of 
our British Fern Gazette. 
Fern floras 

Worldwide, hundreds of books on ferns of a country or region have been published. In 
some cases a country has been written about many times. For example, I can think of well 
over 30 books on the ferns of the British Isles. Many of these are little more than re-mixes 
of earlier volumes but there are a number which stand out Edward Newman's History of 
British Ferns, especially the 1844 and 1854 editions, are full of useful information — 
apart from many of the names much of it is still amazingly accurate. Despite its age this 
book is still fairly frequently available. Contemporary with Newman was Thomas Moore; 
he wrote many fern books but the best for the real collector are the octavo (1 859) and folio 
(1 855) editions of his Nature Printed British Ferns. They are very expensive but I doubt if 
any possessor of either work regrets the expense. It took about 100 years to significantly 
improve on these Victorian volumes. However, in the last few years C.N. Page's book The 
Ferns of Britain and Ireland (1 982) and the sixth edition of Welsh Ferns (1 978) by Hyde, 
Wade and Harrison have brought publication on the British ferns up to date. Both books 
are recommended; Welsh Ferns is a concise, very reasonably priced, account of Welsh 
ferns with briefer notes on the othe British species. Page's book, while unfortunately less 
reasonably priced, does give a very comprehensive account of all the British species. Fern 
books of other lands are less numerous and as an Englishman it is perhaps presumptious 
of me to pass judgement on them. However some stand out as being of particular value. 
For example, J.T. Mickel's How to Know the Ferns and Fern Allies ( 1 979) seems the best 
account of the ferns of the U.S.A. 
Books for house fern growers 

Over the last few years several glossy coffee table' books dealing largely with ferns as 
house plants have appeared. These are mostly a pleasure to browse but tend to have a fair 
smattering of errors. I find Ferns for Modern Living (1 977) by Elaine Davenport the most 
useful because it not only has excellent colour photographs but it also gives full 
instructions on cultural requirements. Ferns from Mother Nature (1 977) by J.E. Gick is 
also a good buy 

i briefly mentioning such books although 

utside the scope of 

this article as, by definition, they are not for the beginner. Fortunately, in most cases, the 
titles are more or less self explanatory, e.g. Feasting on Fiddleheads (no date) by Mickel — 
cooking with ferns; The Genus Po/ypodium in Cultivation (1 982) by B.J Hoshizaki; The 
Victorian Fern Craze (1 969) by Allen — a fascinating historical view of ptendology, Atlas 
of Ferns of the British Isles ( 1 978) by Chve Jermy et al - distribution maps; and various 
nurserymen's catalogues. 

Any beginner buying all the books recommended here would very quickly cease to be a 
beginnerl However, I hope these notes will help make the first purchase a useful one 

Pteridologist\ (1984) 



Raising ferns from spores is such a fundamental part of fern growing that it cannot be 
considered too often. Each year, new members are faced with the same problems, so let 
us consider what we can do to overcome the more common pitfalls. 
Our first requirement is fresh spores. It is always better to use fresh, ripe spores straight 
from the plant, especially for those species that produce green spores, e.g. 
Hymenophyllum, Osmunda, etc. This is not always possible, however, and spores from 
an exchange scheme which are unlikely to be fresh may have to be used. Much of the 
enjoyment in fern growing is sowing spores from such schemes on thechance of raising 
something interesting. Remember that fern spores are microscopic and carried long 
distances in the air. They persist in the air for hours, they do not fall to the earth like lead 
pellets but sink very slowly. Supposing we sow a packet of spores, put the pot on one side 
and prepare another pot for sowing. While we are doing this, spores from the first sowing 
are persisting in the air near us. Now we sow another species in the second pot and it is 
also invaded by the spores in the air. And so it goes on until we could have 4 or 5 species 
in the 5th or 6th pot. This is illustrated by my article on Dicksonia x lathamii, published 
elsewhere in this journal, where chance spore contamination lead to the development of 
this hybrid tree fern. 

A suitable compost 

Proprietary composts such as the soil-less types (e.g. Fisons, Levington and Arthur 
Bowers) or the loam-based John Innes Seed Composts can be used; however many fern 
growers prefer to make up their own sowing compost. I have had excellent results using 
the following mix: y 3 part peat, 1 / 3 part sphagum moss which has been passed through a % 
inch sieve and 1 / 3 part sharp sand; all parts by volume. I use a 5 inch pot as a volumetric 
measure. To the above mix I add a handful of charcoal. 

Please note that I have not included any fertiliser so the prothalli may begin to look rather 
yellow-green and anaemic, especially if they are left to grow on in the sowing mix for 
several months. Such side effects due to the lack of fertiliser are easily remedied by the 
application of a foliar feed at half strength. Within hours, the prothalli will become a deep 
healthy green. A compound fertiliser such as VITAX Q4 could be included when the 
compost is mixed but because ideally, the prothalli will not be on the sowing mix very 
long, I consider it unnecessary. 


Prothalli possess fine root-like hairs called rhizoids' that anchor them down to the soil 
and assist with the uptake of moisture from the soil. They are rarely more than 1 -2cm 
long, so a depth of compost which is more than 4cm deep is unnecessary and wasteful. 
On the other hand, a very small volume of soil will tend to dry out quickly. An even balance 
has to be achieved between depth of compost and surface area. I use polypropylene pots, 
2% inch square giving a soil dpeth of 4cm. I find them the perfect sizee and they can be 
steam sterilised. However, you can use other containers such as margarine tubs. 

i. fern spores and prothalli are constantly under threat. Their high mortality r 

inclement seasons. By sowing t 
and diseases and ensuring shad 
to obtain 100% success. 

Let us consider removing two major threats to the spore sowings. The first is pests and 
diseases from the pots and soil. The simplest way is to fill your pots (hopefully, they have 
been scrubbed clean) with the sowing compost, cover the surface of the compost with a 
piece of paper and pour on a kettle full of boiling water, until the water pours from the 
drainage holes at near boiling point. When cool, remove the paper and sow your spores 
on the sterile surface. This is a time honoured way of preparing a sterile surface but it has 
to be admitted that the chances of obtaining a truly sterile surface this way is remote 
Many algae and fungal spores will survive that treatment because the temperature 
obtained is not high enough or prolonged enough to kill them. Even if you have managed 
to obtain a sterile surface, as soon as the compost cools, it will be invaded by more 
unwanted spores unless it is kept covered. The second problem is troublesome weeds 
which invade our sowings and crowd them out. Moss plants can be picked carefully off 
the surface taking care not to disturb the prothalli. Although filamentous green algae can 
occur on the surface of the compost, what is usually encountered is moss protonema. 
This is a thick green mat of threads which can persist in this form for months while 
budding off moss shoots from time to time. This is a real destroyer of spore sowings and 
although you may attempt to remove it, any tiny fragments left behind will regenerate 

Liverworts can also be removed in this way but are tiresome to handle and any tiny 
fragments left behind will also develop into large plants again. 

Let us consider another method that ensures greater freedom from the troubles already 
described. For this you will require clay or polypropylene pots. Make up the sowing 
compost and fill the pots in the normal way. Make sure the compost is moist. Place the 
pots into a plastic oven bag leaving the mouth of the bag untied. Now place the bag into a 
domestic pressure cooker with the recommended quantity of water Cook at 1 5 psifr " 

3 pots are done, release the p 

a cooker in the usual 

way. Remove the lid and quickly seal the bag making it airtight. The contents are 
absolutely sterile and will remain that way until the bag is opened again. Obviously, the 
bag will have to be opened to sow the spores but remove the pots quickly, one at a time 
and keep the bag sealed. When all the pots are sown and back in the bag, seal the bag 
■naking it airtight They will not require any attention for several weeks Remember, once 
you have opened the bag, sterility is gone and every time you open the bag, you allow more 
spores to invade your sowings. 
Pricking out and potting on 

Now let's move on to several weeks later and your sowings are a thick, healthy carpet o* 
fern prothalli. It's always difficult to avoid sowing spores too thickly, and crowded 
prothalli tends to arrest development. To make sure they continue to develop, we must 

singularly but prick them out in small clumps as you would with bedding Lobelia. If you 
have raised your prothalli in a closed case or bag, arise when they are brought 
into a dryer atmosphere, due to the soft growth that is encouraged by the warm, moist 
conditions Carefully wean the sporelings to the dryer atmosphere Once your sporelings 
gain some size, say with 3-4 fronds, they will be less vulnerable. They can be potted on 
into 3 inch pots using an ordinary potting compost With hardy ferns, it is much better to 
get them planted out in a nursery bed, in the garden, by the second season. They will 
develop much faster than being restricted in pots. Any sheltered, shady corner of the 
garden can be used as a nursery bed. 

the ferns into your own borders and swappiny 



My mornings usually begin at 6.1 5 a.m. with on 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

' and a cup of coffee in my hand to gently bring me out of 
my sleepy stupor. One morning, during October 1 983, as my attention passed from page 
3 to page 4, I heard the distant voice of Frank Bough, presenter of Breakfast Time', 
introduce an item on unusual Christian names, and he asked his co-presenter, M iss Fern 
Britton, how she came by hers. Miss Britton repliedthat she was named 'Fern' because a 
great grandfather of hers was a 'fern breeder'. 

You can imagine how those words galvanised my attention to the television screen! 
Dropping my morning paper into the waste paper bin, I hurriedly checked the Society's 
1 982 membership list for a 'Mr Britton'. No such name appeared, so I checked the 1 920 
and 1 930 lists. Still no 'Mr Britton* appeared. All that day I could not get the mysterious 
'fern breeder' out of my mind, so I wrote to Miss Britton asking for further details of her 
great grandfather. 

In due course. Miss Britton kindly replied to tell me that her fern-growing great 
grandfather was Canon Hawkins of Stroud in Gloucestershire, and that she would be 
very interested if I had any information about him. 

I was pleased to be able to supply her with the following information gleaned from the 
minute book and back-numbers of the British Fern Gazette. 

The Rev. E. H. Hawkins, M.A., was elected to the Society at the 18th Annual General 
Meeting at Kendal on August 2nd 1909. He remained an active member of the Society 
until June 1 936, when due to ill-health he resigned his membership. In the December of 
that year, he was elected an Honorary Member (an indication that the Society held him in 
great esteem). At the outbreak of war, the Society's activities were suspended. When the 
Bntish Fern Gazette reappeared in July 1 948 Canon Hawkins' name was missing from 
the membership list. 

As far as I know none of the reverend gentlemen's fern varieties are certainly still in 
cultivation (but see Bulletin 1 982 Vol. 2 No. 4 p. 1 96- 1 97), but it is pleasing to note that his 
fern interest is celebrated in a Fern' of today. 


A fully-grown soriferous plant of the Lady Fern, Male Fern or Soft Shield Fern can 
produce up to and over ONE THOUSAND MILLION spores in one season. (See extract 
from the writings of C.T Druery in the 1983 Bulletin, Vol. 2 No. 5). 



An account, based on literature sources, of the discovery and status c 
fern Cystopteris dickieana in its type locality and of its reported « 
only twelve years after being first brought to public notice in 1848 The 
present-day status of this rare fern is reviewed. 

'Having been the first to distribute specimens in a living state, 
among cultivars, my name has been associated with this singular 
variety. It was, however, no original discovery of mine, the late 
Professor Knight having been in the habit of showing it to his 

pupils. It is now completely extirpated ' 

George Dickie. 1860 

Dickie's Fern, Cystopteris dickieana is one of the less well-known British ferns, and 
perhaps one which many British pteridologists may not have seen in the wild although the 
species is widely cultivated. The type locality of the species lies in a sea-cave near 
Aberdeen, on the Kincardineshire coast. Here it is a distinct and attractive fern, bearing 
broad, overlapping pinnae which are slightly twisted on the rachis, a characteristic 
feature which tends to be lost in preserved herbarium specimens although it is 

found sparsely but widely in Europe and in two or three places elsewhere in Britain This 

lacks its distinctive overall appearance The spore characters, which separate the species 
from C. fragilis. need further investigation Spiny spores have been found even in this type 
locality (Mrs. Etta Sommerville, pers. comm. ). Page ( 1 982) suggests that the type locality 
may house a relatively pure' genetic form of C. dickieana, whereas other reported 
Scottish (and European?) forms may be partially introgressed with C. fragilis. If so. the 
'pure' Kincardineshire C. dickieana may be of sufficient international rarity to justify its 
official status as 'endangered' and its inclusion as a protected species in Britain under 
schedule 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). 

The British localities of Cystopteris dickieana lie within about seven kilometres of rugged 
coast in northern Kincardineshire. The cliffs are complex metamorphosed rocks of 
Dalradian age, sometimes capped with till and characterised by sea-caves and narrow 
inlets known locally as yawns'. Near Aberdeen there has been some recent disturbance 
from rubbish dumping and reinstatement, but in general the wild character of this area 
has been preserved despite the North Sea oil-related developments situated not far away 
Since the discovery of C. dickieana in the 1830s, about four sites have been found, 
although only two appear to have been visited in recent years Two of these sites are in 

potential C. dickieana habitat accessible only by boat, the fern may well occur in other 
places which have not been explored by botanists 

The type locality is an east facing sea-cave fronted by a pebble beach in the shelter of a 
small bay. This cave was probably once used for the storage of creels and other fishing 
gear of an old-established neighbouring settlement. The I 

cted visitors as long ago as 1838, when the parish minister of the day wrote: 
In the neighbourhood of this place there is a cave entering from the sea, 
several yards inland, and t 
the rocks, along the coast, 
arched in a very wonderful manner, 

j little to say 

about the local flora beyond a remark that the area was suitable for growing artichokes! 
The rocks of the type cave' appear to be gneiss with bands of quartz, although garnet- 
mica-schist and a variety of minerals including andalusite and sillimanite occur in the 
near vicinity. These rocks weather readily to form a moderately calcareous, reddish soil, 
supporting plants such as Geranium sanguineum. Astragalus danicus, Helianthemum 
chamaecistus and Koeleria cristata. The cave itself is normally dripping wet except in hot 
weather, and C. dickieana grows in deep shade, centred on a fissure across the cave roof. 
Apart from a clump of nettle on the site of a gull's nest, there are few flowering plants in 
the cave, and our fern's main associates are Asplenium marinum and Athyrium filix- 
femina. From a short distance the cave has a dramatic and slightly sinister appearance 
(which may be well justified if the visitor happens to misjudge the tide). The general effect 
is spoiled when, as occasionally happens, a local philistine tips a lorryload of household 

Cystopteris dickieana was not named and described in a printed journal until 1 848, but by 
then the presence of an unusual fern in one of the Kincardine caves had been known to 
Aberdeen botanists for at least a decade. The original discoverer, according to George 
Dickie (1860), was William Knight (1786-1844), a forceful and sardonic Professor of 
Natural Philosphy at Marischal College, Aberdeen. Although botany was then a very 
minor subject in the natural philosophy curriculum, Knight took a keen interest in plants 
and by organising and leading private field classes, "did essential service in diffusing a 
taste for botanic pursuits. " The rocky coast south of Aberdeen was a popular location for 
field outings from the late 1830s onwards. Not only Knight but other well known north 
eastern naturalists like James Nicol and William MacGillivray trod the beaten track from 
the Aberdeen colleges across the windy headland of Girdleness to the secluded coastal 
fishing bothies and caves. Under the direction of these masters, pupils were expected to 
examine, collect and classify examples of the wide variety of rocks, plants and shore life. 
The pupils probably enjoyed these collecting trips. John Michie, later a parish minister 
and an avid antiquarian, recalled pleasant memories of Saturday excursions to the 
Kincardine sea coast in 1853 where he and his fellows spent many hours "collecting 
specimens and enjoying free intercourse with each other" (Michie, 1908). In 
consequence, the short stretch of coastline which included the dickieana was by 1860 
among the most minutely documented — and heavily collected — places in north east 

ckieana was made in the first of Dickie's three 
t the entry for Cistopteris (sic) fragi/is, he writes 
"Asplenium marinum ... and Cistopteris 
fragilis (are) found in moist caves on the coast." Since C. fragilis sensu recens has never 
been recorded from this area, it is clear that C. fragilis' was none other than the fern 
which would later bear Dickie's own name. This is confirmed by PH. MacGillivray's 
Catalogue of the Flo wering Plants and Ferns growing in the neighbourhood of Aberdeen 
( 1 853) which lists the fern's correct name against the same locality. Since Dickie himself 
was one of Professor Knight's pupils, he was probably one of those to whom the fern was 
shown, some time before 1838. By 1839, when he was appointed lecturer at King's 
College, Aberdeen, Dr Dickie already had a reputation as an acute and critical systematic 

botanist. He may already h 

living material to the leading pteridologists of the day. The type collection, gathered by 
Dickie in 1 842, now resides in the herbaria of the British Museum (Natural History) and 
the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew The holotype is labelled retrospectively in Dickie's own 
handwriting, C. fragilis var Dickieana Sea cave near Aberdeen 1642 ' Dickie's later 
Botanist's Guide of 1860 allows the location of this sea cave to be pin pointed with 
certainty. Other material either collected or cultivated by Dickie dates from 1843. 1846 
and 1850. Those who received living material included Thomas Moore and Edward 
i ferns 

One of the first nurserymen to receive the fern was Robert Sim ( 1 79 1 - 1 878) of Foots Cray, 
Kent. In a short paper in the Gardener's and Farmer's Journal for 1 848, Sim published a 
description of the fern (including the appearance of the spores) under a new taxon, 
Cystopteris fragilis var Dickieana. adding that "if any of the recorded species of 
Cystopteris apart from C. fragilis have a claim to rank as such, so also must C Dickieana " 
It is worth noting that Sim was aware that the fern had first been discovered by Knight and 
not by Dickie. We must assume that he decided on Dickieana' rather than Knightiana 
because it was Dickie who, realising the fern's true status, was the first to bring it to the 
attention of a wider scientific public. Curiously enough, Dickie had also discovered a 
diatom new to science during the course of his visits to the cave, which was named 
Orthosira dickieii. Thus this shy, methodical man was granted the singular distinction of 
two eponymous plants from the same cave. Sim's note was followed by a communication 
from the celebrated Thomas Moore in The Botanical Gazette (1849) Moore, who had 
received living material of the fern from Dickie in 1 846 and had thereafter maintained it in 
cultivation, was inclined to agree with Sim that dickieana merited specific rank However, 
he decided to play safe and listed it as a mere variety of C fragilis in the next edition of h.s 
Handbook of British Ferns (1849) which included the first figure < 

publicity followed. C.C Babingtc 

his Manual of Botany < 

Cystopteris dentata forma Dickieana and later editions of Newman's British Ferns and 
new fern books like Moore and Lindley's Nature Printed Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland 

i, was becoming known to the fern growing public by the early 1 850s 

approaching its height (Allen, 1969). Although there is no evidence that fern gathering 
was popular in Aberdeen outside academic circles (the Royal Fern, for instance, survived 
on a crag not far from the dickieana cave throughout these years), dickieana was bound to 
attract the attentions of professional dealers and nurserymen from further afield 
It does appear that a brief period of indiscriminate collecting in the 1850s by 
nurserymen and local field botanists did almost exterminate the fern in its best known 
station, the type locality. The evidence that dickieana nearly became a victim of the fern 
craze is largely circumstantial As a new variety, it must have been in demand, for most o 
the commercial nurserymen eventually listed it in their catalogues Its beauty was also 
awarded high pr.ase by contemporaries Moore called it the most deeded Variety (of C 
fragilis) yet known', while James Backhouse, to whom we shall return, described the wild 
fern as striking and beautiful' Sh.rley H.bberd paid it the compliment of placing its 
portrait on the frontispiece of his Fern Garden ( 1 869). adding that with one exception, the 
varieties (of C fragilis) are worthless, but Dickieana makes amends for all Neither was 

contrary, pteridologists \ 

pains to identify the site as accurately a 
I of Dickie's, W Sutherland, was moved 
3 places on the seacoast near Aberdeen In 

Pteridologisf\ (1984) 

Sutherland, it should be 
your cry', he proclaims ii 
your object.' 

In his Botanist's Guide to the Counties of Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine, published two 
years later, Dickie states that his fern had been completely extirpated' from the type 
locality. One possible reason for this sudden decline is provided by C. Barter (1 856) who 
was much disappointed to find the cave fallen in considerably and the few plants 
remaining very small'. The fern was present in greater quantity in the early 1 850s when it 
was collected, probably heavily, by a number of botanists and r 
Backhouse the younger visited the cave in 1 852: 
"I have (dickieana) in cultivation", he wrote in a 
describing the cave and outlining his views on the 
know how many plants he removed, but he managed to fill several herbarium sheets 
which still survive and had enough living material left over to cultivate a commercial 
supply in his glasshouses. In 1 857, he possessed a sufficient stock of Scottish dickieana 
to offer it in his catalogue at 3s. 6d. per plant — not a large sum compared with the half 
guineas being lavished on choice rarities like the Woodsias or Trichomanes speciosum. 
Even so. Backhouse was soon being underpriced by rival nurserymen such as Sim (1 859: 
2s. 6d.) and Stansf ield ( 1 858: 1 s. Od. - surely a great bargain) who had likewise amassed 
quantities of the fern. By the mid-1 860s, the going rate for dickieana had dropped to a 
paltry 1s. Od. to 1s. 6d. The demand, if such there was, appears to have been satiated 
remarkably quickly. The reason was probably the ease by which the fern could be 
propagated in cultivation. In later editions of his popular British Ferns, Edward Newman 
commented that "it is a Derfectlv healthv niant n«t m nn c«r n „ f| or distorted, and it 

produces its like from seeds f 

r many generations, becoming a perfect v 

fragihs, under s.milar treatment, rarely reproduces itself." Shirley Hibberd's Fern Garden 
gave detailed mstructions on how to cultivate dickieana which was a straightforward 
enough job providing slugs and snails were kept at bay ("They must be trapped and 
destroyed with energy; you must be a Thug to such people"). Early material of dickieana 
has been maintained in cultivation to this day (Page, 1 982). The ease by which it can be 
probably saved C. dickieana from extinction in Kincardineshire, for there was 

iinie incentive tor nurserymen to loot the remaining wild population after 1860. 
Was Dickie correct in asserting that dickieana had been completely extirpated from i 
type locality by 1 860? We can be r 

have the corroborative evidence of Sutherland (1858) and Professor James Trail, 
regarded it as almost extinct' (Trail, 1923). On the other hand, there e:..-„ . 
material from 1871, 1879, 1886 and 1893, whose labels suggest that the ferns were 
gathered from the type locality. And since dickieana is happily still with us in its original 
cave, there would seem to be only two possibilities (barring a deliberate ^introduction, 
for which there is no evidence); either the fern recolonised the cave from one of its other 
localities or Dickie was mistaken. 

A natural recolonisation within a dozen years of the fern's extirpation is presumably 
feasible, although the nearest known station is separated from the type locality by a rocky 
headland and there the fern is said to be morphologically dissimilar from the type and 
r to C. fragilis. In favour of Dickie being mistaken, there is this to say: From 1 850 to 
" L 3 department of Natural History in Belfast, and his opportunities 

1860, Dickie chaired tl 

native burgh were limited during t 
al History in Aberdeen in May 1860, he would have been unusually busy 
new curriculum and running his department; we might presume that his 
severely curtailed for a time. After the conclusion of the first class session, 
of his students on a botanical tour of Ben Macdui and Cairngorm, where he 
/ere bronchitis and never fully recovered. His Botanist's Guide, published 

year, was compiled mostly from material gathered many years earlier or from 

Is of pupils and friends. 

Somebody told me that someone said 
That some other person had somewhere read 
In some newspaper that you were somehow dead! 
The sparse, inconclusive record suggests that C. dickieana did survive in its original 
station in very small quantity. G.C. Druce evidently found the fern there in 1 886, but was 
unable to do so in 1 91 8. The majority of botanists have always visited this one relatively 
:o pay their respects to the fern. The other localities are not often visited 
number is uncertain They are as follows: 

From micaceous rocks' about three kilometres south of Aberdeen harbour 
(Barter, 1856). 

Here by a small rill that fell over the rocks, I managed to creep down and was 
gratified to find Cystopteris in profusion. It is growing on rocks which 
overhang, so that the plants are much sheltered. I gathered fronds of C 
dickieana here from six to eight inches long ... From the luxuriant specimens 
gathered here, and the abundance of plants noticed, I presume no ruthless 
hand had been plant-gathering here of late, whilst the difficulty of reaching 
the spot will always afford it protection from invaders, excepting perhaps 
those affected with the Fern-man.a. I filled my box with plants and fronds, 
leaving abundance for those who choose to follow by venturing the same 

/o kilometres north of 
A station north of the type locality where it occurs in profusion (Druce, 191 9) 
The editor of the British Fern Gazette claimed that Druce had found the fern 
in several places' (Rowlands, 1929) although I 
ned the 

Such is the curious, chequered history of C dickieana in > 
suggests that the original site was over-collected during the 1850s by commercial 
nurserymen and by successive student botanists who were encouraged to collect in the 
area An underlying cause for the fluctuating fortunes of the fern may be that occasional 
rock-falls and changes in the microcl.mate of the cave, particularly humidity, serve to 
regulate the fern's numbers and fertility. 

One intriguing possibility, which could go some way to explain why C. dickieana was so 
slow to recover after 1860. is that the fern appears to have been less fertile in the 
century In 1852, Backhouse observed that the Cystopter.s is generally 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

without fructification' and most nineteenth century herbarium material appears to be 
sterile. This contrasts markedly with the abundance of sporelings and fertile fronds found 
in most recent years. After the relatively dry summer of 1 982, c. 1 30 sporelings and c. 1 90 
mature plants were counted, and in 1 958, evidently a favourable year, no less than 1 000 
sporelings and 470 mature plants appeared (Chater, pers. comm.). In 1 958, the cave was 
dripping wet and conditions of high humidity may favour the fern's reproductive capacity 
By contrast a succession of hot summers, which the late nineteenth century sometimes 
enjoyed, might reduce the populations numbers and overall fertility, and be capable of 
retarding its recovery from a low ebb. After the hot summers of 1 975 and 1 976, the fern's 
numbers were relatively low, except in the dark crevice along the roof of the cave. The 
'ous level within living memory, however, and its 
be favourable: there is currently a healthy 
regenerating population i and one which lies mostly out of reach of human hand; there are 

tes and the recent designation of the plan 

s attention or 

f the Botanical 

Substantial p 

Society of Edinburgh Vol. 44, 1983, 

Botanical Society of Edinburgh. 

It is a pleasure to thank Etta Sommerville, Arthur Chater, Nigel Hall and John Mitchell, 

who generously allowed me to make use of material from their own researches and to J. 

Grant Roger and Dr Derek Ratcliffe f 

iACKHrSili: 1 ?^J& XL Ct0 " an Fern Craze Hutchison, London. 
SaSSI?^ J ' 1852 Ph *ologist. 4. 716. 

Aberdeen. 1860 Botanist ' s Guide t0 <** Counts of Aberdeen. Banff and Kinca 
D 31 7 E 318 C ' 1 9 1 9 CyStopter,s re <" a Presl. var. Dickieana (Sim) Druce. Bot. Soc. & Ex 

Easy. London 
JERMY, AC., ec 
MacGILLIVRAY, P., 1853" 

1869. The Fern Garden. How to Make. Keep and Enjoy It. or Fern C 

^^t%s A - berd ^ n ' Aberdeen 

, J, 1980. 

MITCHELL.— r-^ ^es. 

heFem S CyStopteris Bot ™ical Gazette. 1. 
SUTHERLAND ^ rd f^ sa " d c Farme ^ Journal. 2 (2Q\. 308. 



onfusion arising from the frequent r 

In 1970, in our Newsletter No. 8 (the precursor of our present Bulletin), I published, under 

the same heading as above, a list of all our latest fern names along with the older ones. 

Since then there have been many more changes, and it is time to re-publish the list, 

bringing it up-to-date. 

I repeat what I said in 1 970 that I have not delved deeply for very early names which are of 

botanical interest only, and do not affect growers and other members working from both 

the old books and more recent ones. 


ANOGRAMMA LEPTOPHYLLA — Jersey Fern, Slender-leaved Gymnogram 

Gymnogramme leptophylla 

A. X ALTERNIFOLIUM — Alternate-leaved Spleenwort 

A. x germanicum 
A. BILLOTII — Lanceolate Spleenwort 

A. CETERACH — Rusty-back Fern 

Ceterach officinarum 
A. FONTANUM — Smooth Rock Spleenwort 
A. MARINUM — Sea Spleenwort 
A. SCOLOPENDRIUM — Harts-tongue Fern 

Phyllitis scolopendrium 

Scolopendrium vulgare 
A. SEPTENTRIONALE — Forked Spleenwort 
A. TRICHOMANES — Maidenhair Spleenwort 

A. VIRIDE — Green Spleenwort 

A. alpestre 

Polypodium alpestre 

Pseudo-athyrium alpestre 

Polypodium flexile 

Lomaria spicant 

Allosorus crispus 



C. FRAGILIS — Brittle B 

D. AEMULA — Hay-scented Buckler Fern 

Lastrea foenisecii 

L. recurva 
D. AFFINIS — Scaly Male Fern. 



JTATA — Crested Buckler Fern 

iTATA — Broad Buckler Fern 
D. austriaca 

EXPANSA — Alpine Buckler Fern 

D. assimilis 

Lastrea dilatata alpina 
. FILIX-MAS — Male Fern 

Lastrea filix-mas 
. OREADES — Dwarf Male Fern 

D. abbreviata 

D. SUBMONTANA - Rigid Buckler Fern 

D. villarn 

Lastrea rigida 

Dryopteris linnaeana 

Lastrea dryopteris 

Phegopteris dryopteris 

Polypodium dryopteris 

Thelypteris dryopteris 
G. ROBERTIANUM — Limestone Fern, Limestone Polypody 

Polypody robertianum 

P. calcareum 

Thelypteris c 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

0. VULGATUM — Adder's Tongue 

OREOPTERIS LIMBOSPERMA — Mountain Fern, Mountain Buckler Fern 

Dryopteris montana 

Thelypteris limbosperma 

T. oreopteris 

Dryopteris phegopteris 

Gymnocarpium phegopteris 

Lastrea phegopteris 

Polypodium phegopteris 

Thelypteris phegopteris 

Phegopteris polypodioides 

P. vulgaris 

An aggregate of three species — 

P. AUSTRALE — Southern Polypody 
P. INTERJECTUM — Intermediate Polypody 
P. VULGARE (sensu stricto) — Common Polypody 


Pteris aquilina 

T. palustris Subspecies: glabra 

Dryopteris thelypteris 

Lastrea thelypteris 

TRICHOMANES SPECIOSUM — Killarney Fern, Bristle Fern 


W. hyperborea 
W. ILVENSIS — Oblong Woodsia 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 



While recently hunting through the Society's odds and ends at the British Museum 
(Natural History), I came across this photograph of T.E. Henwood's polypodium collection. 
Henwood's polypods were famous early this century and presumably this photograph 
was intended as a frontispiece of the British Fern Gazette to complement the article 
describing the collection (See British Fern Gazette, Vol.2, pp.224-227(1914)). Perhaps it 
was not used because the priority at the time was to illustrate some of the many new 

ith particular interest in polypods, I find this photograph full of 
interest, especially when examined in tandem with Henwood's account. Although the 
original text is too long to reprint in full, I can, perhaps, point out one or two of the more 
obvious varieties: P. australe 'Cambricum' is in the left foreground, while at the right by 
the edge of the bench is P. vulgare Trichomanoides Backhouse'. A small plant next door 
but one behind this looks like the legendary P. australe 'Grandiceps Parker' (any 
knowledge of the continued existence of this would be most welcome!) Large at the back 
are Pulcherrimum', 'Omnilacerum' and 'Semilacerum' forms. Half way along thef ront of 
the bench is a very crisped form, presumably one of the Cambricums'. Just slightly below 
dead centre, partially covered by a frond of 'Omnilacerum' is a P. australe 'Cristatum' 
form. Other forms can be picked out and names sometimes deduced or confirmed by 
reference to the original description. 
In the original Gazette article useful notes on polypodium cultivation are given, briefly Mr 

3) For soil use loam, decayed leaves and old mortar rubbish with a fair sprinkling of bone 
Perhaps \ 


Our most common fern is (no prizes for guessing this onel) — Pteridium aquilinum. 

Our most beautiful wild species (MY choice) is Dryopteris aemula. 

can grow up to 1 2 feet, and more when it gets 

A , 

W/M. x * 



'■• ' J!^ - * '■* 

^000"^". ' 

■ r " jk-s*'**' 

> : ^ 

SOT W^fBSfBt' 

s polypodium collection. Readm 

. Evesham, Worcestershir* 

Pteridologist 1 ( 1 984) 



The stand was found to be approximately 70m long, 1 m wide on one side of the track and 
2m wide on the other. The sides of the embankment are colonised by extensive stands of 
Equisetum arvense L growing almost everywhere for several hundred metres, except 
where the E. x font-queri grows. Many of the shoots of E. arvense are very robust, 
approaching the size of E. x font-queri. No other Equisetum species were found up to 
nearly 2 Km north of the site along the embankment. The E. x font-queri grows amongst 
Helictotrichon pubescens (Hudson) Pilger as co-dominant species for most of the 

On the first visit (10 June) there were numerous cones, approximately one in twenty 
shoots being fertile. However, on the second visit (1 3 July) not one cone was observed 
During the July visit measurements were taken of the height and shoot density of the 

colony on the widest side of the track. A wire ring of area 64m 2 was used, the density 
found by counting the shoots within the ring, and the height by measuring the shoot 
nearest to the centre of the ring. The mean height was found to be 0.63m with a standard 
deviation of 0.10m. One exceptional shoot was measured to be 1.10m high The mean 
density was found to be 67.62 shoots m— 2 with a standard deviation of 63 45 shoots 

number of shoots in the colony as 14200. 

ROBERTS, R.H. & PAGE. C.N 1979 Fern Gaz 


Would a Plant Distribution Service Work? 

Most raisers of spores, and I am no exception, inevitably grow more plants than they 
need, and the questions always arise: Can I give them away? Sell them? Put them on the 
compost heap? Exchange them? Well, ideally they should be distributed to those 
newcomers wishing to build up an "instant collection"; to those who for some reason 
cannot raise spores; and, in particular, to those who have plants to exchange in return 
If all our members or even institutions with surplus plants were to send full details to a 
central organiser, then lists of available species with addresses could be sent to people 
who had previously indicated their desire to obtain specific ferns. That part of the exercise 
would be one of information collation and reconciliation. The interested party could then 
communicate directly with the donor(s) concerned, sending a contribution for the 
postage, whereupon the distribution would be effected. Someone with expertise in 
sending plants through the post could perhaps advise on the best methods in terms of 
protection and survival, so necessary for small and delicate ferns 
Yes, I think it would work, and moreover, fulfill a useful function in supplying plants to 
those in most need. Any takers ? R p H ^mb 



In the B.P.S. Bulletin for 1982 I publis 

i Trizelliae'. This most unusual -shaped Lady Fern variety, I 
the Tatting Fern, was found in Ireland in 1857 by Mrs Frizell and moved into a nearby 
garden where, I am assured by a visitor to the garden in recent years, the original plant is 
still growing strongly. The fronds are long and very narrow, up to about 1 2 inches or more, 
and a half-inch or less wide. The pinnae are tightly curled into flattened balls little more 
than a quarter-inch across, with the fan-shaped pinnules overlapping and piled up on top 
of each other. It breeds true, and over the years has become a section with many forms, 
ranging from tall to very dwarf, plus several crested ones with long open apical divisions 
and similarly-shaped curled pinnae. The fronds have been described by writers in the 
past as being like strings of green beads, a very apt description. It has one fault which, I am 
sure, must have been inherited from the original find, a tendency for the odd pinnae on the 
it out into normal growth. The beauty of this gem is such that this 
i be readiy overlooked. This fern grows happily in the fern border under normal 
)t seem to object to sunlight. It is possible, however, that too 
s may favour the tendency for the pinnae to "explode". 
A.I. 'Setigerum'. This was an important and very distinct find, made in Lancashire in 
1878. The pinnules are very deeply cut into spaced linear segments, tipped with fine, 
rather pale, bristles, hence the name Setigerum'. There is now a small section of progeny 
from this fern, and it is rather surprising that more has not been made of its possibilities 
which are great. Plants are available commercially and, as the setigerate quality is a 
dominant one, a collection of very good varieties can be built upf rom spore sowings. It is a 
strong upright grower, and a very handsome addition to the fern border. 

Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum Bland'. Although known usually by this name, tnis 
variety is really the type plant of Plumoso-divisilobum'. Found in Ireland in 1910, it is 
recognised as the finest wild find of Divisilobum. It grows up to 2 feet, out -spreading, with 
large pinnae resembling small fronds, triangular in shape and overlapping. The pinnules 
are very long, more so on the lower sides of the pinnae, with narrow well-spaced 
pinnulets like small pinnules and themselves divided. It has a hardish crisp texture, and a 
very open and airy graceful habit. It is one of our most beautiful ferns, but although it 
produces bulbils generously they are rather stubborn to propagatge, so the variety is not 

P.s. 'PlumosumgrandeMoly. This impressive variety wasfound in Dorset over 100years 
ago, and is still with us, as upright and strong -growing as ever. It is completely barren — a 
true plumosum — and can only be propagated from offsets. Fortunately, it is not too mean 
with these, so the fern has got around, but it is not common in cultivation. It can grow up to 
4 feet high with heavy broad fronds and wide overlapping pinnules on the large pinnae. 
The height and the weight of the fronds make it very susceptible to wind damage, and the 
very persistent fronds can be broken down by snow in winter. This is a most handsome 
and outstanding variety for the fern border. 

Dryopteris filix-mas Grandiceps Wills'. There are several good Grandiceps in 
cultivation, many of them not named, and quite good ones can be found occasionally m 
the wild. Grandiceps Wills' is one of the best, a strong grower, forming large clumps with 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

i Dorset in 1870, i 

lightish-green in colour, and are exceedingly narrow with no roo 
very large round sori which project round their edges like beads. The terminal crests are 
long, narrow and many-fingered, and this also describes those on the long tapering 
pinnae. The fronds are about 3 feet high, sometimes upright but more often very 
straggling, giving a diffused rather misty appearance to the open clumps. Being a vigorous 
spreader, these quickly become large and handsome. As with all lineares, there is a slight 
tendency to become depauperate but this has to be looked for. This is a highly 

D. affinis (pseudomas) Angustata cristata'. This is one of our most beautiful fern 
varieties, and a handsome, very popular show fern. It was raised in the nursery of Sim of 
Foots Cray in Kent about 1 00 years ago, and is still as strong-growing as ever The crested 
fronds are long, tapering and very narrow, only about 2 inches wide, with an arching 
tendency. The short pinnae consist almost entirely of large crispy rounded crests. A well 

D. dilatata Lepidota cristata'. This very beautiful variety is about 18 inches high, with 
finely cut tripinnate fronds and reflexed final segments. The fronds are triangular in 
shape, fully crested, and rigidly upright in habit. They are densely covered with small red- 
breeds true from spores. There is also a non-crested form. 

D. aemula. I finish Dryopteris with a species which needs no varieties to qualify it for a 
place among the elite — no variation could add to its present beauty. There was a crested 
form once — when I saw it the plant was on its way out and has not been recovered This 
fern is about 1 8 inches high (often more). The fronds are triangular with very crisped and 
bristly pinnules. They feel very hard when slipped through the hand. The colour is bright 
green and the stipes are a dark red-brown. Given a good humus soil and light shade this 
fern can be one of the high spots in the fern garden. 

Gymnocarpium dryopteris 'Plumosum'. This is the only variety of this species which is, in 
itself, a very beautiful dwarf fern for the garden. The fronds, 6 to 10 inches high, rise 
singly from the thin black spreading (but not excessively so) rootstock. and form beautiful 
patches of delicate greenery, soft bright green in colour - Druery describes it as 
moonlight green", a very sensitive description! They are three-branched, broadly 
triangular in shape, with very wide overlapping pinnules. This little gem is one of the 
greatest treasures in the fern garden and it breeds true from spores. 

Polypodium australe 'Cambricum'. Our oldest known fern variety, this fern was first 
found in 1 690 in Wales (hence Cambricum) by the well-known early botanist - John Ray 
- the colony still flourishes in its original habitat which is fortunately not very accessible 
The variety is a true plumosum, completely sterile — in spite of some claims to the 
contrary when it has been confused with fertile Cambncum-like finds. The fronds are 
short, 6 to 1 5 inches, and very wide, with very broad overlapping pir 
base and deeply divided into long narrow segments at the middle; the textur 
is a creeping fern with fleshy rhizomes, growing on or just below the si 
ground. It forms spreading clumps and is propagated easily from sections of 
It is easy to obtain since there is plenty of it around There are several allied, i 
sterile varieties which are included in the Cambricum section 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

P. vulgare Cornubiense trichomanoides'. This very superior fern, said to be a sport fron 
'Cornubiense' (see my list of varieties in last year's Bulletin) was raised by Backhouse ii 
his York nursery around the turn of the century. It is smaller and more fully divided witl 
narrow tripinnate or quadripinnate divisions, but with the same parental fault c 
throwing at times fronds partially or wholly reverting to the normal species form. / 
crested form also exists, 'Cornubiense trichomanoides Jean Taylor', bred and name 
after his wife by Jack Healey of the now defunct Taylors' Nursery of Bracknell i 



Coniogramme species have an exotic appearance which I find appealing. There are c 

and Madagascar having one each. Rhizome creeping; frond medium to fairly large; rachis 
and pinna midrib grooved. Species are similar in general form, but apart from such 
subtleties as pinna shape, key distinguishing features are entire or serrate margins, 
venation and sori. Sori lack indusia and follow veins; in some species extending almost to 
margins, in others leaving a border. Most species have free veins (differing in numbers of 
forkings), but a few e.g. C. japonica, have netted (anastomosing) veins (see illustration a.) 
This might not seem greatly interesting to every fern grower, I admit, but from these key 
features it can be established that insofar as species are cultivated and shown in 
cultivation books — which is not often — th< 

I have, at present, four species (I would like to try more, especially Chinese ones .....) 
Cultivation seems easy enough, with preferably a moist woodland type soil and lavish 
shelter, for one drawback is that what should he highly ornamental fronds in the winter 
garden are easily broken by autumn winds, while the chief enemies are slugs and snails: 
the illustrated frond of C. omeiense is, in fact, a reconstruction from what was left of their 
Christmas dinnerl I have young plants of C. fraxinea (spores from the Philippines): despite 
suggestions to the contrary in cultivation books I don't expect that this widely distributed 
species is hardy. The name was once applied sweeping ly; my guess isthat what is meant 
by hardy C. fraxinea' is, in fact, C. intermedia, of which I also have a young plant, currently 
in a pot in my lath-house. What is shown as C. japonica in B.J. Hoshizaki's Fern Growers 
Manual is probably C. intermedia, it's certainly not C. japonica. I also grow C. japonica, the 
best known species, it is very slow to establish, which seems characteristic of the genus. 
The subspecies gracilis, of which a spore sowing went awry, may be more tender. The 
illustrated plant is C. omeiense var fancipinna, which is variegated and came from 
Szechuan: a treasured donation to the Rush collection, it grows on a timescale similar to 
Pofypodium australe. Also illustrated is the underside of a C. japonica pinna, collected m 
January and mellowed by frosts, so tl 
fertile pinna the tones would be reversed. 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 



spores of Blechnum spicant 'Serratum', a wild find I 
. The spores were part of my first batch of BPS 
e progress of my early sowingsthan I do now, so I 
I by 1978 seemed to perish in the following 
I out in August 1 979. It was a 
good plant until it was dug up by a cat (for customary feline excavatory purposes). One 
prothallus remained in the original spore culture, and, after transferring it to new 
quarters, it showed a first frond in 1 980. Thereafter it made more normal progress and by 
1 982 was clearly a consistently and thoroughly dissect form which — after consultation 
— has been named 'Bipinnatifidum Rush'. 'Serratum' is a fine variety in its own right: my 
plant is a clear step on, and is consistent in all fronds. This, like Athyrium filix-femina 
'Kalothrix Coughlin' (see Bulletin 1983), demonstrates that the promises with which 
cultivation books entice us into trying fern raising are not false. 

Blechnum spicant Bipinnatifidum Rush'. Fronds elliptic-lanceolate, bipinnatifid; 
pinnae c.5mm wide, deeply lobed or cut almost to the midrib. A characteristic of the 
plant is the wide spacing of the pinnae. 

Blechnum spicant Serratum Rickard'. Fronds elliptic-lanceolate, bipinnatifid; pinnae 
sub-falcate, c. 10mm wide, lobed or cut half way to midrib. A characteristic of the plant 

For interest I also illustrate a frond from a young plant of B. spicant Cristatum', ex Cor van 
1 form found by Nigel Hall in 
' found in Herefordshire. 
Silhouettes of both Bipinnatifidum Rush' and Serratum Rickard' are illustrated. 


On Finding the Maidenhair Fern in Northants! 

Imagine my consummate surprise and amazement when during an otherwise uneventful 
walk with our dog in December, the plants growing in the mortar of a long-disused railway 
bridge proved to be not the ub\c\u\\ous Asplenium ruta-muraria, but of all iems,Adiantum 
capillus-veneris\ And I didn't even know if grew so far from the sea, here in Daventry just 
about as far from the coast as it's possible to get. Communication at length with Matt 
Busby suggested its origin as a "garden escape" and revealed the fact that this plant is 
known from other inland sites. The precise mechanism for the spread inland is apparently 
unknown, but one could postulate all sorts of hypotheses. 

The ferns grow on just one bridge abutment — not the one on the other side of the road — 
and are fairly numerous. Some tufts appear dead, possibly after the very hard winter two 
years ago. The living plants are of generally diminutive stature, with fronds at most 
25-50mm (1-2") long, hardly luxuriant in habit as the environment would suggest. The 
abutment faces approximately N.E., height being just under 450ft. O.D., grid reference 
SP 574 637. In the spring I shall examine the site in greater detail, also paying attention to 
other railway bridges in the vicinity, and take representative photographs. Obviously, 
spores will be collected since the offspring may well prove hardy enough to grow in a 
suitable spot in my garden, admittedly higher than the bridge above mean sea level 

R. P. H. LAMB 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 



Earlier this century C.T. Druery published several fascinating accounts of fern variety 
hunting. These appeared mthe British Fern Gazette Vol.1, p. 1 1 (1909) and Vol. 3, pp.93 & 
1 1 6 (1 91 6) and in British Ferns and their Varieties (1910) p.49, and no doubt elsewhere. 

escaped my notice. 

Encouraged by Jimmy Dyce, I have found the search for fern varieties a very pleasant 
pastime and I hope, with the aid of this article, to encourage more BPS members to take up 
this satisfying side of our hobby. Of course, any stroll in a ferny area can uncover a variety; 
however experience shows that the chances of success can be improved by considering 
certain factors. 

Examination of records for old variety finds will give an indication of the most profitable 
areas, e.g. The Lake District or the Deven/Dorset borders. Cynics may argue that these 
are the best areas because the fern men of the past lived in them, but I think there is more 
to it than that. Certainly I have found plenty of evidence of variation in these two regions. 
Another useful clue is to hunt lanes and hedgebanks near past and present fern nurseries 
or fern gardens. I have found a fine Polystichum setiferum 'Divisilobum' near Moly's old 
house in West Dorset, Dryopteris filix-mas Grandiceps', Polystichum setiferum 
'Cristatum' and 'Multilobum' near the site of Dadd's nursery at llfracombe, while 
Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum' was found near Reg Kaye's nursery in Silverdale by 

Most of the apparently variety-rich areas are either on limestone or in areas with a 
calcareous soil. It is in these regions that Polystichum setiferum, Asplenium 
sco/opendrium and Po/ypodium australe thrive and it is these three species which I have 
found most likely to give sports. My experience has been largely concentrated on the area 
of East Devon, South Somerset and West Dorset in the Axe Valley — the happy hunting 
ground of great names of the past like MolyWills, Jones and Wollaston. Even now useful 
variation can be found there — but not easily. I consider that to be successful there is a 
need to show some dedication to the hobby. Moly may have found Polystichum setiferum 
•Pulcherrimum' several times in one day, but I would estimate that on average I am lucky 
if I find one moderate variety every 10 hours, and a good variety every 25 hours, but I've 
never found a Pulcherrimum'!! Fortunately plentiful ferns and the surrounding 
countryside are almost always adequate compensation for failure! Minor varieties, e.g. 
Polypodium vulgare 'Acutum' or 'Bifidum', Polystichum setiferum 'Tripinnatum' or 
Asplenium sco/opendrium Sub-cristatum' are common and can often be found at the rate 
of several an hour While of no real merit in themselves, such minor variants are useful in 
that they indicate a basic tendency to variation within a population. Certainly, I have 
found P. setiferum Divisilobum' growing among P.s. Tripinnatum' and I suspect that 
Divisilobum' is probably an improved selection of Tripinnatum' (known aff ectionalely as 
Tripe' on field meetings!). Whenever I find Tripe' now my heart beats a little faster. 
In some areas good varieties seem non-existant, despite abundant ferns — for example 
this is true of the Ludlow area where I live. In nearly three years I have not found a single 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

Combining these two factors the best locality seems to be at the damp base of north 
facing lane banks. Of all my wild variety finds about 80% have come from this type of 
habitat. Jimmy Dyce, conversely has found relatively dry roadside banks also productive 
In the past it has been said that varieties are more likely where the species is not 
particularly common. I remain unconvinced of this; certainly I did find Oreopteris 
limbosperma Cristulata' as an isolated plant on Dartmoor, but in the vast majority of 
cases varieties seem to be among numerous normals, or minor variants, of the species. 
Druery also wrote an article on fern hunting in winter (British Fern Gazette Vol.1 , p 40 
(1909) ) where he made several very valid observations. He points out that many fern 
species prone to variation are evergreen, e.g. Polystichums. Aspleniums, Polypodiums 
and Blechnum, and because much of the associated vegetation is deciduous it is easier to 
see the ferns clearly. He also refers to the problem of hedge trimming even in 1909; of 
course, now this problem is much more widespread and as a consequence summer 
hunting along many lanes can be frustrating. Hedge cutters remove frond tips thus 
making the detection of crested varieties very difficult, but other forms of variation, while 
disfigured, are often still detectable. 

Seven species or species groups have given most of our garden varieties, the chance of 
successful hunting for each varies from region to region. Based on triumphs in the past, 
and sometimes my own experience, I would recommend exploring the following areas for 
varieties of each species: 
Polystichum setiferum: Usually lime-rich regions. Axe Valley, Devon; Lower Wye Valley. 

Gwent/Glos. borders; Cotswolds; Brendon Hills, east of Exmoor. 
Asplenium scolopendrium: Usually lime-rich regions. Axe Valley, Devon; Lower Wye 

Valley, Gwent/Glos. borders (in one lane in Gwent, Col. Jones is reputed to have 

found 29 plants of As. 'Crispum', the gem of the Harts Tongues!); southern Lake 

District; Pennines, particularly in limestone pavements. 
Dryopteris filix-mas and D. affinis: Lake District; North Devon. 
Oreopteris limbosperma: Acid soils. Lake District, particularly southern falls near Kendal; 

Polypodium vulgare agg: Most varieties are P. australe which usually grows on 

limestone rocks and walls in the warmer counties. Southern Lake District; south 

Devon; lower Wye Valley; Mendip Hills; south-west Ireland. 
Athyrium filix-femina: Usually on acidic soils. Lake District; Pennirtes; Scotland 
Blechnum spicant: Acid soils. Lake District; Mountains of Mourne, Northern Ireland; 

Scotland; Wales. 
Dryopteris di/atata, Pteridium aquilinum, Aspleniums (other than A scolopendrium) and 

Polystichum aculeatum. Varieties could occur anywhere in the range of the normal 

form of the species, but any variation is uncommon. 
This is the situation in the U.K. but what of overseas? Certainly in four seasons hunting in 
the French Alps the only variety I found was Asplenium scolopendrium Marginatum 
hardly a treasure! It seems reasonable to assume therefore that in France varieties are 
rare; however the fern species most prone to variation in Britain are rare in that part of 
France, so this is perhaps not a fair comparison. 

In North America several excellent varieties have been found despite less interest in 
variation, e.g. Polypodium glycyrrhiza Malahatense', 'Plumosum and 
Longicaudatum', P. virginianum Plumosum' (rediscovered recently), Thelyptens 
palustris Pufferae'. Polysttchum acrostichoides Bipinnatum' and Crispum' (a plumose 
form). Elsewhere in the world documentation of variety finds is scarce but the existance 
of such gems as Woodwardia radicans 'Plumosum', Polypodium subaunculatum 

Pteridologist\ (1984) 

Knightiae', P. aureum 'Mandianum' and Mexican Tasseled' and varieties of relatively 
common houseplants like species of Pteris, is ample evidence for the potential of ferns to 
vary throughout the ferny regions of the Earth, although curiously, as pointed out by 
Richard Rush {Bulletin Vol.2, No. 5), a disproportionately high number of first class 

jions or habitats outside the U.K., I hope the above 
sncourage more overseas members to step up the 

One of the problems of the variety hunter is the thorny dilemma of whether or not a plant 
should be collected. I believe the responsible attitude to this must be, yes, within certain 
guidelines. I would suggest that varieties should not be collected in a region where the 
normal form of the species is rare, nor, obviously, should varieties of national rarities ever 
be collected. If a variety deemed worthy of collection isfound, it is advisable toconsultthe 
landowner and/or local naturalists before taking any action. If justification for collection 
from the wild is needed one only has to remember unique finds of about 1 00 years ago 
which are still with us in cultivation, e.g. Polystichum set/ferum 'Plumosum Bevis' and 
'Plumosum Moly' and Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Nobile' etc. etc. which would 
no doubt have died out long ago in the wild. A modern example of this is a colony of 
ramose Hart's Tongue in a quarry at Brigham in Cumbria which has recently been buried 
by rubble — there are many other examples of similar losses. 

Finally it is sometimes argued that wild variety hunting is a waste of time, it being easier 
to raise new varieties from spores. Certainly new plants to a collection will be more 
rapidly accumulated by means of propagation, but it is sometimes overlooked that ferns 
from the wild are more likely to provide a new source of variation, with the possibility of 
an entirely new break. I personally pursue both activities with equal pleasure and often 
combine them by sowing spores from my own wild finds. Richard Rush's success in 
raising Blechnum spicant Bipinnatum' (see separate article in this issue) would not have 
been possible without the parent, B.s. Serratum' which I found wild in Wales on a 

From time to time Jimmy Dyce has compiled surveys of new variety finds for publication 
in past Bulletins. These form a valuable record of varieties being brought into cultivation 


The most prolific producer of varieties is the Lady Fern. 

One single spore has been known to produce SEVEN plants, all of a most interesting 

new fern variety. 

There are 50 fern species in Britain (excluding hybrids and allies). 

E.J. Lowe recorded and described 1 861 fern varieties in Britain. (A very large number 

of them were not worth recording and today would be thrown on the compost heap!) 


Pteridologist 1 (1984) 47 



Why grow ferns in bottles? 

There are a number of ferns which would not normally thrive in the dry and draughty 
rooms of modern centrally-heated houses. By growing these ferns in a closed, or partially 
closed, container they are able to enjoy a humid, still environment and yet be grown 
indoors. There are some ferns that need almost one hundred per cent humidity, a 
condition that is almost impossible to achieve without some form of closed container 
Ferns in bottles are also kept free of dust and may be left for long periods without 

:hat is large enough to hold one or more 
t jar, an old acid carboy or an aquarium 
types of container that are suitable. It is 
e greenhouses. The container may be 
lay have a small opening If the opening 

remember that few ferns like stagnant conditions The secret ot 
successful bottle-gardening is to set up the container so that it has ample soil and 
moisture but not so much that the contents become stagnant As there is nodrainage in a 
bottle garden the bottom layer must always be grit, gravel or perlag. It is useful to add 
some crushed charcoal to the grit. Charcoal carries out the useful function of removing 
the impurities that occur. It thus helps keep the inside of the container fresh 
On top of the grit must be placed some sterilised compost It is best if it is loose and well 
drained. It would be fatal for most ferns if it became soggy A peat-based compost with 
some loam and grit added will supply adequate nutrient for a considerable length of time 
If the compost is just damp to the touch it is wet enough. 

and add small rocks to create a natural looking environment 


finitely not direct suniignt. titner 
back from a south-facing window, 
-ie bottle using fluourescent tubes. 

Once the container is planted very little maintenance is needed. If the bottle is completely 
closed it may never require any watering If it is partially closed, watering will be 
necessary as the compost dries out. It is better to mist thoroughly than tip water in Once 
m it is almost impossible to get it out. Any weeds or unwanted plants should be removed 
as should any fronds which begin to die. If any plants begin to grow too large, or start to 
smother other ferns, then they should be removed If everything has been done properly 
then you should have created a virtually self-contained environment requiring only 

Pteridologist 1 (1984) 

The simple answer is — small ones. Too often commercial bottle gardens are planted with 
ferns which will, in a couple of months, outgrow the container. The other type of fern to 
avoid is the one that spreads quickly and smothers more delicate ferns. 
There are many small or slow growing ferns, as well as dwarf varieties of some of the 
larger species. The notes below concentrate on hardy ferns as these make no special 
temperature demands. 

An ideal fern for the bottle garden \s Asplenium marinum (Sea Spleenwort). This normally 
is very difficult to grow indoors as, in its natural habitat, it is used to high humidity. In a 
bottle garden its glossy fronds grow luxuriantly. The smaller aspleniums, the Maidenhair 
Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes). the Black Spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum- 
nigrum) and the Lanceolate Spleenwort (Asplenium billotii) will all make exceptional 
growth in a bottle garden. One fern that will tolerate some stagnation is the Hard Fern 
(Blechnum spicant). This has spreading, dark green glossy fronds with upright narrow 
fert.le fronds. A number of dwarf forms exists (see page 42), which are perfect for the 
smaller bottle garden. A dwarf American maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum Sub- 
pum.lum) has bright green imbricate fronds while the small New Zealand fern Blechnum 
penna-marma shows its bronze-red fronds to perfection in the increased humidity of a 
tamer. There are many dwarf varieties of the Hart's Tongue Fern (Asplenium 
' - 1 — v strap-like fronds can be crisped, curled or tasselled; a whole 


3 of variations for added i 

of course, many more suitable ferns to be found. Part of the fun lies in discovery 

and experimentation. 
u^? ERR y' A ' Bottle 9ardens and fern cas> 
HOKE, J, Terranums, Franklin Watts, 1974. 


On Light Gardening 

^^JZtZ^ILl^™*!"™ "ST" •? — spore 

writing it is still undergoing tests. Basically a f ran 

wardrobe door made of chipboard), and having a 1 200mn 

Mftldo.ihlpfh.oroc^r^ u 7 cnipooara), and having a 120Umr 

hpJtfnn r f,UOr * S f n < tube umt < warm w "ite and daylight), controlled by an old centr; 
Z "i T?™^*?™ ° ne ° n/one off PT 24 hours, and providing 14 hours c 

) tungsten bulbs are linked t 

i16°C, the whole 

... ■ ■« wmy MUUS) « a m tne |on hence thp need 

effectiveness, but do Dlants pppH * " roc t" , n . * . 

rest in terms of warmth as they do with light, or 
'More results next year perhaps, and if any 
iring, I shall be pleased to advise. 

R. P. H. LAMB 


A very comprehensive collection is stocked by 


Harvey Road. Evesham, Worcestershire 

Hardy and tender ferns 
Begonias, Gloxinias, Hederas, Hydrangeas, Primroses, Arun 
and Plants for the cool greenhouse 
Catalogue on request 


Specialist Fern Grower 
A wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially Adie 
Culag, Green Lane, Nafferton, Nr. Driffield, East York 
Send 40p for catalogue 


Theobalds Park Road, Crews Hill. Enfield, Middlesex EN2 9BG 

Tel: 01-363 4278 

Hardy ferns, unusual hardy herbaceous plants, shade and moisture loving perennials 
Send two ten -pence stamps for list 


Stone Harmony, Maperton, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 8EJ 


Container grown. Includes Rodgersias, Hostas and Euphorbias 


Send 1 7p stamp for catalogue 


Specialising in North American and English hardy ferns 

Send two International Reply Coupons for Catalogue 

Judith J. Jones, 

1911 4th Avenue West, Washington, 98119, USA 


Offer African indigenous ferns by mail order. 

Pricelists available. 

Overseas orders welcome. 

D Turner, Box 815, George 6530, South Africa 

The British Pteridological Society 



Dryopteris dilatata Crispa' Whiteside — Reg Kaye 

Raising Pteridophytes from Spores: The Special cases — Richard Rush 

William Latham and his Hybrid Tree Fern — A. R. Busby 

The Scaly Male Fern — Problem Fern Number One — A. C. Jermy 

Dryopteris crispifolia - a beautiful fern for the garden — Mary Gibby 

A Maiden for all seasons — Judith Jones 

Collecting Victorian Fern Books — Nigel Hall 

Which Book? — Martin Rickard 

Thoughts on Growing Ferns from Spores — A. R. Busby 

A Fern' at Breakfast Time — A. R. Busby 

The History of Dickie's Fern in Kincardineshire — Peter Marren 

Fern Nomenclature — Old and New — J. W. Dyce 

Mr Henwoods Polypody Collection — Martin Rickard 

Some Observations on a colony of Equisetum x font-queri — A. C. Pigott 

Another 1 2 of the Best Fern Varieties — J. W. Dyce 

Choice Ferns: Coniogramrne — Richard Rush 

Variation in Blechnum spicant — Richard Rush 

Fern Variety Hunting - Martin Rickard 

Growing Ferns in Bottle Gardens — Nigel Hall 


The Ecology of British Rail in North Humberside - James Merryweather 

Solway Coastline Reserve — A. C. Jermy 

Did You Know? — J. W. Dyce 

Would a plant distribution service work? - R. P. H. Lamb 

On finding the Maidenhair Fern in Northants — R. P. H. Lamb 

On light gardening — R. p. H. Lamb 


A Monograph of the Fern Genus Platycerium 

Published by the British Pteridological Society 

Volume 1 Part 2 





Edited by 
MR. Richard 

Officers and Committee for 1985 

Honorary General Secretary and 

Editor of the Bulletin 

Treasurer Dr B. A. Thomas, Biological Sciences Department, Goldsmiths' College, 

Rachael McMillan Building, Creek Road, London, SE8 3BU 

Meetings Secretary Kathryn Kavanagh, 2 Bury Cottage, Offchurch Bury, 

Offchurch, Leamington Spa, Warwicks. 

Editors of the Fern Gazette Dr M. Gibby, Dr B. S. Parris 

Material for publication should be sent to Dr M. Gibby, 

British Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD 

Editor of the Pteridologist 

Membership Secretary All communications re Membership & Subscriptic 

BPS, cA 

Fern Distribution Recorder 

Spores Exchange Organiser 

Archivist N. A. Hall, 15 Mostyn Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport, Cheshire 

i today continues a 

the Membership Secretary (address above 

made in currencies other than Sterling are £0.50 extr 

£7; Personal Merr Fern Gazette £5; 

Jilable for purchase from the Treasurer (addre 

This issue is dedicated 


on the occasion of his Eightieth Birthday 
27th May 1985 

Chard BPS Meeting. Somerset, August 1981 (Photo C N Page) 

Ordinary Member of the British Pteridological Society 


Honorary Member 

1975 ► 





Membership Secretary 




Editor of the Newsletter 


Editor of the Bulletin 


Booksales Organiser 

1969 ► 





President Emeritus 

1985 ► 

1 # m^- 




i^^ ^ * 

^p^ - ^. 

^^k ' 

>r tavelii hybrid) in one hand 

Pteridologist 1, 2(1985) 49 


This issue of the Pteridologist is dedicated to Jimmy Dyce on the occasion of his eightieth 
birthday and the fiftieth anniversary of his joining the British Pteridological Society. 
Jimmy gave details of his involvement within the Society in the Bulletin in 1 982 (Vol. 2, 
No. 5, p. 1 85). It is an incredible record — 1 1 5 man years given to the Society in various 
posts. He has held virtually every office and has already been honoured by the Society — 
he is one of the few recipients of the Stansfield Medal, and at this year's AGM he was 
created the first President Emeritus in the Society's history. 

Clearly we have much to thank Jimmy for, as shown by tributes from several members in 
this issue. For many his main contribution to the well-being of the Society has been his 
ability to share his enthusiasm for ferns with others. This has been well shown by the 
lasting friendships built up across the world with other fern enthusiasts — often solely by 
means of letters. But, more important, to those of us in the UK, has been his ability to 
share his knowledge of British ferns and their varieties on Society field meetings. 
I first met Jimmy (shorts and all I) on the Isle of Arran in 1969. The ferning and the 
company was good — I was hooked. Since then I have been on dozens of excursions, back 
in the seventies you always knew Jimmy would be there — the meeting would be a 
success. He still comes on meetings of course, only last August in his eightieth year he 
tramped over the Lakeland fells and the nearby limestone pavements more nimbly than 
some of the rest of us. However, he did not partake of the official lunchtime swim, unlike 
when we were not far away in 1 974. Then Jimmy was climbing on the cliffs by the Black 
Force waterfall, north of Sedbergh, something gave and Jimmy was gone. I did not 
actually see it happen but I did hear the splash and see him come up "like a cork"! 
Fortunately he was not injured but it took about an hour to cover the two miles of rough 
country back to the cars. On arrival there Jimmy protested that he was all right and had 
dried out anyway, and was raring to get on to the next site, lam glad to say we had a doctor 
in the party who disagreed and took Jimmy straight back to the hotel for a hot bath! That 
} was a youngster at sixty-nine!! 

i the Wye Valley he climbed up 
promising Asplenium. As he 
all the gear laboriously 
on and, as above, often 
leading a convoy of cars at Bovey 
drove that I did not notice the others 
it up again until the evening! That day Jimmy found 
Polypodium australe 'Semilacerum' and other rather interesting polypodies at Buckfast. 

lane on Bewley Down when everything stopped abruptly and the odd sandwich went 
flying when it was realised that just over a low hedge behind us a male nudist was 
trimming the edges of his lawn ... or was he pruning the roses! Earlier that morning lhad 
found a crested Lady-fern, I was not very impressed. Jimmy was only a few yards away in 
a swamp of tussock grass. He was impressed and I felt honoured that he even wanted a 
crown! Subsequently my crown died but Jimmy's grew well and he named WAthyrium 
fi/ix-femina 'Longipinnulum Rickard' (although I think 'Dyce' would have been more 
appropriate in the circumstances). Until this last summer Jimmy had the only plant, but 
now even I have taken notice of it and I have successfully widged off a side crown (to 
'widge' is a verb I recently learnt from Fred Jackson, I think it is beautifully descriptive and 
I would like to know if it is a modern word or one that has been handed down). 
Mainly on Society excursions, but occasionally privately, I know Jimmy has seen just 
about all our native ferns and fern allies in the wild. Top of his list must be Trichomanes 
speciosum. He has seen this in at least three wild localities but I think he is disappointed 

He found t 
about it at 

Pteridologist 1, 2 (1985) 

never seen it in his native Scotland — despite many hours spent looking for it 
)f Arran and elsewhere. Hopefully one day he will get the chance to visit the 
liscovered colony on Arran. All the time while botanising Jimmy also kept 
jrn distribution. These records played a very important part in adding interest 
meetings and helped to make the At/as of Ferns (published by the BPSandBSBI 
are complete than would otherwise have been possible, 
ny's non-fern highlights must be his find of a double form of Calluna vulgaris. 
is on the area behind the dunes at Winterton in Norfolk. I was very scathing 
le time — being obsessed with the hunt for Dryopteris cristata (unsuccessful 
that day) or Osmunda regalis, which we had found. However, Jimmy once again had the 
last laugh as the find turned out to be one of the best wild finds in Calluna this century. I 
believe it is now called Jimmy Dyce'. 

Many of Jimmy's wild fern finds of course spread back to well before my time. I knowpne 
of his favourites is his Athyrium filix-femina 'Deficiens'. This is a curious incised form of 
Lady-fern with the basal pinnule segment missing on every pinnule. Jimmy has raised 
two more distinct forms from this parent — A.f. 'Deficiens cristatum' and A.f. 'Deficiens 
percristatum' (illustrated on the front cover of this journal). Back in the 1950's while 
ferning with Percy Greenfield in East Devon near Colyton he found Polystichum setiferum 
'Acutilobum Colyton' — a fine form although not a bulbiferous one (see Fig. 1 ). Of Jimmy's 

i my favourite is Polystichum setiferum '-Falcatum Dyce' (a pinna 
of this is shown in Fig. 2). As a detached pinna it does not look all that exceptional, but 
when seen as a mature plant with deeply incised falcate pinnules it is very handsome. As 
a bonus, through spring and early summer, while the fronds are relatively young, they are 
a rich golden colour. By autumn however the normal green of P. setiferum is restored. The 
name P.s.' 'Falcatum aureum Dyce' has therefore been suggested. In 1976 during the 
llfracombe meeting I was present when Jimmy made one of his more recent finds. This 
was a P. setiferum Acutilobum' on a roadside bank at Martinhoe. It was growing right by 
where we parked the cars, but it took Jimmy's trained eye to spot it I 
From the foregoing it is obvious that without Jimmy I would not have been bitten by the 
fern bug quite so deeply, nor I suspect, would many other members. The whole Society 
owes him a great deal, not only for its strength now, but also for its actual existence after 
the trauma of the 1940s when at one time Jimmy alone worked for its survival. 

Pteridologist 1, 2(1985) S1 

Finally, to more mundane matters — please continue to send in contributions for future 
issues of the Pteridologist — it is your journal. The range of acceptable subject matter is 
very wide as evidenced by Pteridologist 1 and 2 and earlier Bulletins. (Of course technical 
material should continue to be submitted for publication in the Gazette). Ideally copy 
should be: 

— received by the 31st December for the following spring issue. 

— not more than 4 printed sides in length, unless agreed in advance. 

— preferably type written. 

— supplemented with black and white photographs and/or fern silhouettes or sketches 

Martin Rickard 



As a young man I had a keen interest in ferns, caring for a small lath-house on my parents 
property in Burwood, New South Wales, Australia. Most were acquired on excursions 
from our holiday home at Lawson in the Blue Mountains. However involvement with work 
and several organisations limited any serious study. Many years later, following the loss 
of my parents, I found what remained of this collection; some of the plants are still alive to 
this day. These include the Platyceriums. slow to grow from spores but practically 
everlasting once established. As my interest developed and the collection of species 
grew; I obtained the few books that were available locally on fern types. At the time four 
works could be obtained that only covered a few well established local plants. I, therefore, 
decided to contact our botanical authorities by writing for any additional material that was 
available; this exercise proved very futile; in one instance I waited two years for a reply, 
after a number of letters had been posted. So I decided to write to Kew Gardens in England 
explaining my difficulties. Imagine my surprise when an air mail letter came to hand 
promptly, promising both information and fern material if required, with the suggestion 
that, as they had a large programme to cope with, I should approach Mr James W Dyce of 
The British Pteridological Society" with a view to becoming a member. Another letter of 
explanation to Jimmy Dyce received an immediate reply and I became a member of the 
BPS. Thus a firm friendship began with Jim; who over the years through his book sales 
and many letters enabled me to more than satisfy my desire for information. Obviously 
Jimmy has accepted the role of looking after the remote members of the Society. No mean 
task when I consider some of the requests that myself and other members throughout the 
world have made of him. He often refers to his many "Good Friends"; may I add that I am 
glad to be incuded in this list. Many of the early English botanical works he obtained for 
me cover a world wide range of ferns including most if not all of our Australian species. 
Even where nomenclature is out of date revision becomes simple with the use of "The 
New Generic Sequence" by J A Crabbe, A C Jermy & J T Mickel, published by the Society 
some years ago. BPS "Bulletins" and "Gazettes" enable one to update most material, 
providing access to modern techniques. Here also I should like to include two other 
members who over the years have also become valued friends through continued 
correspondence — Phillip Coke and Richard Cartwright. Perhaps it is time to saythanks to 
all the key members who do so much to make BPS such a fine organisation and especially 
to Jimmy Dyce. 

Ray Best 

50 Pteridologist 1, 2 (1985) 

that he has never seen it in his native Scotland —despite many hours spent looking for it 
on the Isle of Arran and elsewhere. Hopefully one day he will get the chance to visit the 
recently rediscovered colony on Arran. All the time while botanising Jimmy also kept 
records of fern distribution. These records played a very important part in adding interest 
to Society meetings and helped to make the Atlasof Ferns (published by the BPSand BSBI 
in 1978) more complete than would otherwise have been possible. 
One of Jimmy's non-fern highlights must be his find of a double form of Calluna vulgaris. 
He found this on the area behind the dunes at Winterton in Norfolk. I was very scathing 
about it at the time — being obsessed with the hunt for Dryopteris cristata (unsuccessful 
that day) or Osmunda regalis. which we had found. However, Jimmy once again had the 
last laugh as the find turned out to be one of the best wild finds in Calluna this century. I 
believe it is now called 'Jimmy Dyce'. 

Many of Jimmy's wild fern finds of course spread back to well before my time. I knowone 
of his favourites is his Athyrium filix-femina 'Deficiens'. This is a curious incised form of 
Lady-fern with the basal pinnule segment missing on every pinnule. Jimmy has raised 
two more distinct forms from this parent — A.f. 'Deficiens cristatum'and A/. 'Deficiens 
percristatum' (illustrated on the front cover of this journal). Back in the 1950's while 
ferning with Percy Greenfield in East Devon near Colyton he found Polystichumsetiferum 
'Acutilobum Colyton' —a fine form although not a bulbiferous one (see Fig. 1 ). Of Jimmy's 

wild finds that I have seen myfavourite is Polystichumsetiferum '-Falcatum Dyce' (a pinna 
of this is shown in Fig. 2). As a detached pinna it does not look all that exceptional, but 
when seen as a mature plant with deeply incised falcate pinnules it is very handsome. As 
a bonus, through spring and earlysummer, while the fronds are relatively young, they are 
a rich golden colour. By autumn however the normal green of P. setiferum is restored. The 
name P.s.' Falcatum aureum Dyce' has therefore been suggested. In 1976 during the 
llfracombe meeting I was present when Jimmy made one of his more recent finds. This 
was a P. setiferum Acutilobum' on a roadside bank at Martinhoe. It was growing right by 
where we parked the cars, but it took Jimmy's trained eye to spot itl 
From the foregoing it is obvious that without Jimmy I would not have been bitten by the 
fern bug quite so deeply, nor I suspect, would many other members. The whole Society 
owes him a great deal, not only for its strength now, but also for its actual existence after 
the trauma of the 1940s when at one time Jimmy alone worked for its survival. 

Pteridologist 1, 2(1985) bl 

Finally, to more mundane matters — please continue to send in contributions for future 
issues of the Pteridologist — it is your journal. The range of acceptable subject matter is 
very wide as evidenced by Pteridologist 1 and 2 and earlier Bulletins. (Of course technical 
material should continue to be submitted for publication in the Gazette). Ideally copy 

— received by the 31st December for the following spring issue. 

— not more than 4 printed sides in length, unless agreed in advance. 

— preferably type written. 

— supplemented with black and white photographs and/or fern silhouettes or sketches 



As a young man I had a keen interest in ferns, caring for a small lath-house on my parents 
property in Burwood, New South Wales, Australia. Most were acquired on excursions 
from our holiday home at Lawson in the Blue Mountains. However involvement with work 
and several organisations limited any serious study. Many years later, following the loss 
of my parents, I found what remained of this collection; some of the plants are still alive to 
this day. These include the P/atyceriums, slow to grow from spores but practically 
everlasting once established. As my interest developed and the collection of species 
grew; I obtained the few books that were available locally on fern types. At the time four 
works could be obtained that only covered a few well established local plants. I, therefore, 
decided to contact our botanical authorities by writing for any additional material that was 
available; this exercise proved very futile; in one instance I waited two years for a reply, 
after a number of letters had been posted. So I decided to write to Kew Gardens in England 
explaining my difficulties. Imagine my surprise when an air mail letter came to hand 
promptly, promising both information and fern material if required, with the suggestion 
that, as they had a large programme to cope with, I should approach Mr James W Dyce of 
"The British Pteridological Society" with a view to becoming a member. Another letter of 
explanation to Jimmy Dyce received an immediate reply and I became a member of the 
BPS. Thus a firm friendship began with Jim; who over the years through his book sales 
and many letters enabled me to more than satisfy my desire for information. Obviously 
Jimmy has accepted the role of looking after the remote members of the Society. No mean 
task when I consider some of the requests that myself and other members throughout the 
world have made of him. He often refers to his many "Good Friends"; may I add that I am 
glad to be incuded in this list. Many of the early English botanical works he obtained for 

Even where nomenclature is out of date revision becomes simple with the use of "The 
New Generic Sequence" by J A Crabbe, A C Jermy & J T Mickel, published by the Society 
some years ago. BPS "Bulletins" and "Gazettes" enable one to update most material, 
providing access to modern techniques. Here also I should like to include two other 
i over the years have also become valued friends through continued 

correspondence — Phillip Coke and Richard Cartwright. Perhaps it is time to say thanks to 
all the key members who do so much to make BPS such a fine organisation and especially 
to Jimmy Dyce. 

Ray Best 


A mere modicum of the happiness 

Conferred on me by you 

A minutissima of the joyfulness 

And friendship warm and true 

By this "tribute" is expressed. 
Perhaps the most appropriate way to express my thanks for the time and energy Jimmy 
Dyce has invested in introducing me to the history and identification of British ferns and 
their many variations is to paraphrase the above poem he composed for me. How could I 
resist becoming an avowed pteridophile under the tutelage of such enthiastic expertise? It 
has become inevitable that I shall spend a lifetime immersed in old fern books and sowing 
and re-sowing millions of spores in that elusive search for the treasures of the past and 
the wonders of the future. Just writing about it causes the adrenalin to flow, the heart 
beat to quicken, and the fingers to become anxious to sort through a new crop of sporlings. 
Our correspondence began in 1977 with some questions about fern varieties being 
grown here in the Pacific Northwest. After reading Charles Druery's British Ferns and 
Their Varieties and Reginald Kaye's Hardy Ferns, I ventured to question the validity of the 
archaic and Americanized names used here for ferns with obvious and very well 
documented English origins. "Mrs Jones" was soon rewarded with a three page letter 
enumerating the merits and demerits of the fronds sent for inspection. A spark was lit by 
this detailed epistle that took me beyond the fern "hunting" I had only been able to 
achieve through books. 

By the fall of 1 979, after two years of correspondence and many packets of spore, I was 
eager to meet the ferns I had read about and the man who had brought them to life for me. 
Then in October of '79 I was able" to have my first encounter with Jimmy and parts of 
England on my way to trek in Sikkim. I was totally overwhelmed with a schedule that 
included meeting many marvellous people, especially such BPS members as Anne Sleep, 
Martin and Hazel Rickard, Ray and Rita Coughlin, and Phillip and Mary Coke. With only 
five days in which to zip about meeting people and ferns I still have a rather kaleidoscopic 
memory of my first trip. 

pared by Jimmy's good friends Betty and Vic, where 
alcoholic beverages before, during, and after dinner, 
may have put me in a haze? Being a relatively "dry" person I found myself trying to finish 
off all four glasses simultaneously by the meal's end. And, of course, not wanting to be 
rude I just nodded yes to everything including Jimmy's queries in his unfamiliar Scottish 
brogue. After two days of noting that I just smiled and nodded affirmatively to everything 
he said, he put the question to me point blank. 

"You don't understand me half the time, do you?" Funny though, I always could make out 
the information about various ferns. 

Well, after my sojourn there, there was nothing for it but that a reciprocal visit was in 
order. It only took a minor amount of arm twisting to convince Jimmy that he only need 
wend his way to Seattle and we would put a roof over his head and ferns in his path. 
Although we may not have packed the same level of intense action into his two month 
visit as I had on my short week in England, we didn't do too badly. We traversed the North 
American west coast from the primitive wilds of Lone Butte, British Columbia, Canada, to 
motorboating on the muddy Colorado River winding through the arid southwestern desert 
near Yuma, Arizona. 

Lone Butte is about one third of the way into the interior of British Columbia on the 
Alaska-Canadian highway. My husband's father is a retired cattle rancher who now lives 
in an historic 1 927 log hotel in this small lumber communitv. The denizens of the Butte 

Pteridologist\, 2(1985) 53 

still ask after the "Englishman" I brought up to stomp through the surrounding woods. All 
the locals were quite interested in our forays and questioned us about the plant 
specimens with which we returned. 

Visiting there in early July we were rewarded with the sight of many patches of that 
minute orchid jewel, Calypso bulbosa. Jimmy's eyes are keen and I must admit to feeling 
like a bumbling fool as I tromped over and past treasures galore which were duly pointed 
out to me by my gleeful guest. We were most fortunate to also be there when the 
saprophytic orchids, Corallorhizamaculata and Monotropa uniflora, were displaying their 
eerie magic. Fern-wise the area is not rich but it does have some interesting fern allies. 
The Butte itself, a smallish flat-topped rock outcrop, has colonies of Cystopteris fragilis 
and Woods/a scopulina nestled in the lichen encrusted boulders on the northern and 
eastern sides. A tramp through the Jack Pines uncovers such noteworthy items as 
Lycopodium annotinum, L complanatum, L selago, and assorted selaginellas. 
For the hardy soul there's the challenge of fighting off armies of giant mosquitoes while 
crawling about in a sphagnum bog to get eye to eye with Equisetum scirpoides. Wet knees 
are essential to viewing this curious little species since it grows among mosses and is 
d conifers. It is an odd plant with its thin 
act or ground cover. Keeping it 
I Western Tea -Berry Gaultheria 

j waxy whorled obovate-leaved Pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata var. 

occidentalis. with loose semi-umbels of odd pinkish flowers, and that common but much 
beloved northwestern dwarf dogwood, Cornus canadensis, with its circle of pointed 
cream colored bracts poised against the dull green of its ribbed leaves. 
Although Western Washington is not rich in its number of different fern species we do 
have great numbers of some individual ferns such as Polystichum munitum, Athyrium 
filix-femina, and Pteridium aquilinum. Less widely spread in geographic terms but still 
occurring in substantial numbers are Adiantum pedatum. Blechnum spicant, Dryopteris 
expansa, and Polypodium glycyrrhiza. A little hiking in the higher elevations will turn up 
Asplenium trichomanes, Athyrium distentifolium, Cryptogramma acrostichoides, 
Cystopteris fragilis. Polypodium hesperium, P. montense, Polystichum andersoni, and/ 3 . 
P. lonchitis. Close scrutiny of specific locales along the coast will bring to light two of my 
favourites, Polypodium scouleri and Woodwardia fimbriata. Crossing over the Cascade 
Mountains into Eastern Washington takes one into a wholly different environment and 
many different species. But that is a tale for another story that should be told. 
The most valuable lesson I learned stemmed from Jimmy's absolute amazement over the 
incredible number of Polystichum munitum that proliferate everywhere here. Familiarity 
with a fern should not be allowed to deteriorate into complacent acceptance. Those very 
numbers which relegate P. munitum to a contemptuous niche as "just those common old 
Sword Ferns" are the very key to fine varietal sleuthing. Jimmy and I spent one 
exhilarating afternoon on a winding hilly boulevard coursing through prime Seattle real 
estate collecting particularly nice m 

r-bys thought us indubitably bonkers and n 

rity to collect 

1 plants. To many people all ferns look alike and they want to know how to 
eradicate them from their rockeries and gardens, not collect and nuture them. After that 
afternoon I have never been able to pass by a single P. munitum without at least a cursory 
scrutiny and oft-times a much closer inspection. I have acquired a reputation as a Sword 
Fern fondler and am considered quite eccentric by casual acquaintances. Close friends 
overlook this "kinky" flaw i 
All this just because I aske 

Pteridologist 1, 2 (1985) 

Having two sets of parents who live almost two thousand miles apart makes it possible to 
see a lot of the Western United States economically. Knowing that my mother and father 
had first class accommodation for us in Arizona we headed down that way. We took a 
slight detour through Idaho with a load of antiques bound for my brother's new residence 
there. Once we were unloaded there was plenty of space for the three of us, Jimmy, 18 
month old Daphne, and myself. My darling husband, Clifford, ended up tending to the 
plants and animals at home and keeping the whole homefront solvent by working. To our 
return trip would be added the irrepressible energies of our six year old son, Ben. Jimmy 
not only got to see a great deal of country but he also got to experience family life at its 
most energetic point. 

Ours was undoubtedly one of the speediest western tours on record as we headed almost 
non-stop except for a night in Las Vegas. What looked so flashy as we drove in after 
midnight was certainly tawdry by daylight and we lost no time getting back out onto the 
road among the wonders wrought by nature. We curved past the marvellous engineering 
done on Boulder (formerly Hoover) Dam and onto the even more incredible engineering 
done by nature to carve out the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately our progress through these 
areas was so rapid that we had little time for pteridophyte pilfering. Not that we didn't try 
or that Jimmy didn't tantalize me by pointing out distant hills that obviously harboured 
Cheilanthes by the score. Someday I'll get back there just to see. 
We began nearing our destination to the southwestern corner of Arizona which is nestled 
next to Mexico's northern boundary and within spitting distance of California's eastern 
border. Keep in mind that we're tooling along in air-conditioned comfort at mid-day in 
mid-July in low desert country. As I pointed out different trees and shrubs Jimmy decided 
on a closer inspection of the desert mistletoe swinging from the green limbed Palo Verde 
trees. He was astounded that our desert was so filled with plants and not another sandy 
Sahara. The scorching blast of the mid-day heat almost withered him in his brief jaunt 
from van to tree and back again. But it takes more than a little Arizona sunshine to sap the 
strength of a man who professes to have chased butterflies in the fiery noon heat of India I 
There aren't too many native ferns to be seen at summer's height but I don't remember 
any complaints as my folks treated us to lots of boating, swimming, water skiing (I skied 
and Jimmy watched), and delicious barbequed beef, venison, and wild duck. 
Our return north took us through many impressive tropical fern collections and although 
we were fascinated by such exotic splendour our affection for the wondrous diversity of 
temperate ferns only increased by comparison. There are so many memories that we 
share beginning with that first meeting in England. We've traversed the Everglades and 
braved caterpillars dropping on us like raindrops in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary 
while viewing the Florida ferns to careering about the English countryside with me at the 
wheel of Jimmy's trusty Renault for my second encounter with old and newferns and fern 
friends. All the memories are not just linked with fern exploits for one of my fondest 
remembrances is of the many times Jimmy became toddler Daphne's captive in her 
negotiation of our household stairs on an upright level. She soon determined that he was 
the one with a spare hand when we were all occupied with other necessary household 

I could go on and on recalling the funny moments, the serious discussions, and the quiet 
comradeship we've shared because it has been all that and more that has made Jimmy 
and ferns two of the greatest joys and loves of my life. I am fortunate to have a husband 
and children who understand this need to develop my occupational passion and a dear 
friend who brought it all to pulsing vibrant life. 

Thank you Jimmy I As I contemplate your 80th birthday I feel a great responsibility to keep 
on learning as much as possible so that I may pass it on to another kindred spirit as you 
havedone - Judith Jones 


Some 15 years ago, a friend who was a keen — and orderly — gardener, commented 
while going round my garden, Greencombe, You do have a fern problem here, don't you?' 
He was looking at the dry stone walls supporting the terraces above the lawn, but, of 
course, both stones and walls were invisible, hidden by an over-bountiful scrum of ferns. 
They had come uninvited and conditions were to their liking. 
'What you need,' my advisor went on, 'is a systemic poison. Just spray it on tl 

I knew the wall looked much better once the long fronds had been cut, and the Maidenhair 
Spleenwort growing behind them could be seen against the stone once more. Buttheact 
of cutting worried me; it could well be that in my ignorance I was damaging something 
rare and special, for, although I could recognise Asplenium trichomanes, I did not know 
what any of the other ferns were. 

Every evening I took in a fewf ronds and endeavoured to identify them, but question marks 
invariably remained. I was uncertain, and Reggie Kaye's book 'Hardy Ferns' did not enable 
me to distinguish between Dryopteris dilatata, D. aemula and D. carthusiana. 
Frequently I had to refer to the glossary in Appendix II and one night I read Appendix I, a 
note about the British Pteridological Society giving the name and address of the secretary. 
The next day, greatly daring, I wrote a request for help and sent it to J W Dyce. Before the 
week was out his answer came: 

I have every sympathy with your difficulty in naming ferns for it can be a problem if you 
are trying to work on your own ... the only way is to see the ferns in the company of 
someone who knows them ... I have one suggestion which, if you can adopt it, will be of 
great help to you. On the first weekend of October my Society is holding a weekend 
meeting in the Wye Valley, with our centre at the Royal George Hotel in Monmouth. There 
- 10 members there, some of them, like you, very much in the beginner 
js, not necessarily as a member, for we welcome 
ry pleased to give you a good introduction to ferns 

3 who has been educated by Jimmy knows, he does not just tell you the name 
of a fern and assume you will remember; the next time round, you have to identify —and 
give sound reasons. If you have difficulty, he provides you with a neatand witty guide-line 
to prevent you from ever again going astray: 

'You can't mistake a golden scale male fern; the pinnae have been cut out with scissors, 
straight across.' 
'All polystichums have thumbs. Just look at the first pinnule — mo\ 

i Dryopteris aemula if I found one?' I asked him. 

;risp and it feels crisp. Run your hand over the fronds and you'll knowby 

> his reply. 

And how would I tell a Dryopteris carthusianaT I persisted. 

'It doesn't form a shuttlecock.' All Jimmy's guidelines were simple and to the point. 

Jimmy taught me how to look and how to see. He educated my eyes and, with him, it was 

. Originally, I had only wanted to learn about native fern species, but 
the books he brought along to meetings, fired me 
I began to dream of ferns in the garden, not as an indifferent 
forming patterns, adding a further dimension, and providing the most 
pleasing, natural and exciting ground cover between shrubs and trees. 
In this, too, Jimmy helped me, giving me ferns with fantastic generosity. Parcels arrived 
containing treasured specimens, and my notes became longer and more complicated as I 
struggled to keep pace. Gradually I learnt two things. First, that while some ferns were in 
their natural element at Greencombe, othersfound it a difficult habitat and required great 

i the 'jiz' of ferns, a recognition and enjoyment of the pattern 
through which each species proclaims its identity, not by small signs but in every line and 
pinnae. This experience comes when the problem of finding the right name has receded 
into the background; when you are not delving through a mixed selection, seeking some 
individual variation worthy of note; when, on some field day, Jimmy takes you to a special 
site and you see one species dominant and thriving, completely at home, revealing itself. 
That was how we found Dryopteris aemula on the north coast of Arran, when, after 
trekking along a boulder strewn shore, we saw them, under birch trees, several hundred 
yards away. Even from a distance their crispness and greenness stood out. Seeing one or 
two D. aemula should enable you to recognise them; with the sight of several acres they 
impress their personality upon the mind. 

So, with Jimmy, I learnt the value and beauty of the repeat pattern in a colony of ferns, and 
acquired an idea for the garden that will take many years, if ever, to realise. 
Jimmy has greatly enriched my life. He has not simplified it. My fern problem has 
multiplied. All weeding has to be done by hand. It tends to be accompanied by a sotto-voce 
monologue: Mind that little fern — look, it's a sporeling from Jimmy's famous lady, 
Athyrium filix-femina 'Deficiens percristatum Dyce'. The fronds are only four inches long 
— I'm not sure yet about the deficient middle — but the crests are swaying unmistakably. 
It can't stay under that rose. Pot it right away, label and date it.' 
Thank you, Jimmy, thank you for a treasury of ferns. 


My first acquaintance with Jimmy Dyce was about twenty six years ago when, on moving 

to Essex, I found I was about ten miles from the Secretary of a Society I had heard about 

whilst I was exhibiting in the fern classes of the Alpine Garden Society. 

I rang him up one day and he invited me to come to his house in Loughton, and there, in his 

was to learn that he was Chairman, i 

with ferns; a wine maker of repute, a 

stamps and first day covers, a good cabinet maker, a lover of recorded music with an 

extensive collection of records, and he also did well with a camera. Never a dull moment 

for himl I could never get him interested in alpines though; I took him to a group meeting 

once but he fell asleep I He did, however, judge the fern classes for the AGS on sundry 

At this time, the late 1 950's, the Society had only about one hundred members, and the 
then Secretary was a sick man, so Jimmy was carrying the Society, being both Secretary 
and Treasurer, dealing with the Gazette and all correspondence, as well as still working at 

Because of his accumulated knowledge of ferns, it has many times been suggested he 
should write a book for the Society, and I believe he has had several attempts at it, but in 
feeding the earlier Gazettes, the Newsletter that came alongside it, then the Bulletin, he 
has written enough for a book or two, and imparted a good deal of his knowledge to the 

Before the Society became too large for one man to handle, Jimmy and I would travel the 
countryfor miles, looking for venuesfortheexcursions.andfinding out the hard way how 
difficult it was then to get accommodation overnight in the off-season, before "weekend 
breaks" were thought of. He is an excellent map reader as well as being able to spot an 
interesting variety in the hedgerow from a car travelling down a Dorset lane at twenty 
miles an hour. On a trip across France we rarely used a Route Nationale, he directed me 
down all the yellow roads on the Michelin maps, and quite a few of the white ones too, but 
I don't think he saw much of the scenery, until we stopped I 

Grand Old 
Richard Cartwright 


I think that most of us know how much we, as a Society, owe Jimmy. He revived the 

Society from extinction, built it up almost to its present numbers and, for many years, ran 

it virtually single handed. 

For all that, we are grateful, but for me his great achievement was making it a friendly 

society. In my years as Membership Secretary I have been amazed at the number of 

members who, although they had never met him, regarded him as a friend. The volume of 

his correspondence must have been immense. He kept up a personal list of names and 

addresses throughout the time that he was President and Secretary, and whenever I had 

a problem from any member, I used to contact him. In an uncanny way he seemed to know 

58 Pteridologist 1, 2 (1985) 


I first met Jimmy Dyce briefly in 1954 — when the Society had the Annual Meeting in 
Borrowdale (see British Fern Gazette, Vol VIII, No 5, p 1 1 5, 1 955). I could only spend one 
day, the Sunday, with the party as I had just taken on a contract to build a dry stone wall in 
a stipulated time, so I had to get on with it. We were up on Grange Fell above the old Quay 
Foot Quarry when we both simultaneously spotted a small crested Athyrium, it had two 
crowns so we took one each. Whether or not Jimmy's thrived I do not know, but mine did 
and grew into a lovely large fern; it turned out to be Athyrium filix-femina 'Mediodeficiens 
polydactylum' — a lovely fern and so it should be with a name like that, as Reg Kaye says in 
his book, Hardy ferns I 

Jimmy and I became very good friends as he is such good company and we both liked a 
dram of the water of life, otherwise known as Malt Whisky. Jimmy and I often hadfriendly 
arguments over ferns, especially over Dryopteris abbreviata now called D. oreades 
(ghastly name I). We once spent a great weekend at The Traveller's Rest in Grasmere; I 
remember it was lovely warm weather in September, we greatly enjoyed ourselves. There 
was no Scottish Malt so we indulged in the Irish, John Jameson, good stuff ! We also had a 
good weekend at the High Force Hotel in Upper Teesdale with other members of the 
Society (see Newsletter No 10, p 1 1 , 1 972). The landlord here had one of the best stocks of 
malt I have ever seen, seven different brands. Jimmy and I and others repaired to a little 
room up the stairs in the evenings and talked ferns — and consumed a fair amount of 

I expect Jimmy remembers the meeting at the Bridge Hotel at Buttermere (see Newsletter 
No 10, p 15, 1972). We drank all the Glen Morangie, and the landlord had to go to 
Cockermouth for another six bottles a nd I thi nk they j ust about lasted the week. If they did 
it was not for want of trying II Oh, for the joys of the days that are gone I 
I remember once travelling with Jimmy and telling him how some members were 
it the Gazette getting too scientific, he agreed with me but did not say 

ig else. Not very long after, out came the Newsletter. I am sure it kept a lot of 

xs in the Society who otherwise would have resigned. The Newsletter developed 

} Bulletin. 

lappy returns, Jimmy, old friend — Slainte Mhor. 

Pteridologist 1, 2(1985) 59 


Selaginella: the persistent pteridophyte 

Pteridophytes are numerous throughout the entire history of land plants. During this time 
many highly specialised and unusual forms evolved, but most of them eventually became 
extinct. Others with a relatively unspecialised morphology persisted for very much longer. 
Some are still with us today after hundreds of millions of years. 
Most of the lycophytes that I have studied over the years have been the larger, tree-sized 
species that grew in the Carboniferous Coal Measure swamps, but there were smaller 
plants and some were virtually indistinguishable from living species. Selaginella-like 
plants lived in these swamps showing that little morphological change has occurred in 
250 million years. Selaginellites gutbieri, figured opposite p. 60 from the Zwickau coal 
field of the German Democratic Republic, was originally described as having spirals of 
two sizes of leaf, but I believe it to be truly heterophyllous with the regular two ranks of 
large leaves and small leaves found in living Selaginella. The Carboniferous plants 
however have rather different spores to the living species. It is for this reason that we use 
the different, albeit rather similar, generic name. 


Another diagnostic character in Po/ypodium? 

During a brief tour of my garden in sub-zero temperatures early this year, I noticed that the 

three British species of Po/ypodium responded to frost in different ways: 

In P. austra/e the main leaf stems were bent over backwards and twisted through 180°. 

while the pinnae were rolled inwards as if severely droughted —dramatically altering the 

appearance of the frond. 

In P. interjectum the tips of the fronds and pinnae were turned up a little, but the main 

In P. vulgare I could detect no visible effect of the frost. 

The response of the hybrid between P. australe and P. interjectum (P. X shivasiaej was 

indistinguishable from that of P. australe, while P. austra/e XP. vulgare (P. Xfont-queri) 

seemed unaffected by the weather like P. vulgare. (Both these hybrids were determined 

by R.H. Roberts). 

These observations were made on 7.1.85 during a daytime temperature of -1.5°C 

following several nights of frosts with a minimum temperature of -5.0°Cthe night before. 

All five taxa are grown adjacent to each other in a bed with equal exposure to the elements 

— although random checks on each species in more exposed parts of the garden 

confirmed the responses outlined above. 

Following rain and warmer weather in early February, all taxa recovered completely to be 

their usual adornment in the winter garden. 


60 Pteridologist), 2 (1985) 


C N PAGE, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh EH3 5LR 

Equisetum x dycei C N Page (E. fluviatile xpalustre)\n an elusive plant which is very much 
less common than its parentage might at first suggest. It was first found in Scotland in 
1 963 on the Outer Hebridean Island of Harris, with subsequent finds on Lewis and Rhum. 
Fieldwork in Ireland during 1 984 showed the plant to be present there too in many sites in 
the west, from Sligo to Kerry, although it has not been found elsewhere in Ireland nor yet 
in England or Wales. Neither has it yet been found in herbarium material from anywhere 
else across the broad, north temperate ranges of its two abundant parents. 
Its apparent restriction to Scotland and Ireland and, further, to the Atlantic fringes of both, 
suggests a certain specificity of environmental conditions is essential for its formation 
and subsequent success, and that amongst these a particular suitability of climatic 
conditions is probably paramount. All its known sites are in areas of high and frequent 
rainfall, generally high humidity, and cool and often cloudy summer conditions. Indeed, 
the overriding impression of the places where it grows are that they are ones 
characterised by a steady westerly wind and soft, light rain. 

Within these areas the plant has been found in a number of damp habitats, including 
ditches, shorelines of lakes and marshy flushes by streams. Many show some evidence of 
disturbance of the vegetation either by man or by natural erosion, and it seems likely that 
some local disturbance is probably essential in the initial formation of this plant. Once 
established, colonies persist mainly in more open habitats, reducing to scattered shoots 

f the plant adopt a decumbent habit, at least at the Dase 
of the plant, probably resulting from the relative slenderness of the main stem inherited 
from its E. pafustre parent but with a much larger central hollow influenced by its E. 
fluviatile parent. The branches are usually as slender as those of E. fluviatile, but adopt 
the ascending habit of those of E. palustre. 

One feature of this hybrid which distinguishes it from most is that it has rather few 
branches (indeed some shoots are unbranched), and that even well-branched ones have 
the upper half or more of the shoot ending in a long, simple slender, tail-like portion. 
Although this feature can help considerably with its initial diagnosis it is something of a 
mixed blessing, for it means that in the field it is usually extremely difficult to spot, f 

s occur amongst other reedy vegetation. 

r horsetails 

and horsetail hybrids are also present (as they are at most of its sites), E. x dycei is 
certainly the most likely one to be overlooked. In this connection, lam particularly grateful 
to Clive Jermy, Marian Barker and Heather McHaff ie, who, with trained eyes, first rightly 
recognised it at many of the sites at which it is now known. 

Finally, it seems appropriate to mention that this hybrid was named in honour of J W Dyce 
not only to celebrate his unrivalled period of dedication to the well-being of the British 
Pteridological Society, but specifically in recognition of his painstaking systematic 
recording over many years of the distribution of our native pteridophyte taxa. In this 
m sure he will not have failed to note that the distribution of E. x dycei is 
s fate would have it, to be not dissimilar to that of the natural range of the 

Pteridologist 1. 2(1985) 

Pteridologist 1, 2 (1985) 

i Mendip, June 1984, by Christopher 


MARY POTTS. 4 Kennel Lane, Webb/ngton, Nr Axbridge, Somerset 

I think many of us — particularly the gardeners amongsi 
finding a really first rate variety of a British fern growing w 
the Victorian fern books, the well tried varieties growing ii 
very infrequent discoveries of members, all lead t 
more undiscovered varieties growing in the countryside. But our discovery of last year 
proved to be something of an anti-climax and only Jimmy Dyce's unalloyed enthusiasm 
brought into cultivation what promises to be a really fine new variety. 
Residing in a handleless mug on our dresser for many weeks was a frayed and wizened 
scolly' frond. It was not until Jimmy came for his annual visit in July (and was gently e 
employed in drying upl) that he withdrew the frond from its temporary herbarium and 
questioned its provenance. I explained that Christopher, while on an abortive dragonfly 
photography expedition had come upon the plant accidentally, growing in a well known 
ravine close to our home. As far as I knew the fern was still there, and Christopher had had 
the presence of mind to take a photograph of it. I showed Jimmy the negative and hardly 
had time to provide further explanation — I hadn't seen it and didn't know exactly where it 
was — before he wanted to be off down the garden path. 

Despite constant reminders from Jimmy it was not until the next evening that we found 
time to visit the site and with much relief sawthe plant growing as Christopher had found 
it; neither stolen nor spoilt but much increased in stature despite the dry weather. We had 
little enough time to admire this pteridological gem before one of our number was upon 
his knees digging like a well trained terrier. In an unbelievably short time I found myself 
hugging the largest and finest Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum' that I have ever seen 
outside Henry Schollick's garden. 

The next day a good hour was spent potting up this wonder after all the available leaf 
bases had been removed for propagation. I am pleased to report that in October we 
planted this fern out into the garden. The mild damp autumnal weather suited it to 
perfection and it produced another three fronds. The frond bases have also grown well 
and in a few years we should have some more plants of this superb fern for distribution. 


Spores to ferns in one year! 

On average I find that spores sown in September one year are healthy young ferns ready 
for planting out in October of the following year, often with fronds 12 inches long. 
My technique is to keep all newly sown spores on a north facing window sill in a heated 
bedroom. Once the first tiny fronds start to show I prick them out into a seed tray, covered 
with an airtight plastic bag, each piece being about % of an inch across. I keep them in the 
heated bedroom until the frostsf inish about May, and then transplant each tiny fern into a 
3 1 / 2 inch pot and move it to a cold greenhouse under the staging on a bed of sharp sand. 
When the roots start to show around the edge of the pot I transfer the fern to a five inch pot 
containing Arthur Bower's potting compost plus bonemeal. Fern roots being very fine 
seem to love running through the loose compost and I never use crocks for the bottom of 
the pot. I reckon they are ready for the open garden when the roots have found their way 
into the sand — usually during October. 


62 Pteridologist 1, 2(1985) 



For some years I have been growing ferns from spores and, in some cases, mixing spores 
in the hope of producing new varieties. To some extent, I have been successful and have 
produced varieties which are, at least, different from any others in my collection. One of 
my difficulties has been that I am neither a botanist nor a classical scholar and the naming 
of these varieties has been a problem. 

I was therefore delighted, as well as flattered, when Martin Rickard offered to enlist the 
help of Jimmy Dyce and between them to name some apparently new varieties, and even 
adding the name 'Coke' in some cases. To have a plant named after one is a much better 
memorial than a name on a tombstone. Like many other fern enthusiasts I like to talk to my 
ferns and it is nice to be able to address them by name I 

But, seriously, my hope is that this account of my experience will encourage others to 
experiment and try to reproduce some of the 60% varieties which are said to have been 
lost since Victorian days. A glance at Stansfield's catalogue, which has been reproduced 
by the Society and which offered 489 varieties of hardy ferns, will show how far we have 
to go and the scope that there is for experiment. 

ancestory of any of the ferns because my 
s spores and hope, but it has been fun. 
I was fortunate in that I started with Athyrium filix-femina which has an astonishing 
range of varieties and is a quick grower. It is usually possible to tell within twelve months 
if there is anything exceptional in a batch. This, in my experience, is in contrast with the 
Polystichums, which do not seem to develop their final conformation for about three 

I was able almost in my first year to recognise Athyrium filix-femina 'Plumosum Coke' as 
something special and this encouraged me. A.f. 'Plumosum cristatum Coke' came about a 
year later and was even better. Both are strong growing ferns of about three feet and 
divide readily. 'Plumosum' has been widely distributed and I have been able to pass on 
some bits of 'Plumosum cristatum', I hope that Judith Jones has been able to get it 
established in the USA. 

A.f. 'Percristatum Coke' is a real beauty and obviously an offspring of some crested 
varieties. I have been cautious about dividing it because I have a similar one, which I did 
divide, and it has never forgiven me. I must try to get it spread about. 
The A.f. 'Nudicale-cristatum' varieties keep on cropping up and vary from about eighteen 
inches in height, which I do not like, to a mere four inches which forms a tight cushion and 
is most attractive. I wonder if anyone can explain this range of sizes? I did not use A.f. 
'Minutissimum' in any of my mixes. 

Dryopteris filix-mas 'Linearis cristato-pendula' is an extraordinary fern and naming it 
seems to have caused some difficulty. I think that it must be a cross between a crested 
variety and D. filix-mas 'Linearis'. It did not fully develop its characteristics until rather 
late and when I found it in a border it gave me something of a shock. In fact it is not really a 
monstrosity as might appear from the illustration. It does make quite a handsome plant. 
Martin has a division of it but, as it is a fairly recent 'find', it has not gone any further. 
In the same way the Polystichums did not show their true character immediately or maybe 
it was just through ignorance that I did not spot them. Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum 
foliosum Coke' is my favourite. It is a big strong plant, very thick and with a texture almost 

like fur. I wonder what the botanical name is for that? It is tough and very reluctant to part 
with off-sets. Judith Jones had quite a battle with it. I hope the result was worth the effort. 
P. setiferum 'Divisilobum laxum Coke' is the most delicate in both looks and constitution. 
Unfortunately it is not a strong grower. I have moved it three times trying to find a place it 
likes and, at last, it seems to be doing better. It has been rather hacked about, with my 
, I did have two plants of it but one 
I distributed than I realise. 

P. setiferum 'Divisilobum congestum Coke' is a small spreading rather stiff divisilobe. 
There is no problem about reproducing it because it has bulbils all the way up the frond. 
The original plant is now with Martin. 

My 'scollies', of which two are illustrated, must have come from three varieties, one 
which was sold to me as 'Nobile' but obviously was not, a very small 'Marginatum' & 
Golden Queen'. The golden characteristic is peculiar. I have a number of variagated ones 
and they stay golden year after year but when I transfer them elsewhere some of them 
seem to revert to green. 

I have recently tried crossing 'Scollies' with A. trichomanes. It has produced some 
interesting sporelings but it is too early to say whether it has been successful. 
I have talked a lot about giving away ferns but I have received just as many as I have given. 
A large part of my collection were gifts especially from Ray and Rita Coughlin and Chris 
and Mary Potts. One of the advantages of growing from spores is that one always has 
spares with which to repay a kindness. Sadly one cannot repay kindness in the same way 
from Australia. I came back from there with about forty ferns, many of them from Ray 
Best. Their very sensible import restrictions prevent any return in kind. 

) produce ferns to a pattern and botanists 
are naturally not interested in cultivated varieties. 

This is also by way of being a farewell, because I expect to be leaving Robin Hill in the near 
future. I do not know how many of my ferns I will be able to take with me. Most of them are 
duplicated elsewhere, notably with Martin and Pat Roberts. I will ensure that any which I 
cannot take go to good homes. 

I am also giving up membership secretary after seven years. I have enjoyed it and have 
made many friends — some of them only pen-friends — with whom I will hope to keep in 

t mentioned in this i 

a deer's horn. Fronds up to 20 cm lo 
Asplenium scolopendrium Grandiceps nanum'. Dwarf. Fronds branching fror 
base into crisped, irregularly divided fan. Fronds as broad as long, up to 10 cr 
Athyrium filix-femina 'Plumosum Coke'. Plumose. Quadripinnate, pinnae t 
lanceolate. Fronds up to 60 cm long. 

Athyrium filix-femina 'Plumosum cristatum Coke'. Plumose. Quadripinnate, 
broadly lanceolate furnished with tassels. Fronds up to 60 cm long. 

v siiobum laxum Coke', pinna. 
) P. setiferum 'Divisilobum congestum 

i scolopendrium 'Ramo-marginatum Cokt 

Pteridologist 1, 2(1985) 

Fig. 3 Dryopteris fill 

Pteridologist 1,2(1985) 

Drvontehs filix-mas "Linearis cristato-pendula'. Pinnules lacking or ill-formed. Pinnae 

Polystichum setiferum 'Divisilobum laxum Coke'. Fronds 

rarely bulbiferous divisilobe. Pinnae oblong-lanceolate < 

itwt and distantly spaced giving open characte 

Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum congestum Coke'. Fronds spreading, broadly 

Pinnules relatively long giving congested form to frond. Pinnule segments narrow. 

Fronds up to 40 cm long. 

All varieties named by Jimmy Dyce, descriptions by Martin Rickard. 


REGINALD KAYE. Waithman Nurseries, Silverdale, Carnforth, Lanes LA5 OTY 

This attractive small-growing variety cropped up originally as a chance seedling on the 
sphagnum top-dressing of a pot of Odontoglossum in my old orchid house (now defunct) 
about 1948. 

The first fronds from the prothallus were a perfect dichotomy, a slender two-pronged fork 
about 3 cm high. The following year the fronds again repeated the dichotomy, each 
branch of the fork being itself branched on the same scale, each branch perfectly linear, 
about 2 mm wide. On repotting the orchid the fern was removed and potted up in normal 
compost and grown on two or three years before being planted out in the fern garden, 
when it produced fronds with a large terminal crest, the pinnae being orbicular to deltoid 
in outline, the larger pinnae dividing near the tips. The plant was divided every two or 
three years and in thirty years the stock reached the fifty mark when it was put in my 
catalogue under the above name. Originally, I suggested naming it A. filix-femina 
Grandiceps nanum' but was advised under the rules of nomenclature it would have to 
have acultivar name. I suggested Baby Big-head' but did not get a reply. Anyway it makes 
a most attractive little plant, the fronds being slightly decumbent making a plant about 20 
cm high and 25 cm wide. The maximum length of frond is 27 cm, 5 cm wide, crest 1 cm 
wide, but the average frond is 20 cm long by 3 cm wide, the crest 6 cm wide. The shorter 
fronds having the denser heads. The pinnae are slightly deltoid to orbicular, the fronds 
linear-lanceolate, the lowest pinnae slightly longer than the rest, and forking atthetips. I 
have never noticed any of the fronds having sori developing, but I have not searched for 
them and may have missed them amongst the multitudinous jobs needing attention in the 
nursery. In December the fronds are still green and attractive when most of the Athyriums 
have lost their fronds. The planting always gives me pleasure when I pass it on the way to 
a spot of renovation amongst the fern beds, where I have recently removed about 7cwt 
mixed roots, acorns, oak seedlings, Ramsons, Celandines, Anemone nemorosa — a 
perfect network everywhere, to say nothing of Yellow Pimpernel, Herb Robert, and 
Ground Ivy (Glechoma) as well as Ivy itself. 

Pteridologist 1, 2(1985) 

Athyrium filix-femina Crispum ( 


R E HOLTTUM, 50 Gloucester Court, Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey 
In the first issue of the 'Pteridologist' Nigel Hall wrote about collecting Victorian fern 
books, mentioning most of those published in Britain. There were important books on the 
world's ferns published in other countries of Europe, and also a few in Britain not 
mentioned by Nigel Hall. The object of the present article is to comment on some of them 
and on their authors' achievements. 

One important British author not mentioned by Hall is John Smith who started work at 
Kew in 1 822and retired, owing to failing sight, in 1 865. At an early stage he had charge of 
the tropical houses at Kew and became interested in ferns. He raised many plants from 
spores taken from herbarium specimens and soon had a considerable and varied 
collection. The classification then current was that of the Swedish botanist Swartz, 
whose Synopsis Filicum appeared in 1 806. The genera were mainly defined on the form 
and position of sori, and John Smith, observing living plants, developed ideas for using 
other characters. He chose a varied selection of plants illustrating some of his ideas and 
asked the Kew artist Francis Bauer to make drawings of forty of them. Smith sent the 
drawings to W J Hooker, who was then Professor of Botany at Glasgow, and this gave 
Hooker the idea of produci ng a book on the genera of ferns; he added another eighty plates 
prepared by Walter Fitch, and the book (Genera Filicum) was published, in parts between 
1 838 and 1 842, as mentioned by Nigel Hall. When Hooker became Director at Kew, John 
Smith became Curator, in charge of all horticultural work. Hooker continued his study of 
ferns and, by correspondence with people in many parts of the world, assembled a very 
large collection of dried specimens on which he mainly based the five volumes of his 
Species Filicum. Through this interest of Hooker's, John Smith was able to obtain many 
more living plants and also to raise some from spores from herbarium specimens. About 
the time he retired he published a book entitled Ferns, British and Foreign (1 866) in which 
he enumerated one thousand species which he had seen in cultivation, with an 
introduction on culture and classification. After his retirement he wrote another book 
which he called Historia Filicum (1 875), illustrated by Walter Fitch, in which he presented 
his final thoughts on fern classification. He was critical of Hooker's work which was based 
almost entirely on the study of dried specimens; subsequent study by other people has 
shown that Smith's criticism was justified, but his book received little attention from 
academic botanists. 

A work by Thomas Moore not mentioned by Nigel Hall is his Index Filicum (1 857-62), an 
attempt to enumerate all published names of ferns with corrections to bring them into 
conformity with Moore's classification which he set forth, with illustrations, as an 
introduction to his Index. The work was published in parts, and never completed, but the 
illustrated introductory part is of historical interest and the well-executed drawings show 
details of structure which Moore considered to be of generic importance. 
The first considerable series of published illustrations of ferns was by C Schkuhr at 
Wittenberg between 1804 and 1809, entitled Kryptogamische Gewachse. His drawings 
are important in establishing the identity of some species (notably those of Forster, based 
on specimens collected during Cook's second voyage) and they include details of the 
structure of hairs which Carl Christensen, a century later, showed to be important as 
guides for distinguishing species allied to Dryopteris from those of the Thelypterfs 
alliance which were confused by all authors of the 19th century. 
In 1 822 C L Blume was appointed Director of the recently established botanic garden at 
Bogor in Java. His appointment (and the post of Director) was terminated in 1826 but in 
those few years he undertook much field study and wrote the descriptions of a large 

number of local plants, especially orchids and ferns. On his return to Holland he was 
appointed Director of the Rijksherbarium, and from that time onwards published more 
detailed descriptions illustrated by some of the finest coloured plates produced at that 
time. His sixty-five folio plates of ferns, part of his Flora Javae, were published in 1829- 
30; at various subsequent times he added more plates to a total of 96. In my judgement, no 
finer illustrations of ferns have ever been produced. 

In 1836 the Czech botanist C B Presl published an elaborate new classification of ferns 
entitled Tentamen Pteridographiae, illustrated by small engravings which showed the 
details of venation of newly proposed genera, but his excessive reliance on vein-patterns 
brought together ferns which are now seen not to be nearly related. However, many of the 
names in his book are still in use today. He continued to describe many further genera and 
species, including the first detailed treatment of the filmy ferns. Another account of filmy 
ferns, differently subdivided and confined to those in Java, was by van den Bosch; it 
includes 52 plates and is still of basic importance. 

Simultaneously with Presl, the German botanist Gustav Kunze, who had charge of the 
botanic garden at Leipzig, produced a series of beautiful coloured engravings with well- 
observed descriptions in a small quarto format with the title Die Farnkrauter in kolorierte 
Abbildungen, published in parts between 1840 and 1851. At that time the garden at 
Leipzig had the most comprehensive collection of ferns in Europe; this was later excelled 
only by Kew under John Smith. 

Kunze's successor at Leipzig was Georg Mettenius, a man of great energy who, 
simultaneously with W J Hooker, published descriptions of all known species in several 
fern-genera; he noted significant details not observed (or not thought important) by 
Hooker. In 1 856 he produced a folio work, with many engravings, in which he set forth a 
i of the world's ferns; this was entitled Filices Horti botanici Lipsiensis. 
enius had a better understanding of the world's ferns than any 
other 1 9th century author. Unfortunately he died of cholera at the age of 42 in 1866; if he 
had lived longer he would certainly have changed radically the course of pteridological 
thinking. Radical new thought came forty years later with Carl Chistensen. 
Another author working simultaneously with Mettenius was A L A Fee of Strasbourg who 
published eleven Ntemoires on ferns from 1844 to 1866, also two volumes on the 
vascular cryptogams of Brazil in 1869-1873. Nearly all FeVs works were illustrated by 
excellent plates, the finest being the 64 large folio plates illustrating his second Ivtemoire 
(1845) on acrostichoid ferns. The fifth M6moire (1852), entitled Genera Filicum, is a 
survey of all known ferns arranged in a complex new system which showed less insight 
than that of Mettenius; it is illustrated by plates showing details considered important by 
F6e, and is still important. 

R H Beddome, a forester stationed for most of his service in southern India, collected ferns 
during his travels and in 1 863-64 published, at Madras, descriptions of them with more 
than 200 line drawings on quarto plates. He also acquired a herbarium of specimensfrom 
northern India and in 1865-70 published another series of more than 300 quarto plates 
entitled Ferns of British India. Though details are not in all cases quite accurate, and 
though we may today recognise details not illustrated as important, Beddome's plates are 
an admirable series, illustrating Indian ferns far more fully than those of any other tropical 
country. After retiring he spent some time at Kew studying Hooker's fern herbarium, 
correcting some of his identifications and revising his nomenclature, and in 1883 
published his Handbook to the Ferns of British India, including reproductions (reduced in 
size) of many of his earlier plates. Like John Smith, he knew ferns as living plants; his 
preface shows that he knew that a better classification was needed. 
Almost at the end of the century came two more works on the world's ferns. The first was 
Die Farnkrauter derErde. by Hermann Christ of Basle, in 1897. Christ was a legal man by 

Pteridologist \ , 2(1985) 71 

profession, who had made considerable studies of the Swiss alpine flora. Rather late in 
life he began to take an interest in ferns and described several collections from China and 
elsewhere. He wished to devise a classification better than Hooker's (which was still used 
by J G Baker at Kew). But in my judgement his scheme shows less insight than that of 
John Smith, whom he does not mention, and Christensen soon afterwards began to show 
more clearly Hooker's inadequacies. 

The other work was the Pteridophyte volume in Engler & Prantl's Die Naturliche 
t of the ferns were dealt with by L Diels. Diels had little 
summary from previous 
/ confused were the 19th century generic 
1 evidently did not know of some important late papers by Mettenius. In my 
is work, in the main, is confusion vt 


Dryopteris thymifolia = Lady-fern 

Last year I visited Liverpool International Garden Festival for one day in July ai 

Leslie and Joan Dugdaleto man the BPS stand (see Bulletin 3: 29, 1984). Next 

an exhibit of ornamental garden metalwork, amongst which were potted fern 

Dryopteris thymifolius (sic) for sale at £2.40; they \ 

Despite enquiries to the exhibitors and their supplier; 

suppliers, and also consulting BPS botanical and horticultui 

the source of the name, but have found that names are contrived for trade purposes when, 

for example, a consignment arrives without a label. So it seems an honest expedient can 

launch a new name which, if done without legal formality, is illegitimate. Whoever 

invented this name thought it was Dryopteris so, understandably, thyme-leaved' was apt 

for the finer cutting of a Lady-fern. 

me to say that I have every sympathy with those who complain 
that I agree that losing familiar latinized names for 

legal reasons often loses the meaning of what the plant looks like. I suggest that, for 
example, grandiceps be re-cast as 'Grandiceps', thereby regarding it as a vernacular 
name and retaining what we know as meaning a big head. 

I would like to think that the BPScould convene a get-together on these matters, hopefully 
to pursue and develop ideas outlined in Fern Gazette (1 964), 9: 1 78-1 82 and later plan to 
up-date and extend them. 


72 Pteridologist -\ . 2(1985) 


C. N. PAGE, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, and 

A. R. BUSBY, University of Warwick, Westwood, Coventry. 

During a weekend introductory course on ferns led by one of us (ARB) organised by the 

Field Studies Council at the Preston Montford FSC, several sites were visited in 

Shropshire to illustrate the range of habitats for ferns in that area. One such habitat is the 

disused Montgomeryshire/Shropshire canal link south of Oswestry. This canal, opened 

in 1793, primarily to service the local farming community, carried limestone from the 

quarries at nearby Llanymynech to the lime kilns at Belan. The canal also carried coal, 

grain and timber. It appears to have been abandoned during the early nineteen fifties and 

has now become an attractive linear wetland through north-west Shropshire. The deep 

canal locks near Queens Head on the A5 now provide an ideal home for several 


Alongside the canal runs an old towpath now improved to take vehicular traffic to a nearby 

canal cottage. The canal and its towpath are raised several feet above the surrounding 

countryside which was once largely marshland (Maesbury Marshes)but is now improved 

grassland for cattle and sheep. Along this canal and its towpath are abundant quantities 

of Equisetum telmateia and E. arvense, while nearby in the canal itself, small quantities of 

E. fluviatile grow. 

During a visit by the weekend fern class, several shoots of an unusual horsetail were 

found in the grassy bottom of a field hedge alongside the canal (GR 33/3326). Long, 

graceful shoots of this plant were lying almost horizontally in the grass, with their 

branches ascending and many with each branch ending in a small cone. The branches 

were the same colour as those of E. telmateia, and the main shoots pale ivory white as in 

(CNP) at Edinburgh who confirmed it to be Equisetum x font-queri Rothm., the unusual 

hybrid between E. palustre and E . telmateia. This hybrid has been known with certainty in 

Britain previously only on Skye and in Worcestershire (Page 1 973, Roberts & Page 1 979). 

A second visit to the site in mid-August provided more material of the hybrid and showed 
n both sides of the towpath track for a distance of about 1 0yards (c. 9m). 
f more typically upright form and non-fertile ones were present 
E. palustre also occurred beside the track, and the soil around the 

hybrid was considerably t 

The presence of the hybrid here with both parents growing r 

arisen locally at this spot by direct hybridisation between the t 

after the construction of the canal bankst 
and undamaged persistence of t 

HADFIEUD, C, 1966. The Canals of the West Midlands. Newton Abbot. 

PAGE, C.N., 1973. Two hybrids in Equisetum new to the British flora. Watsonia i 

ROBERTS, R.H. & PAGE, C.N., 1979. A second record for Equisetum x font-queri, at 


Twenty years ago the publication of volume one of Flora Europaea, (Tutin et al. 1 964)gave 
us a review for the first time this century of the pteridophyte flora of the continent as a 
whole and we could begin to understand the interrelationships of species across its range 
from Portugal to the Urals and from Sicily to northern Scandinavia. 
Stimulated by this broader outlook then present in Britain, the B.P.S. made in 1965, its 
first (and only, I am sorry to say) overseas excursion — to Austria. The event was a 
memorable one. It was expertly organised by the then Meetings Secretary, Peter Halligay, 
and needless to say, Jimmy Dyce, then Secretary and Treasurer, was very much to the 
fore encouraging everyone in the party to understand the new but closely related ferns. 
The account was published in full in the Gazette (Vol. 9: 288-295; 1966), and is well worth 
reading. Although we have never organised another excursion abroad Jimmy Dyce has 
encouraged many of us to search further afield. So in this issue in which we are 
commemorating his eightieth birthday I think it might be pertinent to review how our 
knowledge of the taxonomy and distribution of European ferns has developed over the 
past 20 years. It is also topical as we are preparing to advise and help compile the 
pteridophyte accounts for the second edition of Flora Europaea. 
It is inevitable that as groups are revised and botanists unearth more material in the 
museums and herbaria, new names for plants well known, will find their way into the 
literature. We all hate name changes and I will not dwell on the many papers that have 
been written, even since 1 964, on the nomenclature of European ferns; a definitive list of 
over 1 70 species found in Europe (with extensive synonymy) is being prepared (Jermy & 
Moss, in prep.). 

An important adjunct to Flora Europaea is the Atlas Flora Europaeae (Jalas & Suominen, 
1972) and again vol. 1 contains the Pteridophyta. This is a project which arose from the 
corporate planning which was then developing in European science and is directed from 
Helsinki University. It gives the distribution in Europe, on a 50-km grid basis using the 
Universal Mercator grid. Regional botanists provided information and country coverage is 
therefore variable in accuracy and detail, but the overall pictures of distribution are a fair 
guide and country distributions quoted in Flora Europaea are updated in many cases. 
Another important work is the Med-Checklist (Greuter, Burdett & Long, 1984) published 
under the auspices of the Organisation for Phyto-taxonomy in the Mediterranean Area 
(OPTIMA). This gives the distribution of all species (and subspecies) of pteridophytes in 
the Mediterranean area (including N. Africa) on a country by country basis, complete with 
references to new records. The most recent international project, the European 
Documentation System, based at Reading University under Prof. V.H. Heywood.aimsto 
set upand maintain an on-line computer data base on European vascular plants compiled 
from Flora Europaea and later floristic literature. 

3 efforts but \ 

experimental research? Within months of Flora Europaea appearing a completely new 
class of plants was added to the flora. Mrs. Betty Allen, who has spent much of her life in 
Malaysia found in S. Spain a tropical species, Psi/otum nudum, on a south-facing cliff in 
cork-oak woodland near Algiceras. This was indeed an exciting find and a substantial 
extention from its nearest locality in Cape Verde Is. some 2800 k 
known to growers as the Whisk Fern, i 

varieties in Europe and supports the view that D. xiss/eri should be regarded as a hybrid 
(alpinum x complanatum), albeit with partial fertility. My own investigations on British 
material indicate that at least our lowland populations in the south of the country (now 
extinct) and a small population near Malvern appear to be this hybrid, but I am not sure 
about the Scottish material recorded in the Atlas of Ferns Brit. Is. (1977). It raises the 
question: did we also have D. complanatum once on lowland British heaths. 
The genus Isoetes, with some 14taxa in Europe, has been studied in detail in France 
(Berthet & Lecocq 1977) and Spain (Prada 1983) when scanning electron microscope 
pictures have been particularly helpful in showing spore differences. Isoetes is an ancient 
genus and European species now need to be studied in conjunction with those of Africa. 

> possibly evolving in the Cretaceous 
it called Gondwanaland.and wasfor 
rea. Seven species 
i accepted in S. Europe with a further two in Madeira and the Canary Isles 
. An interesting paper by Vida et al. (1983) 
explains for the less specialised reader howfour diploids have crossed to give rise to three 
tetraploids. They also give silhouettes of species and hybrids. These authors prefer, as 
others have done to separate two species, C. marantae and C. vel/ea and place them in the 
genus Notholaena on the grounds of them lacking a distinct pseudo-indusium, i.e. a 
modified reflexed leaf-margin, which the other species have. Their spore-wall patterns 
are also very different from the other Cheilanthes and eventually they may be accepted in 
a genus of their own, as has already been proposed by Spanish botanists. Their closest 
allies may be not in Africa or Asia but S.W. U.S.A. 

There is still a certain amount of study needed to sort out the relationships of the 
Polypodies of the P. cambricum (P. austra/e) complex in south-west Europe. The Canary 
i reported for S. Spain (as a subspecies of P. 

In the Thelypteridaceae, the British species of Thelypteris s.l. have for some time been 
accepted in the smaller genera now accepted throughout the family but two further 
genera are found in Europe namely Stegnogramma pozoi (Thelypteris pozoi), restricted on 
mainland Europe to N. Spain, and Christel/a dentata (Cyclosorus dentatus) which is a 
tropical species now recorded for S. Spain, Sicily and Crete. 

The Aspleniaceae have seen perhaps the greatest revision due mainly to the work of 
Professors J. Lovis and T. Reichstein, although the late Dr. Dieter Meyer of Berlin made a 
significant contribution; see Berichte Deutsches Botanik Gesellschaft, now Wi/ldenovia, 
1 960-79. Lovis has studied for many years the variation in Asplenium trichomanes and in 
1964 published a further diploid subspecies, inexpectans, originally from Austria, 
Yugoslavia and Greece, and confined to limestone; more recently it has been found in 
France, the Balearic Islands and Crimea (Greuteretal. 1 984). A. csikii, mentioned in Flora 
Europaea as needing further investigation has been renamed as A. trichomanes ssp. 
pachyrachis, from an old varietal name for the plant (Lovis & Reichstein 1984). A. ruta- 
muraria is another species found to have a diploid race (ssp. dolomiticum) which was 
originally described from N. Italy; it has since been found in France and Yugoslavia. 
Likewise A. petrarchae was also found to have a diploid form (in S. Spain) but in all these 
three species the higher chromosome races are due to duplication of chromosome sets 
(genomes) and the morphological differences between diploid and tetraploid are very 
small indeed. 

In some other species of Asplenium in Europe it is clear that tetraploid species have 
formed from the hybridization of two quite different diploid species. A. majoricum is one 
such species in which the relationship was not clear in Flora Europaea and has since been 

shown to be a distinct tetraploid species. A baleancum, another tetraploid species since 
described by Mrs. T.G. Walker (Shivas 1969), proved to be a hybrid between A obovatum 
and A onopteris, initially thought to be endemic to the Balearic Islands but recently 
reported for Italy. Studies in the flora of Crete during the last two decades (see Reichstein 
et al. 1 973 and Brownsey & Jermy 1 973) have brought to light interesting new species in 
this genus. A. aegeum an attractive diploid of limestone since found on mainland Greece 
and A creticum (tetraploid from aegeum and viride) were described in the work just 
mentioned. Species from central Asia and Turkey, A bourgaeiandA. haussknechtii, have 
since been recorded in Crete. The latter species is now regarded as a subspecies of A 
s of S.E. Europe (Brownsey 1976). Dr. Anne Sleep (1983) illustrated 
interrelationships of ten species of Asplenium found in 

We have accepted for some time the merging of Ceterach and Phyllitis with Asplenium on 
the grounds that hybridisation occurs between them and that a few species have mixed 
characters and are difficult to segregate. Similarly the Spanish genus Pleurosorus may 
also be amalgamated on the same grounds. An interesting dwarf form of A 
with crenate or incised fronds (again from Crete), hitherto called 
jovis was shown (Vida 1 972) to be related by cross-breeding experiments 
js level). There is no doubt that Ceterach and Phyllitis are 
distinct plants and many will want to keep these names at generic level as has Chris Page 
in Ferns of Britain and Ireland. It is a matter of opinior 

Our knowledge of the Brittle-bladder Ferns, Cystopteris, has increased since Flora 

Europaea due mainly to the work of Prof. G. Vida of Budapest. We now accept C. regie as a 

distinct species with finely dissected fronds of limestone rocks of the Alpes, and Vida has 

shown (1974) that at least three C. fragilis 'species' occur which can and frequently do 

form sterile hybrids. There is much to learn about this group; so far no diploid plants have 

been found in Europe, but plants with four, six and eight sets of chromosomes have. 

The other large genus which has received much attention since 1 964 is Dryopteris. Now 

some 17 species are found in Europe, of these five being new to science. The Iberian 

peninsula is an area which is renowned for its ancient flora; it was in that portion of 

Europe, then somewhat larger, that the temperate species wi 

Pleistocene glaciations spread south around the northern 

several species colonised the newly-formed Atlantic Islands i 

dry, now exist as rare endemics on Madeira and the Canary Islar 

on the wetter seaboard of the peninsula. It was therefore exciting when having described 

a new Dryopteris (D. guanchica) from the Canaries (Gibby et al. 1977), an identical 

specimen was found in the British Museum herbarium which had been collected from the 

western tip of Portugal in 1 845. The idea of ref inding after over 1 0Oyears a member of the 

Tertiary flora of Europe was indeed a challenge and the author, Mary Gibby and Jimmy 

Dyce went to Portugal in 1 975, and did indeed find D. guanchica ir - 

vegetation in the urban area of Cintra. It has since been found in 


C. R. Fraser-Jenkins, who has made brief but frequent and productive excursions to many 

l greater 

parts of Europe, has contributed n 

collection grown on at Chelsea Physic Garden r 

t knowledge of Dryopteris. I 

f Gibby; 

reference should be made to Fraser-Jenkins (1 982a; 1 982b) for an extensive account on 
Iberian and Azores Dryopteris. One new species found by Fraser-Jenkins in 1981 in the 
Spanish Cordillera Cantabrica, is named D. corleyi after that doyen of Dryoptens 
collectors, Hugh Corley, and is particularly interesting because it appears on 
morphological grounds to have D. aemula in its ancestry. 

jp of species which has undergone considerable study and is very difficult to 
s the D. pallida group in which may be included*?, submontana and D. villarii. 
These are limestone plants throughout their range. D. submontana is found in Britain 
(previously recorded as D. villarsii), N. Spain and a few isolated sites through the Alps to 
Hungary; D. villarii is now restricted to a species common in the W. Alpes. D. pallida itself 
is very variable, reaching Spain only in the Balearics but it is found eastwards to the 
Caspian Sea area. It appears to have hybrised with D. oreades to form a new species. D. 
tyrrhena, described in 1975 (Fraser-Jenkins, Reichstein &Vida 1975). This is found in the 
Mediterranean area from S.E. Spain to Liguria in Italy. 

In 1 964 we realised through Professor Manton's work that D. filix-mas had been formed 
through the hybridisation of D. oreades (D. abbreviata) with another then unknown Male- 
fern. That ancestral parent, D. caucasica, was found by Fraser-Jenkins (1976) in the 
Russian Caucasus and later shown to be in European Russia and the Crimea thus adding 
a further species to the European list. 

D. affinis (D. pseudomas) aggr. is the last major complex that is still in need of detailed 
taxonomic study. Basic work has been carried out by Dr. J.J. Schneller (1975) and Mary 
Gibby is investigating the cytology of British material. Fraser Jenkins (1 980) has listed a 
mass of names at all ranks but the resulting taxonomy is as yet far from clear. D. affinis is 
agamospermous (i.e. it can produce a sporeling on the prothallus without fertilization 
occurring), but it can also produce sperm which can fertilize other closely related species. 
The resulting hybrids are also agamospermous and can thus get easily established. One 
such 'species', D. remota of the Black Forest which probably has D. expansa as the other 
parent, has long been known. Another, D. ardechensis. confined to S.W. France, could be 
affinis combining with either D. tyrrhena or D. pallida. This ability to hybridise and remain 
fertile is one of the reasons why D. affinis is a taxonomic muddle. 
This has of necessity been a very brief review of the major changes seen since 1965; a 
complete bibliography alone would fill this journal by itself and I have referred only to a 
few more substantial papers. I have indicated above the two outstanding areas needing 
. Dryopteris affinis and Cystopteris but there is still the ancestral 
> find, and it could well be in Europe, and Fraser-Jenkins has 
Ytetraploids, e.g.0. corleyi may turn up. N. Spain should be on 
l before too long. Certainly there is the potential in the number of 
for more tetraploid species to be formed by hybridization in 
I Dryopteris. There is still a lot of Europe to be searched. 

Pollen et Spores 19 329-359 

. P o & LECOCa M., 1977. Morphologi. 
etSpo — ,ft — — 
72: 235-267. 
BROWNS|Y, P.J. & JERMY, AC, 1973. 

SSffiSjaSSS' r 5" ?<& %f aucasica and the cyto,ofly of its hybrids - Fern Gaz ' 

FRASER-JENKINS, C R., 1980. Dryopteris affinis: a new treatment for a complex sp 

European pt-^ M15 

EKH8" *iiKKKi'?^S£ JXW*"* on Pico Island. Arquipelago, Ser. Cienc. Nat 2. 

t 55 M 7*336 Dryopteris in Spain, Portugal and Macaronesia.flo/. Soc. Brot. Ser. 

F ^SlrS S u, C ?' RE ' CHST E'N. T. & VIDA, G., 1975. Dryopteris tyrrhena nom. nov. - a 

^.Tll . St00d Western Mediterranean species. Fern Gaz. 11-177-198 
in L^ ' JERM T' A J C ' RASBACH, H. & K., REICHSTEIN, T. & VIDA, G., 1 977. The genus Dryopteris 
Soc. 7?25 r i V 277 ^ ^^ a " d the descri P tion of *»<> new tetraploid species. Bot. J. Unn. 

^G^n^Z'r^n^ W & L 9 NG « G < Ed8 ->- 1 984 - Med-Checklist. Vol. 1 Pteridophyta fed. 2). 

JALAS i T£?™?^^^^^^ Geneva . 

KUKKONFif | S 1? M 7 N IV' 197 ? At,as Flora £<"<>paeae. Vol. 1 Pteridophyta. Helsink. 
Fenn 4 k 25 54 ° n the variabilit V ° f Diphasium (Lycopodium)complanatum. Ann. Bot. 

k REICHSTEIN, T„ 1984. A. trichomanesssp.pachyrhach 
. _ 14:38. 
PRADA, C, 1983. El genero Isoetes 

Ann. Mus. Goulandris 1: 133-163. 
SHIVAS, M.G., 1 969. A cytotaxonomic study of the Asplenium adiantum-nigrum complex. 

Gaz. 10:68-80. 
SCHNELLER, J. J., 1975. Untersunchen an einheimystopterisischen Farnen, 

Dryopteris fi/ix-mas-Gruppe, \.Ber. Schweiz. Bot. Ges. 84: 195-217. 
SLEEP, A., 1983. On the genus Asplenium in the Iberian peninsula .^cfafior. Malacitana 8 11-46 
VIDA G , 1974. Genome analysis of the European Cystopteris fragitis complex I. Tetraploidtaxa.^cra 

Bot. Acad. Sci. Hungaricae 20: 181-192. 
VIDA, G., 1972. Cytotaxonomy and g 


(Sinopteridaceae, Pterii 

genome analysis o' ' 


FLORA OF JERSEY by Frances Le Sueur, Soci6t6Jervaise. 1 984. p x/ii, 244;; 18 
black and white photographs; 10 maps; 577 species maps; 275 * 215mm. Price £17.50 
plus £1.50 p. &p., available from Socie'te' Jervaise (Flora), 9 Pier Road, St. Helier, Jersey, 
Channel Islands. Make cheques payable to Frances Le Sueur. 

Anogramma leptophylla - the Jersey Fern .... it is primarily this species which should 
make the publication of a new Flora of Jersey a significant pteriodological event, and the 
author has not disappointed us. Of over 1 500 species listed in this handsome book the 
Jersey Fern gets very comprehensive coverage, probably as much as any other species. 
There is a splendid full page colour painting of the fern in its normal habitat, plus a cartoon 
I references to 19th century pilgrimages to see the fern. In the 

e that A leptophylla h 
widely distributed than it was according to the 1903 flora by Lester-Garland 
seemed to be declining. A. leptophylla is also recorded from Guernsey but 
i anywhere else in the Brit 

the U.K. Of more interest perhaps are the species which do not occur on the island — 
these include Polystichum aculeatum. Po/ypodium vutgare, Oreopteris limbosperma, the 
british Hymenophyllums and Equisetum telmateia - presumably the climate is too soft. 
On the other hand why do several Guernsey rarities not occur on Jersey; e.g. 
Ophioglossum lusitanicum. Isoetes hystrix and Asplenium x sarniense (why is the last 
hybrid given the common name of 'A hybrid fern' when it has been called 'Guernsey 
Spleenwort' since its discovery in 1 971 ? Could this be inter-island jealousy!?)? A ™ x * eT 
problem is the apparent absence of Po/ypodium australe (unfortunately now widely called 
P. cambric urn). 

Overall this is a fascinating book incorporating many of the features of a county flora. The 
plant catalogue is very full and accounts of most ancillary areas (e.g. geology, climate, 
habitats, etc.) are adequate, if brief. For me the only serious short-coming of the whole 
book is the lack of a map of the islands showing standard features such as towns, villages, 

At f 17.50 it is not cheap, but it is an attractive book with 18 splendid colour plates of 
various Jersey specialities. It will be an invaluable guide to any pteridologist, botanist or 
i tourist visiting the island. 



J WDYCE, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

It is some years — 1980, to be precise — since I last wrote under this heading in the 
Bulletin. Much has happened since then, and I have now retired from most of my active 
participation in the affairs of the Society and tend to become somewhat lazy where 
writing is concernedl However, Martin Rickard, our Editor, won't le me "sleep" and has 
successfully prodded me into action again to continue this series of articles. This has 
entailed quite a bit of memory flogging on the part of both of us and I cannot promise that 
all the good finds of the last four years, both in the wild and in the spore-pots of our active 
breeders, will be mentioned. I shall be most happy to hear from anyone who has found or 
knows of a new outstanding variety, preferably sending me a pressed frond. 
To me, the outstanding wild find of 1984 was a first-rate plant of Asplenium 
scolopendrium 'Crispum', found by Christopher Potts at the base of a roadside dry-stone 
wall in the Cheddar area. It was collected while I was staying for a few days with 
Christopher and Mary at their home near Cheddar. It is a youngish plant, probably not 
more than six to eight years old, and the amazing thing is that it remained undiscovered 
for so long, a few feet away from a busy road. It is a classic example of the variety, with 
barren fronds of normal width, deeply and regularly frilled. Mary Potts is busy propagating 
it from frond bases, and I hope to have my own plant of it in due course. It goes without 
saying that our Editor has also been "drooling" over it and is also lining up impatiently in 
the queuel 

While preparing this paper I heard from our member Peter Corbin who lives in Devon. 
Several years ago he found three 'Crispum' harts-tongue ferns which he exhibited to us 
during a meeting in the West Country. Now he has found another one, but so far I do not 
know how it compares with the Potts' specimen — it will have to be superlative to beat 
that. Peter says it was growing on top of a bank and was nearly dislodged by hedge- 
trimmers. He adds it is interesting to note that all the wild 'Crispums' he 
growing well up on hedge banks or walls. He is sure "that Scolopendriu 
whole, are altogether more frequent in peripheral habitats/situal 

3 lots of large lush typicals occur". From my own experience, I fully 

Another exciting find of the past year, although probably not o 
fern growers, was a Crested Bracken, Pteridium aquilinu 
appeared in the wild woodland garden of Pat and Eric Roberts i 
year it had a single frond only, about a foot high, and the plea 
rarity of this notoriously difficult — if not impossible — fern to transplant, has actually 
chosen, of its own accord, to make its home in the protected conditions of a garden where 
it can be assured of interested care and attention. Crested bracken is only recorded from a 
few localities, chiefly in the North of England. The best ever find of this variety was a 
magnificent crispate and percristate form, by C T Druery in mid-Scotland. There was only 
one frond and it would have been hopeless trying to dig up the root which was probably 
some feet down in the ground — all he could do was collect the frond which was about 3 
feet high and as much across. Those who possess Druery's British Ferns and their 
Varieties will find the frond depicted on page 221. Perchance that plant is still growing 
somewhere near Pitlochry — if only we knew where\ What a findl 
During the Lakeland meeting last year Martin Rickard found an interesting plant of 
Oreopteris limbosperma Revolvens', with recurved pinnules. It is small and looks 
promising. The remarkable thing about this species is that at one time it was one of our 
most generous producers of varieties, particularly in the Lake District, and did much to fire 
the enthusiasm in that area for fern hunting and collecting which was instrumental in 
launching our Society in 1 891 . During the inter-war years, if not before then, variation in 

0. limbosperma completely disappeared, both in the wild and in cultivation. In post-war 

years, only two minor variations have been found, both by Martin Rickard, the Revolvens' 

mentioned here, and a 'Cristulatum' which has minute twisted cresting. 

Two Blechnum spicant finds have come to my notice, a Multifidum' by Ray Smith who 

lives at Shirley in Warwickshire, and a 'Corymbiferum' by Clive Jermy; the latter find was 

made during the Irish meeting last year. I do not have any details about either plant, but I 

hear that the 'Corymbiferum' has since died I 

These are all the wild finds which Martin and I could gather together for this article, but 

we are sure there must be many others — if only the finders could be prevailed upon to 

inform us. 

There is no reason why this article should not include what can be termed "spore-pot 

1983 Bulletin I reported how Ray Coughlin had been successful in recovering from the 
past the famous Victorian variety of the lady fern called Kalothrix'. In the same issue 
(page 268) Martin Rickard had a similar success from the same parent, Athyrium filix- 
femma 'Plumosum Penny'. I have a plant from Martin's sowing and it conforms well with 
'Kalothrix Coughlin'. 

From the Coughlin "stable" I possess two lady ferns of which I am very fond. One is a 
cross between 'Setigerum'andthewell-known 'Victoriae',in which the beautiful crossed 
and crested pinnae of the latter are still further enhanced by the fine spininess of the 
former's setigerate pinnules. The other is a finely divided first-rate plant which the raisers 
regard as one of their best achievements and have named 'Lydiate' - they live at Lydiate 
Ash near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire. 

Another prolific breeder of new varieties is Philip Coke. He has produced some superb 
plants of Pofystichum setiferum 'Divisilobum' and he has an exciting collection of his own 
varieties of Asplenium sco/opendrium, several well-worth naming. His greatest 
successes, however, have been with Athyrium filix-femina. I will not comment on these 
since this issue includes an article dealing with some of his finest ones. 
Judith Jones from Seattle in the USA is also very busy breeding new fern varieties in her 
small nursery. The lady fern gives her some of her best successes, such as a Recurvo- 
cristatum' with the pinnules recurved, and several good 'Grandiceps'. She has also had 
some very interesting dwarf forms of A. f-f. 'Minutissimum 

P. setiferum breeding has not been neglected and there have been a few reported finds of 
spores on Plumosum Bevis', that most beautiful variety which only very occas.ona ly 
deigns to produce a few minute spore-heaps which have to be searched for closely, 
preferably with a magnifying glass. Unfortunately, the resultant sporel.ngs are mostly 
very "miffy" and need a lot of care to nurse them into mature plants. In recent years I have 
not heard of anyone who has succeeded in bringing on sporelings of this variety beyond 
the early stages Last year I was presented with a sporeling, about 2 inches high, from our 
Dutch member Cor van de Moesdijk who had made a successful sowing from 'Bevis I 
have not heard how Cor's plants are faring but my one is doing well and was still growing 
vigorously when last I saw it before it was covered by snow I However, it is still very young, 
and too early to say if it will turn out to be one of the elite, such as "Gracillimum or even 
Gracillimum cristulatum' - or one of the "miffy" ones which will have had enough of lite 
before this year is outl 

<Cor has sent me fronds of several different forms raised from his Bevis'. Included are 
some 'Gracillimums'. Hopefully, in time we will be able to run a feature on how these 
plants develop. A small frond of 'Gracillimum' is illustrated on p. 80. Ed.) 
I finish with a species, not British but well established in this country, Cystopteris 
bulbiferum. While staying with Pat and Eric Roberts last summer, I was taken to visit the 

Pteridologist 1,2(1985) 

garden of a friend of theirs, James Piatt. It is a small garden but crammed full of beautiful 
and rare plants. He has a small but good fern collection which includes some plants of a 
fern which was new to me. It was a variety of C. bulbiferum with finely divided and 
enlarged pinnules, but Mr Piatt could not give me its history. On the assumption that it has 
not already been named somewhere, I suggested a suitable name would be 'Inciso- 
II. It was generously presented with a fine large plant of the 


PAULINE BASSET, East Rand, Polgooth, St. Austell. Cornwall, PL26 7 AX 

These ferns grow under the shelter of a thickly ivied wall and an oak tree in a wooded 
valley about two miles from the coast of St. Austell Bay. Nearby a stream winds its way to 
Pentewan. The hill rises steeply on the east side and the climate is fairly mild, with usually 
only 2-3 days of snow each winter (see photograph opposite). 

On the south side of a ruin three areas of the fern are well established, measuring 30- 
1 00cm across. A sprinkling of young plants cling in the cracks of the wall which is made 
mainly of elvan stone, crumbling mortar and a little brick The sunlight filters through in 
the afternoon, but on the west side of the buildina where the wood is thickest it is very 
shaded i 

Close by, rusting tram lines from old mine workings, obscured by brambles and ivy, denote 
an age long past. For 50 years this area was almost untrodden by human foot, as tin and 
copper mining ceased in the 1 930's. A holiday chalet stands nearby and the ferns have 
twice been in danger from a down's fire and a nearby bonfire, but as the woods are 
private, there is very little disturbance. Attention is not drawn to its existence for fear of 

The ruined building, believed to be a very early smelting house, fell into disuse in the 
1800's, but how long Pteris cretica has been there is not known. Mining has been going 
on for centuries, Phoenician ingots have been found downstream near Pentewan. 
Questioning village elders, one says that there are some plants of the same fern growing a 

5 downstream near the r 

r says she remembers them growing h 

she was a girl and that pot plants were not plentiful at the turn of the century in the village, 
some people had aspidestra or geraniums. 

Pteridologist 1, 2(1985) 

Pteridologist 1, 2<1985) 

Craig's Monstrosum'. Mature plant. The ruler is 90cm (3feet)long. 

Pteridologist 1,2(1985) 81 


RALPH H. HUGHES, 1546 Del Rio Drive, Fort Myers, Florida 33901. USA 
A strikingly new, distinctive and attractive polypod form from the Philippines added 
diversity to our large collection of staghorn ferns when imported into the humid, semi- 
tropical climate of southwest Florida about five years ago. Jack E. Craig, plant collector- 
explorer of the far east, labelled the variant 'Monstrosum' to distinguish one leaf form 
from another on arrival in this country. While some ferns are known to be highly variable, 
as noted by Richard Rush in the 1983 Bulletin, it turns out that one highly developed 
variant proved through spore-grown progeny to be distinct. It is described in cultivation as 

Copeland (1960) working in 
Microsorium longissimum(J. Smith)Fee, a synonym of Polypodium 
noted that the leaves of the type were very variable in length, wic 
\ monstrosity, with long 

The spore grown offspring were conspicuously different in leaf size, changes in margins, 
and overall size of plant, hence, as outlined by Hoshizaki (1975), obtaining plants with 
qualities of the parent requires culling to remove undesirable forms. Conversely, it is too 
early to speculate on any likelihood of finding a superior offspring. All individuals were, 
however, identifiable with the parent. 

Growing sporelings was relatively easy when compared with those of the genus 
Platycerium growing side by side in the same garden. Even so, both survival and growth 
were twice as great for other polypods from the Philippines propagated similarly. This 
, because Craig had reported that under shade- 
) other polypods volunteered profusely, whereas the somewhat less 
' self-propagated only sparingly. 
When grown on treefern slabs or in medium-to-large pots or baskets and displayed in 
elevated or hanging containers to show off their long, wide-arching fronds, the short 
creeping rhizomes branch sufficiently to form an attractive large cluster. Plants are 
i that when cultivated in pots with a loose 
i growth. No ii 


My thanks are extended to Jack E. Craig for live plants, to Barbara 
Michael G. Price for identification, to Phyllis Bates for preparation of tl 
to my wife, Elizabeth, for raising the sporelings. 


MARTIN RICKARD, The Old Rectory, Lemthall Starkes, Ludlow, ShropsSY82HP 
As Jimmy Dyce and I were discussing all the new varieties discovered over the last few 
years it became clear that the number of finds was much larger than usual. Therefore we 
agreed to split the material into two — I would review new developments among the 
Polypods, while Jimmy would do everything else (thank goodnessl). 
The number of Polypodium varieties, new or rediscovered since 1 981 is quite remarkable, 
not least for the fact that most are of North American origin. The best recent wild find 

course led by Herb Wagner at Mount Lake Biological Station in Pulaski Co., Virginia, USA 
in July 1982. This is a very fine variety closely resembling the 'Pulcherrimum' forms of 
Polypodium australe (see photo opp. p. 80). It may however be truly plumose, but I don't 
know if the plant is soriferous. Apparently there were three small patches growing on a 
rocky slope separated by about 5 feet and growing with normal P. virginianum. A small 
piece of rhizome has been taken into cultivation at the University of Michigan, but as far as 
I know it is not in cultivation in Europe. 

Other wild finds pale into insignificance compared with this North American success, 
however I have found quite a good P. australe 'Semilacerum' in Cheddar Gorge. In 
cultivation this has developed into a fine plant, strongly bipinnatifid. Another of my own 
finds was an extraordinary spiny form of P. australe. I found this v 
specimen of P. australe 'Cristatum' from the h 

at Cardiff. This was recorded as growing on limestone cliffs near Hanffre l 
Cwlach, on the Great Orme overlooking Uandudno. In the spring of 1 984 1 looked around 
the general area without success, before, with permission, exploring a back garden with a 
cliff absolutely swamped by P. australe. I found no 'Cristatum' but I was highly delighted 
with this spiny form, it may be a monstrosity, but it is different! It is depauperate, all 
pinnae are reduced in length, with the midrib protruding about 3mm beyond the tip of the 
pinna into a small spine (these have not come out very well in the illustration), hence P. 
australe 'Corniculatum' (see Fig. 2(a) ). Similar types of variation have been found in 
Polypodiums in the past, e.g. P. australe 'Semilacerum truncatum' found by Barnes at 
Levens in 1863 — this too was horned. Other ferns also exhibit this type of variation, e.g. 
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Cornutum'. I await with interest the results of my spore 

Of horticultural origin we have three new hardy North American forms to report —what 
other treasures must still be lurking unrecognised over there?l Ray Coughlin has raised in 
the U.K. at Birmingham, a 'Bifidum' from Polypodium glycyrrhiza agg. 'Caudatum' (I use 
the term P. glycyrrhiza agg because there are two or three rather similar wild species 
occuring in the Pacific North West of America. At this time I don't know which of these 
species has given rise to each of these varieties, although P. glycyrrhiza itself is favourite). 
This form is not strongly crested (see Fig. 1 (c) ), but it could well be the parent of something 
good. During its development this plant has changed its character somewhat, it was 
mentioned in my 1981 survey of British Polypodiums as number 46 (BPS Bulletin. 
2(3)1 40). The other two forms have come via Judith Jones from Seattle. They are not new 
to horticulture, but they are possibly new to the U.K. The origins of both are obscure but I 
believe that the recent history of both is that they came from Neil Hall's garden, also in 
Seattle. The P. glycyrrhiza agg 'Grandiceps' is the most heavily crested form of any hardy 
polypod known to me (see Fig. 1(a) ). Neil and Judith are both to be congratulated for 
allowing such a fine plant to be released into wider cultivation. The other form courtesy of 
Neil and Judith is sterile P. glycyrrhiza Malahatense' (see Fig. 1 (b) ) — the sporing form of 
this variety was illustrated by Jimmy Dyce in BPS Bulletin, 2(3)1 28. This sterile form is 

Fig 1 a) Polypodium glycyrrhiza agg 

b) P. glycyrrhiza agg Malahate 

c) P. glycyrrhiza agg Bifidum' 

very fine with a texture similar to British plumose Polypods, it is however distinct from 
those that I know. I am not 100% sure that this is not a bud sport from P. glycyrrhiza agg 
'Malahatense' (fertile) or vice versa. A similar form, probably the same, is also grown at 
Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. From the above it is probably clear that the nomenclature of 
these variations needs sorting out. 

Another variety to turn up in cultivation \sP. australe 'Semilacerum Jubilee' (see Fig. 2(b)). 
This is a very old variety found by Col. ASH Lowe near Athlone in Ireland in 1 856 (see 
Our Native Ferns and British Ferns by E J Lowe). Of course there must always be an 
element of doubt when putting an old name like this to a plant still in cultivation, but a 
frond from the living plant and a pressed frond in the Cranfield herbarium at the British 
Museum (Natural History) resemble each other as closely as any two fronds do on the 
same plantl The plant we still have does fortunately have some sort of pedigree'. It came 
from Hull University Botanical Gardens about four years ago. Mrs Marston, long time 
curator of the gardens and currently proprietrix of a fern nursery nearby, remembers that 
hardy fern varieties at Hull were bought by Dr Cromwell before World War II, probably 
from Askew (who listed an Irish 'Semilacerum' in his catalogues at the turn of the 
century). Th is plant has therefore been in cultivation 50 or more years and links us back to 
Cranfield's time (died 1 948). This variety is offered in Mrs Marston's current catalogue. At 
the time of my 1981 survey 'Semilacerum Jubilee' was listed erroneously and 
anonymously as an 'Omnilacerum' — number 18. 

Footnote: All thefronds illustrated in this article were extricated with difficultyfrom under 
about 1 0cm of frozen snow. They are all however representative of the varieties although 
P. glycyrrhiza' agg 'Malahatense', sterile form, is uncharacteristically small. 


The Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art. Exeter, 
1984. 258pp., 21 5* 280mm. ISBN 0-85214-047-9. Price: c. £9.50. 
The County of Devon (which includes Lundy Island) is a clement oceanic part of Britain 
and should, with its 90 inches of rain on Dartmoor, and 70 inches on Exmoor, be good for 
ferns. It is; forty-nine species have been recorded but at least three (Diphasiastrum 
alpinum, Gymnocarpium dryopteris and PHularia globulifera) have not been seen for 
some t\me. Ophiogtossum azoricum, a plant of dune slacks and maritime cliff turf, is found 
only on Lundy, where it is locally abundant (A. Cleave.pers. comm.; spec, in BM), contrary 
to the remark in this Flora that "it has not been seen recently". Surprisingly Cystopteris is 
rare, as is Isoetes lacustris (whereas /. echinospora is abundant in reservoirs) and the 
Marsh Fern. More Asp/enium septentriona/e may well be found if searched for along the 
eastern edge of Dartmoor. 

This book, containing easily read computer-produced maps for all species which have 
been recorded in more than 10 tetrads (2 x 2km squares), often graphically illustrates 
plant distribution in relation to geology and topography. It is very reasonably priced and 
can be obtained from the publishers at 7, The Close, Exeter, EX1 1EZ. 

86 Pteridologist 1,2(1 985) 


GWLADYS TONGE. 32 Horn Street Winslow, Bucks. MK18 3AW 
However remarkable a fern collection, and however awe-inspiring the degree of expertise 
and specialization it betokens, there is a great deal of aesthetic pleasure to be gained from 
grouping bulbs and flowering plants with the ferns. A group of ferns with differing frond 
outlines, segmentation and texture is very beautiful, but the beauty can be increased and 
illuminated by the addition of flowering or fruiting plants. 

Never having possessed the courage or will-power to specialise, I find myself trying to 
i other than pteridophytes in a very limited area, 
t specialization where my enthusiasm, though it still 
persists, was insufficient to raise me to the level of connoisseur. As the garden is 
extremely small the task of providing not only the optimum environment, but also the right 
setting for so many plants is a stimulating exercise in forming good plant associations. 
Favourite among my fern complements is ivy. Although my collection is by no means 
comprehensive, containing only five of the hotly debated number of species, the hundred 
or so cultivars, mostly of Hedera helix, which I grow, combine to give a wonderful choice of 
leaf shape, variegation, size and texture. H. helix 'Manda's crested' and 'Ivalace' make 
effective evergreen edgings to paths, while H. helix 'Shamrock', 'Pointer', 'Adam', 
'Glacier', 'Goldstern' and 'Neilsonii' hang over the low retaining walls of the beds 
surrounding the pond. These beds are filled with ferns, and the resulting picture's impact 
is doubled and highlighted by a succession of flowers during spring and summer. These 
include Commelina coefistis, Dicentra eximia, D. spectabiiis 'Aurea', Orchis maculata, 
and Paradisea liliastrum and various small astilbes. Best of all is Lilium martagon, both 
pink and white forms. 

In another bed Lilium regale is well displayed among Po/ystichum setiferum 'Plumoso- 
divisilobum', Po/ypodium sp. Cornubiense' and varieties of Asplenium sco/opendrium. 
Earlier in the season Fritillaria imperialis and Helleborus orientalis companioned the 

Tricyrtis is a most useful member of the Liliaceae which blooms right through autumn 
forming fully perennial clumps of curious spotted flowers of a beauty and elegance well- 
suited to the fern bed. Tricyrtis formosana 'Stolonifera' and T. latifo/ia grow in an almost 
sunless corner of my garden, among Dryopteris fi/ix-mas Linearis', D. dilatata 'Lepidota- 
cristata' and Asplenium sco/opendrium 'Crispum'. This year I added a pure white hybrid 
Tricyrtis White towers' with velvety leaves which shows great promise. Actaeaalba with 
red-stemmed white berries completes this group. 
Sometimes an unplanned effect can be quite eye-catching as with Trapaeolum 

Hostas are an obvious choice for combining with ferns, although their greedy 
inpenetrable roots, attractiveness to slugs and spaceless autumn demise to a sodden pulp 
are drawbacks where space is at such a premium. I therefore grow most of them in pots or 
tubs so that they can be a feature of container groups while at their beautiful best, and be 

Two shady v 

In the beds in the small fernery I am trying some petiolarid primulas — P. aureata, P. 
deuteronana and P. petiolaris, as well as a few show and alpine auriculas and a couple of 
species from sub-section Erythrodrosum. The primulas having flowered in spring, will be 
shaded by the ferns (themselves shaded by a vine) in summer, and I am hoping to have 
more success with them in the beds than previously when grown in pots. 
My six by eight feet, north-facing conservatory would be a complete aesthetic disaster did 
not the adiantums, pteris and nephrolepis bring cohesion to the motly throng of mini- 
addictions — small decorative-leaved begonias, dwarf, scented and fancy-leaved 
pelargoniums, primulas, f uchias and a large portion of my ivy collection, as well as various 
climbers, and, of course, more ferns. Instead of a conglomeration of potted plants there is 
a pleasing unified group but one which needs constant reorganisation as each flowering 
member has its day. 
Perhaps, after all, it is more fun not being a specialist! 


BRITISH AND IRISH HERBARIA compiled by D H KENT and DE ALLEN, Botanical Society 
of the British Isles, 1984. Piv, 333, 120x 190 mm. Price £13. (This is a second edition of 
British Herbaria published in 1958). 

All known British and Irish herbaria are indexed in this valuable guide. Details of over 
5300 collections at over 630 institutions are given in a concise easily understood format. 
The bulk of material inevitably concerns flowering plants, but there is still much of 
interest to pteridologists. The collections of many fern specialists are listed, e.g. Edward 
Newman, John Smith, Jimmy Dyce, Z J Edwards (all at British Museum (Natural History) ); 
Thomas Moore (Kew); E J Lowe (Edinburgh); W H Standsfield (Liverpool); Frederick 
Clowes (Kendal) and many others. Sadly some big names are missing, e.g. C T Druery, J M 
Barnes and A J Macself, while at least one important collection, that of Dr Jones, has 
been lost. Systematic searching through surviving herbaria would surely reveal much 
interesting information. Indeed this book has filled me with the enthusiasm to inspect 
Lowe's and Stansfield's collections as a first priority — hopefully one day I'll get the 
opportunity! Of course non-specialist collections are also liable to be of considerable 
pteridological interest. For example I recently tracked down to Gloucester Museum a 
specimen of Po/ypodium vulgare agg Cambricum' gathered by Gustavas St Brody at 
Flaxley in Gloucestershire about 1 00 years ago. Unfortunately I have had less success in 
finding St Brody 's wild colony of this fern I 

This guide is the result of 35 years of work and the compilers are to be congratulated at 
bringing so much information together in a concise readily accessable form. 


88 Pteridologist 1, 2 (1985) 


ALISON RUTHERFORD, Moniaive, 19 South King Street, Helensburgh, 
Dunbarton G84 PU7 

Reading Martin Rickard's article Fern Variety Hunting (Pteridologist, 1, 44) I understand 
why the fern craze did not catch on in a big way in Scotland! The small areas of basic rock 
yield few varieties. Many suppose the mild West with its copious ferns made us too 
familiar to appreciate them, or that Scots seldom went in for crazes, so that ferneries 
under glass were not the 'necessity' they were in the South. However, delving into the 
neglected subject of West of Scotland 1 9th cent, villa and indoor gardening, has revealed 
conservatories, ferneries and cases, even plunderers and hawkers operating at the end of 

Hearing of English variety hunting, I recollected an Ayrshire widow's letter about her 
husband, Mr Laing going out with David Landsborough II (1826-1912), founder of the 
still-active Kilmarnock Glenfield Ramblers, and making good discoveries. Little was 
published on Scots finds, except in Flora, Fauna & Geology of the Clyde Area 1 901 . The 
editor said, 'There are several new and striking, and a considerable number of rare, 
varieties of Nephrodium dilatatum and oiAthyrium Fi/ix-foemina peculiar to it.' He went 
on, 'It is to be hoped that more attention will be devoted in future to these sections which 
have hitherto been comparatively neglected.' He thanked Laing, Landsborough and Mrs 
Combe, widow of the man credited with finding the Killarney fern in Arran 38 years 
earlier. He lists 46 varieties of Clyde area ferns. 

The story of the eradication of the Corrie Trichomanes speciosum makes black reading. 
The Brodick — Corrie coast of eastern Arran is sheltered, mild with an equable climate, 
conglomerate and sandstone rock with fissures and percolating water. Despite its 
humidity, since the late 18th century it has been considered healthy for humans. In 
Cromla garden, Corrie, Landsborough planted Eucalyptus, palms, Cordylines and 
Dicksonias unprotected and Trichomanes. Disbelief in it being native, may have arisen 
from this plant which came from a Loch Fyne-side discovery of 1863. In August of the 
same year, a Mr Simson, an Edinburgh fern-collector holidaying in Corrie, 'scouring the 
country in quest of new additions,' was told to get in touch with Robert Douglas, the 
'walking postman' who gathered ferns to sell to visitors. Simson, however, found him not 
knowledgeable, and having been misdirected and returning empty-handed, went to 
i he saw moss-wrapped packets ready for sale. Instead of the 
unfamiliar fern caught his eye. Recollecting a fern book at 
i told Douglas it might be rare, but he would require to check. Later that day he set 

f for Campbeltown, met the 

postman again, gave him the good news and urged h 

On his return Simson 's family told of great excitement. The news of the Trichomanes had 
been in the Glasgow papers, for it was new to Scotland. Douglas was angry. The Glasgow 
gentlemen' had not given him credit, not did the papers! Simson asked to be shown the 
spot and to their horror, the cave was found to be bare, perhaps rendered so by George 
Combe, always named as discoverer, and helped by Water Gait, who told Babbington of it. 
Both l.ved in Glasgow. Simson, groping on the cave's slimy floor, found a tiny rhizome 
which her planted under a bell-jar on his return home two months later, and which still 
flourished in 1886 when he read a paper to the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. 
The second find was on the west side of the island in 1 876, Robert Kidson wisely kept to 
himself the exact spot. The third was in the north, also by a holiday-maker. In August 1 877 
Miss MacBean of Paisley, walking over the moors, slipped her foot into a deep cleft. While 
lining out a Hartstongue, she spied something else, and pulled up several feet of rhizome 
wh,ch she put in her basket. By the time the Curator of Paisley Museum was given it to 
name, it was so far gone that all his attempts at revival failed. Landsborough, in a paper to 

the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, says he grew it uncovered at Cromla till 'trampled to 
pieces by workmen'. It has recently been refound in Arran, thankful to relate. 
By 1875 plundering and hawking of ferns from the Firth of Clyde was quite brisk, 
Landsborough, in his book on Arran (1875) deplored the use of ladders to reach 
inaccessible places and begged locals not to lend them. He said Arran's Royal ferns were 
once common with 12 foot (3.66m) fronds, but now were sadly diminished. Probably 
interest was initially stimulated by James Bryce's Geology of Clydesdale and Arran 
(1859). By the 4th edition (1872), he had over 4 pages on ferns with localities, and 
Landsborough had copious notes in his book of three years later. This would c 
the vastly improved steamer and rail service, the spread of Glasgow and t 
increase of suburban villas, some of whose gardens were small 
according to Sweet, just the place for fernsl Professor Balfour taking his students to Loch 
Lomond reported Osmunda regalis as common in the 1850's, but it is rare there today. 
In 1880 Alexander Fleming, a retired head gardener, published his Botanical Guide to the 
wild flowers in the West of Scot/and, about a third of which was on pure horticulture. He 
raised ferns to enormous size, winning a prize for a Welsh polypody 12 inches (38 cm) 
across, in sphagnum compost. He grew the proliferous Softshield Fern, which features in 
a family photo of John Logie 'Television' Baird in 1888, and is still seen today about 
Helensburgh. In 1889 Alexander Sweet's Villa and Cottage Gardening, Specially adapted 
for Scotland came out, with more than a hint of fern-interest. There were instructions for 
ferns in north windows, in pots in the open and in laying out of ferneries. 'Ferns', he said, 
have become a perfect craze with many people, and all too often leads its votaries to 
neglect the culture of other plants;' on Osmunda, he remarked, To buy it from street 
hawkers is to assist in its continued destruction in the remaining corners where it has its 
last retreats.' And about the Hartstongue, 'visitors at the coast and Isle of Arran think 
lightly of carrying it away in dozens, until it is scarcely to be found now, even there.' He 
had little to say on greenhouses, conservatories or Wardian cases, though he grew 
Trichomanes 'under a glass', where it did 'very well indeed'. Window cases must have 
been quite common however, as Andrew Meikle (c 1876) said, 'In the western parts of 
Scotland they have been in use for several years,' and went on to describe one he saw in 
Edinburgh about 20 years earlier. By this time, prosperous businessmen of the Second 
City' were building mansions in the country; the pollution was so bad, men's hats were 
turning green I Elegant conservatories were attached. Many of these are still in use with 
their curved roofs, domes or crenellated ridges. A superb example of glass architecture is 
the Kibble Palace. John Kibble, a remarkable inventor, designed it for his house and later 
gave it to Glasgow Corporation with enlargements. It could seat 4,000 and was used for 
meetings and concerts. Today it is in the city's Botanic Gardens. John Hix's researches 
(1 974) uncovered the Glasgow firm of Walter MacFarlane who by 1 870 were offering kit 
conservatories. By 1880 they exported to India, Egypt and South Africa; their illustrated 
mail order catalogues showed cast iron and glass used for arcades, conservatories, 
aquaria and pavilions. 

Perhaps the finest Wardian case extant, is also in Glasgow, at the People's Palace 
Museum. It has been featured in many recent articles and books to the point of over- 
exposure, since the revival of interest in Victorian indoor plants. My own, more of a 
cottage-villa in style (see Bulletin Vol 1 No 2) came from Argyll, and from information 
gleaned so far, from the area where one of Britain 's first wild gardens was made, Sir John 
and Lady Ord's Kilmory Castle, Lochgilphead, in the early 1850's. The garden has many 
ferns, bog and alpine plants (CM, 1855). I have not looked there for crested or tassled 
ferns. In Dunbartonshire only two varieties of Po/ystichum setiferum and one Dryoptens 
affinis 'The King' and four of Lady fern have been recorded! 

The Helensburgh Directories between 1 876 and the Great War, reveal a tiny burst of local 
fern-fever. In 1 899- 1 900, James Lindsay Glazier and Glass Merchant', besides offering 

90 Pteridologist 1,2(1 985) 

window cleaning and painting, sold 'Glass and fern shades', and had 'Globes and Co. in 
stock'. By 1901-2 his premises, now an accountant's office, had become a 'Depot for 
Glass Shades (round, oval or square) of Every Description', and 'propagating glasses and 
frames, fern shades, stands and cases'. Window work was abandoned. By 1 903-4 he had 
a telephone, and was still trading in 1906. By 1912-13 he offered only the shades of 
every description', and wreaths and crosses (he had begun with funeral flowers). The 
fern venture must have begun to fail, for by 1915-16, he had moved. He advertised, 
'windows cleaned, painted and repaired', and the same for greenhouses. After this no 
more is heard of him. None of the other nurserymen or florists offered cases, domes or 
even ferns. Though Helensburgh considered itself fashionable and second only to 
Glasgow, it seems to have been rather 'slow', and by the end of the Great War, ferns and 
much else would have sunk into obscurity. 

I have not had time to visit the Local Room of the Mitchell Ubrary in Glasgow nor trie local 
collection in Paisley, a strongly horticultural place since the 18th century. Only by 
searching through town Directories will the extent of fern cultivation in the area be 
known. Few gardening magazines for the Scots lasted any time. Ferns may have softened 
the palms and aspidistras or thrived in the shade of spotted laurels and conifers or 
survived the Robinsonesque gardening on larger estates at the end of the period — it is at 
present an unexplored avenue. 

BRYCE, J. 1859. Geology of Clydesdale and Arran. 

BRYCE, J. 1872. The Geology of Arran and other Clyde Islands. 

COX, E.H.M. 1935. A History of Gardening in Scotland. 

FLEETWOOD-HESKETH, P. The Victorian Interior, Discovering Antiques Pt 68, p 1609-1612 

FLEMING, J. 1880. Botanical Guide to the wild flowers of the West of Scot/and. 

GALT, W. 1865. On the Discovery of Trichomanes radicans in Arran, Journ. Bot. Ill, p 104. 

HIX, J. 1974. The Glass House, p 107-9, 129-131. 

LANDSBOROUGH, D. 1875. Arran its topography, natural history, and antiquities 

LANDSBOROUGH, D. 1887. Additional Note on the Occurrence of Trichomanes radicans in 

Scotland. Trans. Bot. Soc. Edin. XVII. p 39. 

CM. 1855. Alpine plants and ferns at Kilmory Castle, The Scottish Gardener, IV, p 14-15. 

wolkirf' das C S 18 1 1' W ' nd0W 9 ardenin 9 for town and country, compiled chiefly for the use of the 

SIMSON, W.B. 1 1 886. Notes on the Finding of Trichomanes radicans in Arran, in August 1 863, Trans. 
Bot. Soc. Edm. XVII, p 35-8. 

V^a^ 19 ° 3 N ° teS ' Trichomanesradicans ™ Arran, Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Glas. New Series, 
/rXfJ' A 1 ll 8 ?rq /7 £ and C ° tta9e Gardenin 9. specially adapted for Scotland, north England and 


MARYGIBBY, Dept of Botany, British Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Road, 
London SW7 5BD 

The Welsh Polypody, Polypodium australe 'Cambricum' was first recorded by Ray (1 690) 
on a rock in a wood near Dennys Powis Castle'. Since that time it has become widespread 
in cultivation, and, although it has been recorded from other localities in Wales, Martin 
Rickard has suggested that most of these records are of garden origin. Shivas (1961) 
reported that 'Cambricum' is a diploid (2n = 74), although she did not have access to 
material from the type locality as it was believed to have become exinct there. However a 
small population was recently discovered on a cliff face near Dinas Powis (see Harrison, 
1 980), and I was able to obtain a small offset for cytological examination. This material is 
diploid with approximately 74 chromosomes in root tip mitosis. Martin Rickard has 
supplied me with two other morphologicaly distinct plumose Polypodium varieties, 
'Barrowi' and 'Hadwinii', and for these I have also obtained diploid counts in root tip 
mitosis, thus confirming that they are varieties of P. australe. 

HARRISON, S.G. 1980. Welsh Polypodium resurrected. British Pteridological Society Bulletin, 2(2) 

RAY, J. 1690. Synopsis stii 
SHIVAS, M. 1 961 . Contributions to the cytology and taxonomy of species of Polypodium i 
Soc. (Bot), 58: 27-38. 


M L CASTELLAN, The Lane Cottage, Wootton, Ellastone, Nr Ashbourne, 



The first plant of Ceterach officinarum I ever found was behind a leaking drainpipe high on 

the outside wall of a 'Gents' near the ferry across Milford Haven in Pembroke Dock — it 

was quite a thrill — I had been on the lookout for it for years. A few days later I found 

another, this time beautiful, colony along a wall by the sea at Dale. Over the years there 

followed other good colonies, e.g. in a car park at Brecon and later during the Society's 

meetings on various churchyard walls etc. — anywhere but in Staffordshire! 

The Flora of Staffordshire by Edees (1972) gives records from 1844 to 1955 and more 

recently there has been a small colony on a rock at Wetton Mill in the Manifold Valley. Th.s 

Weaver Hills (summit 1217 feet), with a skirt of triassic sandstone and marl dropping 
down to the Dove Valley. Wootton hamlet, built on and off the sandstone, is on the spring 
line at about 650 feet. 

Not so long after moving here, Win Baines and Margaret Kingston went for a walk up 
Weaver (while I cooked a meal) and they arrived back to say they had found Ceterach in an 
old limestone gravel quarry at 900 feet (GR SK 101459). Later we found a much larger 
colony in a nearby small limestone quarry - Raddle Pits at 950 feet (GR SK 108461). 
It can be interesting at times to speculate on where isolated colonies of plants come from. 
Across the River Dove four miles into Derbyshire to the south-east are Snelston old 
copper mines (disused) and Birchwood Park Stone Quarry (GR SK 154413) with a fairly 
recent record for Ceterach. Living in the area we think it possible that the spores could 

ugh for germinal 
; rather high altitude of the colonies. Weaver Hill rising b< 
shelter from cold winds — and for us an uninterrupted v 


FERNS OF JAMAICA by George R. Proctor. British Museum (Natural History). 1985. Pviii, 

135 figs., 175 * 253mm. Price £50. 

This substantial volume is the first fern flora of Jamaica since the same author's 

1953. The present work is however, in a different 

this fern-rich island. 

With almost all the book, 585 pages, given over to the systematic section, few 
introductory details are given. This is in part because no historical account of Jamaican 
botany has yet been prepared, but other details, like a decent map of the island, can 
apparently be easily found elsewhere, e.g. in the 1953 checklist. Certainly I found the 
pull-out geological map published in the 1953 edition most useful, and I regret its 
exclusion from this otherwise far superior work. 579 species and 30 clearly defined 

species restricted to tropical Central America, with 82 being endemic to Jamaica. Only 5 
species are of cosmopolitan distribution, including some familiar European species, e.g. 
Cystopteris fragilis, Lycopodium cfavatum, Adiantum capi/lus-veneris and 
Hymenophyllum tunbrigense - although I wonder if some of these are really the same 

It is perhaps difficult for the European pteridologist to grasp that 609 fern taxa (excluding 
hybrids) grow on this island only 148 miles long. The richness of the flora is phenomenal, 
i the Hymenophyllaceae 49 species have been recorded. (While I prefer to 
l nomenclature to professional botanists, I must say lam pleased to see 
:ies are placed either in Hymenophyllum or Trichomanes - although 
so grouped into less familiar subgenera). 
i the book eachtaxon is described to a standard format, this includes a full 
.details of distribution (in and outside Jamaica), together with an outline of the 
abitat. Black and white illustrations are given of species representative of each 
genera. These illustrations are of a high quality, being a mixture of reproductions of 1 9th 
or early 20th century prints, and specially commissioned modern drawings. Distribution 
maps are given for a few species, and there is a list of all known fern collectors, together 
with a glossary and bibliography. 

io me the initial impact of this book was very favourable and lo 

does nothing to change this view. This is a book of rare quality. The author is to be 

congratulated on covering such a large subject so thoroughly and so clearly. 


Pteridologist 1, 2(1985) 93 


RICHARD RUSH, 17 Toronto Road, llford. Essex 

Even before my Guide to Hardy Ferns appeared I knew of, and sometimes had plants of, 
various unlisted species which deserved inclusion but which, for practical reasons, 
couldn't be added : I couldn't go on endlessly adding to or revising my selection of species. 
Although I have no immediate plans to work on a second edition, or sequel, I have a 
cardboard box serving as a data storage and retrieval system into which I've been placing 
useful letters and so on. Now that the Guide is in print, I'm hopeful that I'll receive more 
s (as I've implied I've already had a few letters of the hoped-for kind, supplying 

I hope you'll tell me of species which I should consider adding (please supply as mucn 
information as you can); of errors in the Guide; of the horticultural 
requirements/preferences of species/genera which are or should be included in the 
Guide, including 'negative' information such as that a species/genus is difficult to raise 
and/or grow; of synonyms which I should add as cross-references because a fern grower 
could encounter them in modern literature or in important broadly popular older works; of 
any further cultivated varieties of non-British hardy to semi-hardy species; of scientific 
papers or articles in horticultural journals (especially non-British) which you think could 
e _ and so on. The Guide was largely built out of small pieces joined 

together, but, unlike a jigsaw, if there are important aetaus missing, wtm <»u«ml ...° y 
not be obvious unless they are pointed out. E.g . if I failed to say that a species is confined to 
acid soils, it's likely that I didn't know — and I'd be obliged if you pointed this out. 
If there should be a second edition of the Guide I'd like to absorb into it the information in 
Raising Pteridophytes from Spores: the Special Cases' which I compiled for the 1984 
Pteridologist: what have you to add to that? 

Finally I ought to confess now that I've had a protracted bout of epistolarian lethargy, and 
prompt replies to your notes aren't promised. 


FERNS TO KNOW AND GROW by F. Gordon Foster, Timber Press. Portland. Oregon. 

1984. 228pp. 28 black and white photographs, numerous line drawings. 8 y h" * 11 . 


Mr. Gordon Foster's The Gardener's Fern Book, published in 1 964, at $7.95 (62 shillings 

in U.K.), was described as admirable by Reginald Kaye in his review in Brit. Fern Gaz^: 9(6) 

1 965. A revised and enlarged edition was published in 1 971 , as Ferns to Know and Grow 

It had 32 more pages and J.A. Crabbe reviewed it favourably. The book nc 

is described as a new and enlarged edition, and is in a larger format. The p 

on a grander scale. 

The first 62 pages give a general introduction to ferns and to 

and indoors. The author, probably unconsciously, seems to be writin 

readers in the Northeastern USA who have large suburban gardens 

spacious rural retreats. Nothing is'said on greenhouse cultivation. 

v under review 

94 Pteridologist\, 2(1985) 

The photographs are grey and lack contrast and sharpness. 1 30 pages are devoted to 1 32 
taxa, mainly species, generally allotted a page apiece, with drawings and descriptions and 
cultivation notes. Since many entries don't fill their pages, even with a somewhat 
stretched-out layout, there is no obvious reason why, in many cases, distribution outside 
' turn omits both Asian 

The drawings, by the author, are generally serviceable, a 
heavy-handed. The accompanying silhouettes of fronds, which look as though 
mechanically produced, are useful. It isn't easy to understand why, with only 1 32 main 
entries, and since the book wouldn't be of much value as a field guide, ferns are included 
which are inconspicuous and/or are, in the author's own judgement, difficult or almost 
impossible to grow or otherwise unsuitable for cultivation: about 28 could be so classed. 
Why give a page to the unspectactular, probably tender, dwarf Asplenium pumilum, 
which is "not recommended for horticultural use", when leaving out (e.g.)A ceterach, A. 
flabelhfolium, A. aethiopicum? Why give a page to Acrostichum aureum and A. 
danaeifolium if "because of their coarse and unattractive leaves and excessive size, these 
species are not recommended for horticultural application", and pages to rampant weedy 
ferns like Bracken and Marsh fern, when, meanwhile, you mention very few Adiantum 
spp., no Doodia spp., only two Blechnum spp., and so on? Why ten pages dealing, in no 
great detail (and much blank paper), with Botrychium and Ophioglossum —just ten of 
them —when only three Cheilanthes spp. are included? Coverage of hardy fern varieties 
is minimal (and odd: the two Hart's-tongue variants mentioned won't be easily obtained) 
but presumably this isn't from disdain, for while Polystichum setiferum and its variants 
aren't mentioned at all there are two pages on Nephrolepis exaltata cultivars. Coverage of 
non-American hardy ferns is poor, as is, bearing in mind the enviably wide range 
obtainable from American nurseries, coverage of semi-tender to tender ferns. 
The Japanese Painted Fern is named as Athyrium niponicum when var. pictum of that 
species is meant. Dryopteris fUix-mas cv. 'Cristata' (sic) \snot "known as the King of the 
Male Ferns" and what does the author mean in saying that it "strongly resembles our 
e Dryopteris filix-mas?" It would, wouldn't it?, in that it's the same species; 
does it, inasmuch as it's a well-marked variant? There aren't many 

should know. E.g. in the entries for Phyllitis scolopendriu 
Dryopteris filix-mas — both rare in N. America — it isn't rr 
raise and grow European plants are. 

here is no bibliography, which may be significant. Disappointingly this new edition 
oesn't seem to have been much nourished by, or to notice, other works. It's respectable 
nough, and it's another one for the shelves of fern book collectors, but it doesn't have 
nything in it which other fern books don't do better. 


A very comprehensive collection is stocked by 


Harvey Road, Evesham, Worcestershire 

Hardy and tender ferns 
Begonias, Gloxinic 

Catalogue on request 


Specialist Fern Grower 
A wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially i 
Culag, Green Lane. Nafferton. Nr. Driffield, East > 
Send 45p for catalogue 


Theobalds Park Road, Crews Hill, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 9BG 

Tel: 01-363 4278 

lardy ferns, unusual hardy herbaceous plants, shade and moisture loving perennial 
Send two ten-pence stamps for list 


Stone Harmony, Maperton, Wincanton. Somerset BA9 8EJ 


Container grown. Includes Rodgersias, Hostas and Euphorbias 


Send 1 7p stamp for catalogue 


Specialising in North American and English hardy ferns 

Send two International Reply Coupons for Catalogue 

Judith J. Jones, 

1911 4th Avenue West, Washington, 98119, USA 


Offer African indigenous ferns by mail order. 

Pricelists available. 

Overseas orders welcome. 

D Turner, Box 815, George 6530, South Africa 

The British Pteridological Society 


Contents ■ 


Tributes to Jimmy Dyce: 

A tribute from Down Under — Ray Best 

A Legacy of Pteridomania — Judith Jones 

Treasury of Ferns — Joan Loraine 

No Alpine Gardener — Richard Cartwright 

The Friendly Society — Philip Coke 

Whisky and Ferns — Fred Jackson 
The Distribution of Equisetum x dycei - C N Page 
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum' on Mendip — Mary Potts 
On Experimenting with Varieties — Philip Coke 
Athyrium filix-femina 'Crispum grandiceps Kaye' — Reginald Kaye 
Further comments on 19th Century Fern Books —RE Holttum 
Equisetum x font-queri in Shropshire — C N Page and A R Busby 
Ferns in Europe: Advances since 1965 —AC Jermy 
New Fern Varieties Wild and Cultivated — J W Dyce 
Pteris cretica 'in the Wild' — Pauline Basset 

A new Variety of Microsorium punctatum (L.) Copel — Ralph H Hughes 
New and Rediscovered Polypodium Varieties — Wild and Cultivated — Martin Rickar 
Ferns and Company — Gwladys Tonge 

The Fern Craze in the Second City and Environs —Alison Rutherford 
Chromosome Numbers in Varieties of Polypodium — Mary Gibby 
Ceterach officinarum in Staffordshire —MM Castellan, W Baines and M Kingston 
Hardy Ferns Feedback — Richard Rush 

Selaginella: the Persistant Pteridophyte — B A Thomas 
Another Diagnostic Character in Polypodium — Martin Rickard 
Spores to Ferns in one Year — Ron King 
Dryopteris thymifolia = Lady Fern — Jim Crabbe 


Flora of Jersey 
Atlas of the Devon Flora 
British and Irish Herbaria 
Ferns of Jamaica 

Volume 1 Part 3 


r E 




JUL 21 

gg Pteridologist 1, 3 (1986) 


JUDITH JONES. 1911 Fourth Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119, USA 
Over the years of knowing and growing Adiantum pedatum var. pedatum, var. aleuticum, 
and subsp. subpumilum, I have become the sceptical owner of innumerable named forms. 
These assorted Maidenhairs reflect all the nuances of what might be considered to be 
within the normal range of variation. I 

discovery from the rooftops. Introducing a surprised Jimmy Dyce to 'Dyce's Dwarf' on his 
1 980 trip to Seattle certainly increased my scepticism! The mystery surrounding another 
form once offered by a renowned local horticulturist was solved by a trip to retrieve our 
children from a summer visit. As we neared our destination in northern California we 
passed by open hillsides with stands of A. pedatum. Eureka! (not to be confused with the 
town of Eureka in California) here was the origin of A. pedatum 'Patrick Creek'! I still don't 
know if the original selection represented the population in general or one specimen in 
particular. The horticulturist who sold this form is a recluse in another country and I have 
not had an opportunity to question him about thisselection, and several others, offered in 
his catalogue of many years ago. 

The key to determining the validity or desirability of assigning a varietal name to any 
species depends a great deal on whether the change represents a whole population or 
one specimen in particular, and how that named form is propagated for distribution. In the 
majority of cases it appears that new variations occur as single specimens departing from 
the norm. The selection of successive generations can yield truly impressive results. Then 
t from spore. The rule of 

the wild. If you are fortunate enough 1 

populations, and the facilities to grow thousands of sporlings on to maturity then you are 

in a good position to educate your eye to spot any departure from the normal range of 

:ies in all its recognised native populations, especially 
r. aleuticum, var. calderii, and subsp. subpumilum. 
controlled cold greenhouse cultivation some 
i enhanced. When 
sible A pedatum variations I like to remember Jesse Shaver's description: 
"The ultimate pinnules are very variable in shape. Those near the base of the 
pinnae may vary from flabellate to deltoid or reniform, those near the middle 
are mostly oblong or slightly triangular, and the terminal leaflets are 
Although there is considerable variation in 

turn cultivated selections. Richard Rush provides us with a very good 
king a long look at some accepted named forms. It is interesting that, 
among the many named forms we acknowledge, these variations have to do with changes 

great pride 

i lengthy research through every f 

corded example of a radical skeletal change for A. pedatum. It i 
my partner. Torben Barfod, and 
tedatum with crested apices on the p 

tentatively dubbed our strain A. peda 
Barfod's Nursery propagates from six to ten thousand A. pedatum sporlings a year and in 
the process of potting on this past fall two crested Maidenhairs were discovered. After 
some friendly teasing about not letting me see these "unusual Maidenhairs" (just 
t for my pooh-poohing Torben's facetious selection of a Polystichum setiferum 

3 Prince) I was escorted over to them. Torben < 
are very different but he didn't fully realize how special they were until I 
began hopping all over the greenhouse in wild ectasy. All the frenzied exhilaration was 
not expended on just a mere two specimens for, as we studied the many flats (trays — Ed.) 
of sporlings, we kept discovering more crested plants. At the end of an hour we had, 
gathered together, between thirty and forty plants. As in any strain, some of the plants 
appeared superior to others. Part of this variability is due to the expected range of 
variation in a strain and to the various stages of maturity of the selected plants. An A. 
pedatum culture can be harvested over a one to three year period as the rate of 
development is extremely uneven. 

Since we gather spore from the wild, the garden and the greenhouse, it is impossible to 
determine the exact percentage of this exciting development. We don't grow any of the 
tropical Adiantum varieties although we have had a couple of flats of A. pedatum from a 
tropical fern grower. However, this grower did not grow any of the possible Adiantum 
cultivars which might have influenced this cresting. We are anxiously awaiting the 
outcome of winter todetermine the remote possibility of an Adiantum cross. A few spores 
were harvested and sown this winter and only time and observation will finally determine 

Upon receiving my excited letter and pressed fronds, Jimmy Dyce brought up the crucial 
question of whether to introduce A. pedatum Tassellatum' as a strain or as a single 
selection of the best plant. Jimmy's admonition was to "remember Druery's possible 
error in allowing all his Po/ystichum setiferum 'Plumosum Bevis' progeny, good, bad and 
indifferent, to be recognised as 'Drueryi' ". For the present, we will proceed with caution, 
and in time we hope to see A. pedatum Tassellatum' in i 

I Guide to Hard, 

9 plant in England in the 1960s and 

Fe)ns p 12 harden Catalogue of 1976-77). See Rush, Richard, Guide ft 

omSu E 5' fol! 54 Ferns of the Eastern Centraf States, I 
KUbH, R. 1 984. A Guide to t' ' ' 

DYCE. JVV 1985 Personal c 

pits. At Crowle, i 


Fern Finds in Lincolnshire 

It is always a pleasure when old records for rare ferns are ref ound or new records turn up. 

Marsh Fern, Thelypteris palustris, was probably common in Lincolnshire before the fens 
years it has only been found at two sites, both railway ballast 
een in 1 981 and it apparently disappeared at Sleaford when a 

At Sleaford t 

i second shallow marshy pool, 

found there, the only currently known site in the county. It is a remarkable spot, right by 
the railway. The flora includes Equisetum f/uviatile, Juncus subnodulosus, Typha 
angustrfoha and Dactylorhiza fuchsii, and also there are grass snakes. 

Weston, the County Recorder, tells me of another new fern rarity. Pilularia 
nd pits at Messingham, a county Nature Reserve (Vice 
\ found at a pond on the edge of Lincoln; this is a new 


globulifera is abundant i 
county 54). It has now alsc 
record for Vice county 53. 

Pteridologist 1.3(1 986) " 


ANTHONY PIGOTT, 43 Molewood Road, Hertford, Herts. SG14 3AQ 
During the BPS field meeting in Argyll, August 1 985, there was much discussion about 
the various forms of the Dryopteris affinis complex and their corresponding genetic 
composition. Much of this discussion was in terms of genomes and the 'algebraic' 

behind genome analysis to those unfamiliar with i 

different genome combinations in the Dryopteris I 

Dryopteris affinis/ caucasica/oreades group; i.e. the i 

exist by means of known mechanisms. Some of the combinations have previously been 

identified with known taxa as the result of conclusive or provisional experimental work. 

No attempt is made here to draw any further conclusions, but only to highlight the 

All living organisms have at least one set of chromosomes which contain all their 
necessary genetic information. Each complete set of chromosomes is known as a genome. 
The basic arrangement in pteridophytes is for the cells of the sporophyte (or adult' plant) 
to have two complete sets of chromosomes, i.e. two genomes. Such a plant is known as a 
diploid, and its genomes can be represented by the shorthand code XX'. 
Genome analysis is the name given to the investigation of the genomes of species and 
hybrids, particularly comparative work. (The term species' is used in this article to mean 
an evolutionary species, i.e. a biological species or its apomictic counterpart: a population 
with a common and distinct genome composition). This is of great use in taxonomy and (at 
least micro-) evolutionary studies. Most genome analysis is based on the investigation of 
chromosome pairi ng behaviour, so it is necessary to brief ly review the relevant processes 
applicable to this group. For an extensive and authoritative account see Lovis (1978). 
Normally cell division is by a process known as mitosis, during which the chromosomes 
are duplicated, and two cells result, each with two sets identical to the two sets of the 
original cell. During spore development in the young sporangium, 1 6 spore mother cells' 
are formed by mitosis. In each of these cells a different type of cell division, known as 
meiosis, subsequently takes place. In the first stage of meiosis, the two sets of 
chromosomes form pairs, each chromosome pairing with its opposite number from the 
other set. The chromosomes then separate, one chromosome from each pair moving to 
opposite ends of the cell, resulting in two complete sets of chromosomes divided 
randomly from the original two sets. These chromosomes subsequently duplicate and 
divide, giving four cells each with one complete set of chromosomes. The cells, 64 in each 
sporangia, develop into spores, then into the gametophyte (or prothallus) and eventually 
into sperm (atozoids) and egg cells. Such cells, with a single set of chromosomes, are 
known as haploid, and their single genome can be represented by X'. After fertilisation of 

i sperm cell, the resulting embryo has c 

f chromosomes from e 

. The embryo develops into the sporophyte 
j represented by 'XX' and the cycle repeats itself. This sexual life-cycle is 
shown schematically in Figure 1. 

A species with the sexual cycle as described above may have in the sporophyte not two 
sets of chromosomes but some higher multiple. Such sporophytes are known not as 
diploid but as tetraploid, hexaploid, octaploid and so on according to their number of 
genomes. Species with a number of genomes greater than the two of the basic diploid 
are known collectively as polyploids. Polyploid species may form from another species of 
lower ploidy level by a single defective occurrence of mitosis or meiosis in which the 
chromosomes are duplicated without the accompanying cell division. This may occur in 


— Sexual Life-Cycle Schematic 

I cycle, resulting in spores, and henci 
1 chromosome number. The multiple genomes may behave as a diploid with 
normal chromosome pairing, and so allow a regular sexual cycle, which produces viable 
spores and allows fertility. When a polyploid species has been formed directly by the 
doubling of genomes in another species, it is known as an autopolyploid, and can be 
represented by XXXX', 'XXXXXX' etc. Autopolyploids can be fertile through diploid-type 
meiosis but multivalent formation (the joining of like chromosomes in groups of more 
than two) may prevent normal pairing < 

If the sperm from one species fertilises the egj 
formed. This can happen quite frequently in the c 
those in the Dryopteris fi/ix-mas group. I 
and 'YY', then the genomes of the hybrid are 'XY'. If the two parent species are sufficiently 
closely related, then the hybrid sporophyte may be fully viable. However, because of the 
presence of two different genomes, meiosis is likely to be defective due to failure of the 
chromosomes to pair and separate into balanced sets. Abortive spores will be formed and 
thus the hybrid will be sterile. 

It is possible, on rare occasions, for a hybrid formed by the method just described to 
become fertile. A single occurrence of mitosis or meiosis failure doubles the 
chromosome number with the genomes 'XY' becoming 'XXYY'. Subsequently, the plant 
and its progeny continue normally, with the double genomes behaving as a single pair 
during meiosis, as described earlier. By this process of chance chromosome doubling, a 
hybrid may give rise to a fully fertile new species. Such a species, with multiple genomes 
from more than one parent species, is known as an allopolyploid. A hybrid between two 
sexual species, where one of them is a polyploid, can result in uneven numbers of 
genomes. For example, if the parent species are represented by the diploid WW' andthe 
tetraploid XXYY', then the resulting hybrid is a triploid 'WXY'. 

Some apomictic (non-sexually reproducing) species such as the D. affinis complex, have 
a somewhat different life-cycle. The last stage of mitosis before meiosis, which in the 
sexual case described earlier gives rise to the 16 spore mother cells, is defective and 
results in 8 spore mother cells each of which has four sets of chromosomes. The 8 cells 
subsequently divide by regular meiosis, with the doubled genomes allowing a diploid- 
type division as in the case of an allopolyploid, to give 32 diploid spores in each 
sporangium. Each spore develops in the usual way into a gametophyte which in this 
situation has the same number of chromosomes as the sporophyte from which it was 
formed. Therefore, if the sporophyte is diploid with its genomes represented by XX', then 
so is the gametophyte which is derived from it. The gametophyte which develops 
produces viable sperm cells but no egg cells, and so is incapable of forming an embryo 
from fertilization. The gametophyte produces a sporophyte directly from a vegetative bud. 
This sporophyte is diploid, develops into a mature plant and the apomictic cycle starts 

Pteridologist 1.3(1986) 

again. This apomictic life-cycle is shown schematically in Figure 2. Although most 
a develop with 8 spore mother cells, a small proportion may follow the sam< 
t a sexual species and have 1 6 spore mother cells. If there is an unbalanced ge 
ibination, as in the D. affin/s complex, then meiosis is likely to be irregular as 
3 of a hybrid, and abortive spores will result. However, the pairing behaviour in tl 
great interest for genome analysis. 



: Life-Cycle Schematic 

< hybrid formed b 

n apomictic species of tl 
d combination of genomes. For example, if the 
parent sexual species is a diploid represented by 'XX' and the parent apomictic species is 
a diploid ZZ', then the resulting hybrid will be a triploid XZZ'. The apomictic parent has 
made a double' contribution because of its unreduced chromosome number in the sperm 
cell. It is a characteristic of apomictic species of the Dryopteris affin/s type that the 
apomictic behaviour is inherited by their hybrids with sexual species. The degree of 
inheritance may vary, probably being dependant upon the overall proportion of D. affin/s 
in its genomes, and may be manifested in the relative numbers of '8-cell' as opposed to 
'16-ceir sporangia. 

3 combinations (and thus new hybrids and species) 

The mechanism by which r 

-ised by: 

ii) Sexual hybridisation 

iii) Apomictic-sexual hybridisatic 

YY + ZZ -^ YZZ ('ZZ' apomictic). 
the search for the parent diploid i 

A typical example of genome anal\ 
tetraploid species which is believed to be of allopolyploid origin. In a programme of 
hybridisation, the tetraploid will be crossed with a number of candidate parent species, 
along with one or more species which are known to be not closely related. If the tetraploid 
is represented by XXYY', then the resultant hybrids with the two parent species XX' and 
YY' will be XXY' and XYY' respectively. In each case, the examination of chromosome 
pairing in the hybrids should reveal equal numbers of pairs of chromosomes and unpaired 
chromosomes at meiosis, corresponding to their genomic composition. On the other 
hand, the hybrid formed with an unrelated species WW' will be given by WXY', and 
should showa complete lack of pairing at meiosis. By this meansthe parent species (if still 
extant) can be identified. In practice it may not be quite so simple because of other 
possible reasons for the observed pairing behaviour, but these can generally be 
eliminated by appropriate studies. The basic process of genome analysis by means of 
experimental hybridisation was developed by Manton (1950) and has been extensively 
used in fern studies; an example concerning the D. carthusiana group is provided by Gibby 
& Walker (1977). 

Genome combinations can be identified with known taxa in the Dryopteris filix-mas 
group. Of the basic diploid species, D. oreades and D. caucasica are known to be normal 
sexual diploids (Manton 1 950, Fraser- Jenkins 1 976) and may be represented by 'OO'and 
CC respectively. The third diploid, D. affinis subsp. affinis is an apomict and almost 
certainly has two dissimilar genomes, probably one from D. oreades and one from an 
unknown 'affinis ancestor', possibly closely related to D. wallichiana (Fraser-Jenkins 
1980), which may be represented by 'OA'. The 'affinis ancestor' presumably must have 
been itself a sexual diploid, otherwise the result of the original hybridisation would have 
been triploid rather than diploid. The apomixis of D. affinis subsp. affinis, which must have 
arisen in an original hybrid by some as yet unknown means, allows fertility where there 
would otherwise have been sterility. The triploid D. affinis subsp. stilluppensis is known to 
have one dissimilar and two similar genomes and these are believed to be two from D. 
oreades and one from the 'affinis ancestor', giving 'OOA'. The other triploid, D. affinis 

each from D. oreades. D. caucasica and the 'affinis ancestor', giving 'OAC. The two 
triploids are believed to have resulted from the hybridisation of the diploid D. affinis subsp. 
affinis with D. oreades and D. caucasica (Corley 1967, Fraser-Jenkins 1980). The most 
common species of the group, D. filix-mas, is known to be an allopolyploid, with two 
genomes each from D. oreades and D. caucasica (Fraser-Jenkins 1976), and can be 
represented by 'OOCC. It is believed to have been formed by chromosome doubling in D. x 
initialis, which is the hybrid between D. oreades and D. caucasica (Fraser-Jenkins 1 976). 
It should be said that the attribution of genome combinations described above is not 
absolutely certain and depends in the case of the D. affinis complex upon largely 
circumstantial evidence from comparative morphology and phytochemistry. However, it 
is difficult to find any other explanation which fits all the known evidence so well. 
Genome combinations in the Dryopteris filix-mas group which can be formed by methods 
described earlier are listed in Figure 3. The three basic diploids are given at the top, 
followed by the 'second generation' combinations described in the preceding paragraph. 
These are followed by two further generations' of combinations, some of which can be 
identified with known taxa. Three possible but undetected autopolyploids from the basic 
diploids are shown. The three hybrids, one tetraploid and two pentaploid, ('D. tave/if) 
between the D. affinis subspecies' and D. filix-mas can be seen. Similarly there are three 
combinations which would result from the hybridisation of D. affinis with D. oreades. The 
first represents the re-formation of the triploid D. affinis subsp. stilluppensis, another has 
the same combination as the tetraploid 'D. x tave/ii'and the third is a new tetraploid as yet 
unrecognised. The equivalent hybridisation with D. caucasica would give the re- 
formation of D. affinis subsp. borreri. the 'D. x tavelii' tetraploid again and another new 
tetraploid. Further combinations show the pentaploids, hexaploids and heptaploids which 
would result from 'back-crosses', and the hexaploids which would be derived from 
i the D. affinis triploids and the two D. filix-mas sexual hybrids: D. 
ias been assumed here that the apomictic 

The genome combinations listed in Figure 3 are shown graphically in Figure 4. The 
triangular graph shows the overall proportions of the three basic genomes: 'O', 'A' and C 
in each of the combinations. 3 The scales along the sides of the 
percentage composition. This diagram has the property that the 
! positions at which the combinations are plotted are directly 

en ot me tnree basic genomes a 

co-ordinate system (o0%, aA%, cC%), then the diagram in Figure 4 
+ c = 100% (within the boundaries o>= 0, a>= 0, c>= 0). 

Pteridologist 1, 3 ( 



OOA <- 00 


OAC <- CC 



0C <- cc 




= * 









OOAC <- 











OOC t 












































































Repeated combinatior 


Single genome contribution in hyl 

proportional t 

Figure 3 — Possible Genome C 

j total percentage c 

il percentage genomic 


s another pair of combinations, then tne nrsi p<m n« 
; difference that the second pair has. Thus the distance 
, graph gives an indication of how different the 
plants would appear. Although this relationship 
in the absence of any b 
> make. There are son 
diagram. For example, a hybrid is 
parents; D. x mantoniae V. 
result which is reflected if 

results that become apparent from the 
jral, genomically equidistant from its 
apt to D filix-mas than to D. oreades, a 

Pteridologist 1 , 3 (1986 > 

o the basic diploid species. The addition of higher polyploids ir 
genome combination within a tightly defined area on the graph. The restricted area is due 
to the fact that the A' genome does not participate in sexual hybridisation but only 
contributes a single genome in any combination through its apomictic processes. 
It might appear that discussion of possible new genome combinations is very hypothetical 
and therefore not to be taken too seriously. However, like other sciences, pteridology 
should proceed in a cyclic manner, with field and experimental observations being 
i theory, which in turn makes further predictions to be tested by field and 
experimental observations. Are those new combinations out there, somewhere? 

Clive Jermyfort 

agg i 

!■ WALKER, S. 1977. Further c 

FRASER-JENKINS, C.R. 1980. Dryopteris affinis: a new treatment for « 
l WHIdenowia 10: 107-1 15. 

r cytogenetic studies and a reapprai 

iplex. Fern. Gaz. 11: 315-324. 

LOVIS,J.D 19 -in Pre 

H w (Ed ) Advances in botanical research 4: 229-415. 
MANTON, I. 1950. Problems of cytology and evolution in the Pteridophyta - Cambridge. 


R. &R. COUGHUN, 17 Alvechurch. Highway, Lydiate Ash, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire 
B60 1NZ 

The Lickey range of hills is no place for the fern enthusiast; you could walk the whole area 
and find only the odd plant and of course plenty of bracken. It is surprising that ferns are so 
scarce, because the Lickey Hills are one of the greatest water sheds in Britain, also the soil 
is light and loamy and contains Bunter pebble. 

We live on the southern side of the range, and our soil is much the same, but, surprisingly, 
we are able to grow most of the species and varieties of ferns with a modicum of success. 
We have always been very keen gardeners, our main interests being alpines and 
rhododendrons and had always included the growing of smaller ferns, the spleenworts 
and polypodies etc; in the rock garden. So when Reginald Kaye published his Hardy Ferns 
in 1968 we were intrigued. We wanted to grow and enjoy some of the larger and more 
exotic varieties which he had written about, and to try and incorporate them into our 
shade area under the rhododendrons instead of the usual ground cover of v.ncas and 
ivies. At the end of his book there is a paragraph about the BPS and the last part suggests 
that anyone requiring more information about ferns should write to the Secretary (Jimmy 


This we did and received a warm letter in response and an invitation to attend a field 

meeting at Bromyard a month later; the warmth and friendliness we received at tnat 

meeting was very encouraging and it still remains throughout the soc.ety. 

Now, like all the specialised sections of gardening, comes the question of where to be able 

to purchase or obtain some of these beautiful and rare plants. Our first visit was to 

Reginald Kaye's nursery at Silverdale where we were able to start K 0U 7 iti ^ l ^ t '° B n p ° s f 

cultivars. The next trip on our list was to Southport, our prime objective being the BPS 

Stand and the fern section in the show itself, i 

the question arose, where to obtain 

whispering campaign between the 

which were later fulfilled. 

Now with our appetites well and truly whetted we were still searching for the more 

deTgh'u.variantJ 'so the natural progression from gathering together a collection of fern 

varieties was to grow from spores, and our first choice, as with most amateurs, was 

lady fern Athyrium filix-femina which we all know throws more variants than other 

F7rst we collected spores from the plants we wished to increase and hopefully .improve 
upon. Then, on to the propagation, and the method we used was as J^**™^**™ 
could find and with us proved to be fairly successful. Take 3 to 3 1 / 2 plastic pots, of good 
quality, (or they will warp with this method). Fill them almost full with fern compost wh ich 
for us is two parts loam two parts peat and one of coarse sand, then press l.ghtly down to 
half an inch from rim of pot. Then cut circles of perforated paper (k.tchen towels are .deal) 

the drainage holes in the pots as hot as the water going in. Leave poi* w 
least a day to settle and stabilise before planting. The reason for using the perfo ated 
paper is to prevent disturbance of the soil when pouring on the water. Th.s method (wrth 
modern modifications) was used for the propagation of spores in the late 1800s^ Sow 
spores as thinly as possible then cover the pots with clean glass, and keep coverec to 
hopefully remain as sterile as possible. Do not allow the pots t0 J^°™^ o ™„^as 
i compost, (then the fun 

j required, water trom tne Dase ui ui» w^ ■ ■ 
nmenced is to pick out the prothalli into trays c 

begins). The fronds begin to appear and develop 

i select t 


the same time also, discarding the many misfits. 

The plumose athyriums illustrated were grown from spores of Athyrium filix-femina 
'Plumosum Penny' which also produced A.ff. 'Kalothrix' (B.P.S. Bulletin 1983). The first 
three illustrations are a selection of A.ff. 'Plumosum', all of t 

n some ways similar to A.ff. 'Kalothrix', 
i vigorous grower than 'Kalothrix'. 
A.ff. Plumosum falcatum' (50cm.) to our minds a typical classic shape of fern, the pinnae 
curved giving it a fish-tail effect; unfortunately not a strong grower, must try moving it and 

A.ff. Plumosum superbum Lydiate' (60cm.) this is one of our best plumose forms, bold, 

red stemmed and heavily crested. 

For our sowing of A.ff. 'Victoriae' we chose a very small fine plant (30cm.) for spores, so 

slender it is almost linear; surprising to think that the two plants illustrated and 

completely different, came from this smaller than usual variety of A.ff. 'Victoriae'. 

A.ff. 'Setigero-Victoriae Lydiate' (50cm.) this fern has the merits of A.ff. 'Setigerum' and 

A.ff Victoriae', the large fan shaped crests of 'Setigerum' with the cruciate and cristate 

pinnae of 'Victoriae', and like all the Victoriae' section has to be seen in its third 

dimension to be really appreciated. (See also front cover.) 

A.ff. Victoriae Lydiate' (80cm.) this is the largest A.ff. 'Victoriae' we have grown, it 

displays its latticed appearance to perfection, possibly because it is so lanceolate, crisp 

Although three of the next ferns illustrated are cristate all were from the same batch of 

sporelingsof A.ff. 'Percristatum'. 

A.ff. 'Flabelli-pinnulum' (50cm.) star-shaped quite spiky pinnae. 

A.ff. 'Cristatum' (80cm.) another quite bold plant, lanceolate and lightly crested. 

A.ff. 'Longipinnulum' (75cm.) long pinnae, pinnules close together and all crested. 

A.ff. Percristatum superbum Lydiate' (100cm.) the largest of our athyriums with very 

broad fronds, heavily crested, b 

ust now put a little addendum to our descriptions, principally to encourage 
perhaps other members to grow from spores, these are three verses, part of a poem taken 
from the British Fern Gazette. March 1913, written by C.B. Green. 
Of Lady Ferns I find a few. 

Of varied make or fashion. 

But none with plumy foliage. 

Reciprocates my passion. 

To breed me forms s 

Nor longer vainly roam; 
tut, sowing from the best create, 
Rich hunting grounds at home 

i jointly by R. & R. Coughlin, J.W. Dyce < 

Pteridologist 1.3(1986) 

m$ ^4 

Pteridologist 1, 3(19 

Pteridologist 1,3(1986) 


Fern students and fern lovers in Britain are very fortunate, so many books have been 
written on their favourite subject. In a recent note (Pteridologist: Vol I, Part I) Martin 
Rickard says that he ca n th ink of wel I over 30 books on the ferns of the British Isles. This is 
not the case for France where pteridophyte floras are few and far between. De Rey- 
Pailhade's Les Fougeres de France (1893?) and Tardieu-Blot's Pteridophytes (1954) are 
sometimes quoted but rarely seen as they have long been out of print. However, a 
renewed interest in ferns in France has resulted in the following publications: Les 
Pteridophytes de la France (*\ 979) by Frederic Badre and Robert Deschatres, an annotated 
list of all the species growing in Continental France and Corsica, which provides much 
needed data; and the long awaited Guide des Fougeres etPlantes Allies by Remy Prelli 
(1985), which answers Martin Rickard's question (Pteridologist: Vol I, Part I) "Which 
Book?", for French pteridologists! 

This manual which follows the format of Welsh Ferns, can be divided into two parts. The 
first seventy or so pages sum up all the information to date about the Pteridophyta in a 
very readable style. The chapter "biologie de la reproduction et evolution actuelle" which 
touches upon such complex subjects as hybridity and polyploidy is set in a very clear and 
concise manner. The second part gives a list of all the native pteridophytes in Continental 
France and Corsica, with a few alien plants naturalised or established, in just over 100 
pages. This list claims 1 1 3 species and two apogamous hybrids (Dryopteris * remota and 
Dryopteris * ardechensis) are given full species status together with Diphasiastrum * 
issleri and Diphasiastrum * zeillen which, though recognised as of hybrid origin, are also 
treated as full species. Asplenium cuneifolium is included in the list although the author 
acknowledges that according to Anne Sleep's research, its presence is very doubtful 
Each species is briefly described and is illustrated either by black and white photographs 
or line drawings showing diagnostic characters. Ecology and distribution are also given 
for each plant. The scarcity of hybrid descriptions and illustrations - only Asplenium * 
a/ternifolium receives full treatment — is to be regretted but it only reflects the fact that 
fewer hybrids have been studied in France than in Great Britain which after all leads the 
world in fern flora investigation. This is a minor flaw, however, compared with the 
enormous advantage of having, at last, in one volume, a list and description of all the 
French species. 

It is to be hoped that this work will encourage more thorough field investigation of the 
pteridophyte flora in France and lead eventually to the publication of an atlas of 
distribution. This book (written in French of course) comes in hardback and sells in the 
region of 1 40 Frs. which is expensive by British standards but is certainly a "good buy" for 
pteridologists holidaying in France. 


PRELLI, R. l'985 Guide des Fougeres et plantes allies. Editions Paris. 
REY-PAILHADE, C de 1893 Les Fougeres de France. Dupont. Paris. 
TARDIEU-BLOT, ML 1954. Pteridophytes (Fougeres et Plantes alMes). Paris. 

110 Pteridologist 1 , 3 (1986) 


MARY POTTS. 4 Kennel Lane. Webbington. Axbridge. Somerset 

The garden at Robin Hill, Stinchcombe, has featured in many reports of the South West 

to those many members and friends who visited the herbal treasure trove at Robin Hill. 
The house and garden belonging to Philip and Mary lay on a westward slope to the south 
of the village of Stinchcombe. The front garden, inclining upwards from the road, 
contained a catholic selection of plants, many types of rose, shrubs, herbaceous plants, 
ground cover and some magnificent fern specimens. The photograph (Fig. 1 opposite) 
shows a fine plant of Polystichum setrferum 'Divisilobum' at the turn of the drive and 

on a much steeper 
3 contained the v 
I first tasted the delights of ferny' salad bowl 
i salad vegetable). Close to the house 

above the pond (see Fig. 2 opposite). Following a steep path up the garden the fern 
enthusiast came upon a bed planted with a mixture of native ferns including a large and 
thriving plant of Polystichum lonchitis. 

Sandwiched between the vegetable garden and compost heap was an ever changing and 
fascinating collection of Asplenium scolopendrium varieties. Philip spent a lot of time 
raising harts-tongues from spores and his diligence was repaid by the appearance of 
some remarkable frond forms. Some of the most interesting varieties were only a few 
inches high on maturity, with stiff, ramose fronds. The plants that consistently fascinated 
visitors were the variegated and gold harts-tongues. Philip has green (or gold) fingers as 
far as these desirable plants are concerned; when transplanted to other gardens they 
either looked chlorotic or turned green. 

The top banks of the back garden housed a collection of native ferns, with a few well 
grown examples of foreign ferns, such as Dryopteris wallichiana (see Fig. 3 opposite 
p.1 1 1 ) and Dryopteris erythrosora - the latter a particularly good form with bright red 
withNvi S ° me 8reaS ** the b8Ck 9arde " W6re ^ picturesque ' Po'VPod' 65 underplanted 
border specially formed to grow tender ferns during the summer was one of Philip's 
recent projects, and contained Blechnum. Cyrtomium and some Australian Polystichum 

Another speciality of the Robin Hill 

collected in Australia. Two cool greenhouses c 

plants, the most remarkable being those red-fronded forms with diminutive pinnules, and 

the variegated plants. 

Philips generosity has been recorded in previous articles; there are many members and 
friends whose gardens have been enhanced by gifts from Robin Hill, and some of us are 
gratefully aware that the nucleus of our fern collections 

t Robin Hill, Gloucestershire 

(photograph by Christopher F 

(photograph by Christopher F 

Pteridologist 1 , 3 { 1 986) 111 


Gymnocarpium robertianum in Cheddar Gorge (or another Jimmy Dyce story) 
The accompanying photograph shows a large mature frond of Gymnocarpium 
robertianum, the Limestone Polypody, growing in Cheddar Gorge. When we first joined 
the British Pteridological Society fifteen years ago we described to Jimmy Dyce our futile 
attempts to discover this fern on Mendip. We were rather surprised to hear that he knew 
exactly where it grew; he described in detail a location at the top of Cheddar Gorge 
where he had seen it growing in abundance thirty years previously when he was stationed at 
RAF Locking. We doubtfully examined the site by a wall at the edge of the road and were 
amazed and delighted to discover the fern for ourselves exactly as Jimmy had described it. 
Most Mendip walls are now in a state of disrepair, and this appears to suit the Limestone 
Polypody admirably, as in this location it is still increasing and forcing its small and 
graceful croziers through the fallen stone. It gives us pleasure to record this, as many of 
the scree sites recorded in the old floras are now barren of this fern. 



The Propagation of Adiantum caudatum from Bulbils. 

attenuate' fronds of a decumbent habit. Many of the 
adventitious buds, that slowly developed fronds c 
graceful and attractive appearance. 

Having purchased a plant for 
Adiamtum caudatum and I replanted it into an 8 inch (200mm app.) hanging basket which 
I felt would be best way to display this pendant fern. 

It grew well and within a few months it had grown to 3 times its original size. Careful 
Ibils shows a small bud with a mass of tiny root initials awaiting the 
> for growth. 

Many visitors to my collection have admired it and several begged a frond or two hoping to 
start off their own plants. Surprisingly, in every case the bulbils failed to develop and 
grow. I tried them myself by removing fronds from the plant and pegging them down in a 

I could not understand their reluctance to develop as bulbils from such ferns as 
Asplenium bulbiferum. Cystopteris bulbiferum and some varietal forms of Asplenium 
7 readily develop when the frond is removed from the parent plant and pegged 
3 compost. 

After some experimentation, I found that I could propagate mytre 
easily from bulbils if the frond is allowed to remain on the plant, and a pot or tray of 
compost (I use 50/50 peat and perlite or sharp sand, by volume) is placed alongside the 
plant and the frond tips with the bulbils are pegged down into it with a small loop of wire. 
In this way I can obtain well-rooted plantlets in 8-10 weeks at 70F (21 C). 

i plants if they are grown at 



112 Pteridologist \ , 3 (1986) 


MARTIN RICKARD, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 2HP 
To the general gardener and specialist fern grower alike the vegetative reproduction of 
garden plants is of fundamental importance. It allows multiplication of stocks with a 
minimum of effort and, more significantly, since many garden varieties do not breed true, 
it allows the production of stocksalmost certainly true to the character of the parent plant. 
Of course in thecase of sterile plants normal sexual breeding is totally out of the question. 
There are four ways of building up fern stocks vegetatively:— 
1 . By division of mature plants. 

b) artificially induced bulbils on leaf bases. 

3. By apospory 

4. By tissue culture 

a) plants with crec 

Division is straightforward; simply remove an ii 

is at least one growing point on the selected pie 

possible. It is best to use a sharp knife for this operation. 

Examples of plants which may be propagated in this way are: 
Adiantum x mairisii, A. venustum, Asplenium darioides, Blechnum fluviatile, B. penna- 
marina, Botrychium lunaria, Cystopteris montana, C. sudetica, Gymnocarpium dryopteris 
(including the plumose form), G robertianum, Lycopodium spp., Matteuccia 
struthiopteris. Onoclea sensibilis. Ophioglossum vu/gatum, Phegopteris connectilis, P. 
hexagonoptera, Pillularia globulifera, Polypodium spp. (all hardy species and hardy 
varieties; with some varieties of P. vulgare in the 'Cornubiense' section always choose 
a growing point in true character), Thelypteris palustris, Trichomanes speciosum 
(together with other British filmy ferns this is a special case needing to be grown in very 
high humidity). 

The method to split a pot grown plant of Adiantum spp. is shown in photographs on pages 
61 and 62 of Ferns for Garden and Greenhouse by Macself . He prises the plant into small 
pieces using a small fork. This same system would apply equally well to border grown 
Adiantums as well as many other species. 

I his includes the majority of ferns with the normal shuttlecock form of growth which 
produce side crowns. In some forms this can be a slow process with it perhaps taking 
several years to produce one offset. In others, side crowns can be produced so prolifically 
as to prevent the plant realising its true potential, e.g. I have never seen Polystichum 
setiferum 'Pulcherrimum Moly's Green' in character unless it is kept as a single crown 
(even then only the odd frond or part of a frond has been truly pucherrimum!) 
Examples of plants which can normally only be reproduced in this way are: 
Polystichum setiferum 

Plumosum Bevis' — some progeny from spores very rarely similar to parent, but 

probably not identical. 

Pteridologist 1 , 3 ( 1 986) 113 

Plumosum Grande Moly' — very slow. 'Pulcherrimum Moly's Green'. 
'Plumosum Green' — once raised from Plumosum Bevis', can very rarely produce 

'Gracillimum' — raised from 'Plumosum Bevis'. 
Athyrium filix-femina 

'Plumosum Druery' (but see adjoining article by Vic Newey). 

Plumosum Coke'. 'Plumosum Penny'. Clarissima Jones' 
Dryopteris filix-mas 

'Bollandiae' — the closest to a plumose fern yet discovered in Dryopteris. 

'Ramosissima Wright' — possibly a variety of Dryopteris affinis. 

Several hybrids including: 

Asplenium * alternifolium, Asplenium * costei. Asplenophyllitis microdon 
All these varieties and hybrids are uncommon because the production of side crowns is 
usually a slow process. By a strange quirk of fate this list includes some of the very best 
fern varieties we still have in cultivation. Some of these may occasionally be available at 
3 will always be limited. Those of us who have any must 
n among other enthusiasts whenever possible. 
In Ferns for Garden and Greenhouse, page 66, Macself gives a full account of how to 
separate crowns. By reading this some useful tips may be gleaned, but I don't think any 
disastrous mistakes are likely if normal common sense is used. 

Of course this technique is not restricted to only the rare treasures, but I should perhaps 
make two cautionary points — firstly, take extra care with Scollies, they can often be 
difficult to split cleanly, and secondly beware of the problems of some Aspleniums. Reg 
Kaye (Hardy Ferns, p. 1 08) describes a disaster he had when trying to split the only plant of 
a form of Asplenium trichomanes 'Incisum' found by J. Barnes, after the division all 
pieces died and so therefore that was the end of that variety. Conversely, I find Asplenium 
hybrids split easily, e.g. A. * alternifolium and A. * costei. 

2. Reproduction by bulbils 

a) bulbils occuring along the leaf rachis 

Although relatively few ferns produce bulbils some good varieties can be propagated by 
this means Simply laythebulbiferous leaf onto soil; it may still be attached to the plant, or 
preferably detached and laid in a pan. It is important to ensure that the bulbils make good 
contact with the soil so that developing roots do not dry out. Equally it is important to 
ensure that the crown of the bulbils,and any young fronds, are not covered by soil as they 
need to receive light. If completely buried there is a good chance that rot will set in and kill 
the young plant. Examples of plants which can be propagated from are:- 
Polystichum setiferum 

'Divisilobum Bland' — bulbils sometimes difficult 
many other 'Divisilobums', 'Acutilobums' an 
sparingly bulbiferous even when well grown. 
Plumoso-divisilobum' — bulbils c 
then only on well established plants; perhaps c 
Plumosum Green' — very sparingly as above. 
Polystichum proliferum and hybrids produced from it. 

Asplenium flabellifolium — from New Zealand j Ljke p pro f,f erum a || these are 
Asplenium tripteropus — from Japan I b u |bjf erouS towards the tip of 

Asplenium rhizophyllus — from North America ^ frond 

Adiantum edgeworthii — from Japan > 

14 Pterido/ogist 1.3 (1986) 

Asplenium scolopendrium — bulbiferous leaves are very rare but have been reported 

once or twice, including quite recently. 
Huperzia (Lycopodium) selago — the upper parts of most stems bear little bulbils or 
gemmae, these readily fall from the plant and in suitable conditions will root and 
b) artificially induced bulbils on leaf bases 
Asplenium scolopendrium and its varieties produce this type of bulbil. The bulbils are 
arely, if ever, visible until appropriate steps are taken to aid their development. Curiously, 
his method seems to be immersed in a mystique which deters all but a few members 
rom trying it. In reality it is a simple and quick way of building up stocks of scollies which 
;ould otherwise only be multiplied by splitting off side crowns. My system has been 
sorrowed from many sources — notably Mary Potts, I proceed as follows:— 

2. Peel old leaves downwards so that they snap cleanly at their point of contact with the 
caudex. These leaves may be several years old and look dead, but when separated they 
will be seen to be plump and green if only for the bottom 1 / 4 inch or so of their length. 

3 When all leaf bases have been removed carefully, split the plant into crowns if 
desired or simply replant it as it is. It is unlikely that it will suffer any noticeable setback. 

4 Remove the live basal section of each detached leaf to a maximum length of about 
one inch but probably less, wash it and plant it upside down in a pan of sterilized compost. 

tached to the caudex is sticking up 

By upside dov 
out of the soi 

I by % t< 

n plant so that the end 1 

5. Keep the 

pan close by placing it under « 

Close inspection will soon reveal the production of small green 
blisters around the tip above the soil — sometimes as many as 1 per leaf base. Each of 
these will develop into a young fern given good husbandry. 

6. Leave to develop into recognisable plants, perhaps 1 / 2 an inch high, before carefully 
teasing them off the leaf bases and pricking out in the normal way. 
In summer this whole process might be completed in three months but over winter 
growth is, of course, much slower. As I write I have about 250 bases neatly panned out 
from a single plant of Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Bolton's Nobile' I lifted briefly 
in the autumn. Already I have more than 250 bulbils formed (after 3 winter months), but 
as yet no recognisable young plants. Previous experience tells me I will not get 250 
mature plants from this batch, but I put that down to incompetence! There is no reason 
why a careful grower should not get almost 100% success. 

It is reported that this technique also works on certain other species. William Cranfield 
(past President of our Society) in British Fern Gazette Vol. 7, No. 1 2, p.298, 1 950 gives 
details of how this method can be used to raise Oreopteris limbosperma, Athyrium filix- 
femina and Polystichum setiferum as well as Asplenium scolopendrium. Apparently 
Oreopteris is easy to bud as with A. scolopendrium. With A. filix-femina a portion of the 
old caudex should be removed with the base. No specific tips for raising P. setiferum by 
this technique are given but it appears to be much more difficult. 
Lady ferns can also rarely produce bulbils on their leaves. Reference to this in early issues 
of our British Fern Gazette have been pointed out to me by Ray Coughlin. In Vol. 1 , P 269 
(1912) Druery mentions that the plumose lady fern Athyrium filix-femina Axminster' 
bears bulbils associated with the spore heaps, while in Vol. 3, p. 134 (1916) Druery 
confirms that this is true of most plumose lady ferns. More recently, Vic Newey has 
dramatically demonstrated the presence of bulbils on some of his lady ferns (see 
adjoining article). 

3. By 

This is a method of reproduction which is possible in a few, usually very choice, varieties, 
e.g. Athyrium filix-femina 'Clarissima' 

Asp/enium scolopendrium Crispum Fimbriatum' 

Polystichum setiferum 'Pulcherrimum' 
I have never tried this technique; however, I gather that young plants produced this way 
are often depauperate and perhaps not worth the effort! If anyone is interested in 
pursuing it, may I suggest they read C.T. Druery's writings on the subject. These are 
widely scattered but a good introduction can be found in the final pages of the Book of 
British Ferns published in 1903 (with the support of the BPS). 

4. By tissue culture 
I really only put this in as an aside, 
know, no one has been able to propagate our 
been told that the problem is complicated 
which contaminate the growing medium. 

While, from the above, I hope it is clear that most ferns can be propagated vegetatively, it 
must be pointed out that in many situations vegetative reproduction is far from being the 
ideal way to raise ferns. The benefits of fern propagation sexually from spores are well 
shown by the range of new forms raised by some of the best growers. Also the tendency 
to produce only one or a few daughter plants at a time has contributed to the great rarity of 
many of our best cultivars, e.g. A. filix-femina Clarissima', A. filix-femina Victoriae' 
(original clone) etc. These ferns can only be reproduced true to character by the removal 
of side crowns — which are, sadly, produced all too rarely. 


VIC NEWEY, 27 Watts Road, Studley, Warwickshire 

A number of years ago I purchased a plant of Athyrium filix-fei 

Druery' (ex Whiteside collection) and after several years I noticed on some ot the late 

season fronds the appearance of tiny bulbils scattered generally upon the back of the 

pinnules on the lower half of the fronds. Although I layered the frond under glass only 

These r 

ulting plantlets survived the inevitable withering of the part 
..„ .„ u„ ;..<-♦ i:i„» *h, a narant and wpre exceptionally beautiful v 

This year I again noticed the same thing and in September I layered a frond upside down 
in gentle heat. The result has been remarkable. There are now hundreds of plantlets 
■•— «— •-! like a bright green forest on the back of the frond and I see no reason why 

>. This isdefinitelynotaform of apospory but a direct proliferation 

n Polystichums etc. 

A similar thing on a much smaller scale is occurring on plants raised from a robust form of 
Athyrium filix-femina 'Victoriae'. The sporelings from this are quite unusual; some are 
useless, some are partly cruciate and inconstant and one or two are crested in the 
manner of A f 'Victoriae' with very narrow pinnules. Some of the prothalli from the 
original sowing, however, grew exceptionally large and produced until the 
following (this) season, when a plant appeared growing from the of a 
prothallus. This grew steadily during the summer and I noticed the appearance of white 
bulbils at the junction of the pinnae and rachis on the tiny fronds. These have been 


Pteridologist 1,3 (1986) 

pegged down and 

1 are fronds. 1 await next season t. 

o see their development. The 

slender and fan c 

jut in a very attractive manner quite unlik 

e anything I have ever seen 

before. The frond 

sare slightly variable in that the pinnules a 

re irregular on one or two of 

the fronds, but 1 

am hoping this will improve later. 

Footnote: On see 

ing this note — Jimmy Dyce comments th 

at this last mentioned plant 

sounds like a forr 

n of 'Grandidens' — see his article elsewhi 

are in this issue. Matt Busby 

and 1 have seen 

i the plants and plantlets referred to he 

re; it really is an amazing 

development. Ho 

w come the rest of us have seemingly beer 

i blind to these bulbils for so 

many years? 



Trueman. P.H Oswald, F.H. Perring and W.V. Prestwood, 1985. pp.xvi, 344 with eight 
colour plates by Anne Gilbert and other sketches by Lindsay Brown. 210 x 295mm. 
Shropshire Trust for Nature Conservation, Agriculture House, Shrewsbury, ISBN 
9508637 OX. Price £23. 

Charles Sinker, in his Preface to this book, defines plant ecology as "the study of what 
grows where, and why, ... and when, and how, and how much", pointing out that the 
subject has elements of interest for almost anyone. In his list for whom this book is 
written he includes the "weekend gardener and country-lover" as well as dedicated 
botanists. As most gardeners know ecology is the understanding of what can grow 
where, so do not be put off by the title of this book. It is a fascinating and very readable 
>f plants (ferns included) in Shropshire, and 

The first 76 pages discuss the Background: the organisation of the 10 year survey that 

background Historical recording began with observations made by John Leland (c. 1 506- 
1552) who was Henry Vlll's Keeper of Libraries. Did he, one wonders, see Pilularia 
globuhfera in the "veri faire poole" at Brown Moss (where EM. Rutter and C.A. Sinker 

found it in 1963)? 

t plant lingers for hundreds of years. But I 

rambles and often the life-histories of a further 80 botanists - including W.lliam 
(1822-1905) who made the first county list of pteridophytes — make much interesting 

Part 2, : 


/ pages, describes habitats and plant communities found in Shropshire 
tips for the wildlife gardener. Part 3 (pp. 1 63-31 8) contains the "Flora" 
jnt of the distribution and ecological requirements of the 731 
ere — some 44 species of ptendophyte with dot maps for most of 
reminded that the area included in the survey is not only v.c 40 
) portions of adjacent v.c.'s (36, 37, 39, 43, 47, 50 and 58) which are 
linear frame between grid squares 32/16; 32/86; 33/14; 33/84. 
> of information in the fern part and many more in the latter part of the 

listing them No one possessing 

ill to be stimulated about what can be observed ii 

'contains much dull country)or about the commonest plant. Do not deprive 
>ast a view of this book. Ask your library to get it — and once seen, you will 
l copy 



J.W. DYCE. 46 SedleyRie, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

A similar type of variation appears in both Athyrium filix-femina and Polystichum 
setiferum. It is characterised by depauperation and deficiency, and in the vast majority of 
cases is fit only for augmenting the contents of the compost heap. It is found both in the 
wild and in spore sowings, but among the large number of utterly ragged and 
disreputable specimens there does appear the occasional one which has a certain charm 
and attraction, owing to the depauperation, being on a regular pattern and presenting a 
somewhat "lacy" appearance to the eye. I may apologise for growing them but both land 
other fern growers who see them have to admit their attraction. 
In the early days of fern interest it seems that collectors, as a whole, were less fussy about 
3 today, and in the old fern books, and also in the Jones Nature 
jties are depicted which should have been "strangled at birth"' 
the volume of fern literature Even Druery and some of his 
in the fern world were at times guilty of descending to the 
level of the enthusiastic collector whose main ambition seemed to have been to collect 
fern names rather than the actual ferns, and in so doing gave names to much worthless 

What can be regarded as a type plant to cover this kind of variation in both/4, filix-femina 
and P. setiferum is P. setiferum 'Grandidens' depicted in Druery's British Ferns and their 
Varieties, page 202. (See Fig. 1c). No doubt this actual plant has long ago disappeared 
from cultivation. Druery stated that the form had been repeatedly found but, although 
marred by irregularities, the subdivisions were so deeply toothed and peculiar that it 
figured in all collections. In both species it is characterised by fan-shaped, deeply 
lacerated and spinose pinnules. 

past have survived in A. filix-femina, but 
t have at least one such plant, gathered in 
from the wild or found, self-sown, in some odd corner of the garden — they love to appear 
in wall crevices. At the moment I have several awaiting final judgement - the border or 
the compost? — when they develop their true character. No two are ever quite alike but all 
conform roughly to the type in shape of pinnules and varying degrees of depauperation. I 
grow a very attractive one with extremely spiny pinnules, which I have named 
'Spinosissimum' (See Fig. 1 a). Reginald Kaye grows a very good example which cropped 
up as a sporeling many years ago in one of his orchid pots. Named Crispum Grandiceps 
Kaye", it is depicted on page 68 of the 1985 Pteridologist (Vol. 1 part 2) and was well- 
worth preserving in spite of its obvious deficiencies. I can well understand how it gives 
pleasure to Reg every time he passes it in his nursery. 

Although more common in A. filix-femina, named specimens seem to be non-existent, 
i type plant, 'Grandidens' was deemed worthy of a 

name and we r 


most attractive fern which can be found in most collections (see Fig. 1b). It is very 
variable, no two plants being exactly alike, both in their size and in their pinnule shapes. 
Some look obviously depauperate but in an acceptable way; in others you have to look 
closely to detect the deficiencies. The illustration is from one of the plants in my garden. 

'Grandidens' section, is P. setiferum Manica-infantis'. Although not so extravagantly 
ragged in its division, and named because of the fancied resemblance of the pinnules to 
an infant's glove, it does, in plants I have seen, have a certain amount of raggedness and 
inconstancy in the shape of the fanned pinnules. 

c) Potystichum setiferum Grandidens', 
from British Ferns and their Varieties 
by C.T. Druery — centre of frond. 

tings I have often said hard things about depauperate fern varieties, but some 
rden room, so don't be too hasty. Keep them for a time to show their real worth 
I get a pleasant surprise! 


GARDENING WITH NEW ZEALAND FERNS by Muriel E. Fisher. Collins, Auckland 1984. 
119pp. 260 x 195mm. Photos, colour 46 plus 5 on jacket, black and white 69. Line 
drawings and maps of New Zealand. Price not shown. 

Among the many gifts I received on my 80th birthday in 1 985 was a gift of this book from 
my Seattle fern-friend, Judith Jones. She could not have chosen a nicer gift, for the ferns 
of New Zealand have long interested me, since my early ferning days when an unclefrom 
Nelson in New Zealand "raved" about the local wealth of these plants which form a 
dominant part of that country's flora — the New Zealand national emblem is a fern frond. 
Muriel Fisher is obviously well under their spell— this is her second book about them; her 
first was New Zealand Ferns in your Garden (Collins 1 976). 

As the title proclaims, the book is not written for the botanist but for the fern lover and 
grower. The preliminary chapters describe ferns, their cultivation, growing from spores. 

ferns for garden use and a fern planting guide are appended. It is, of course, written for t 
New Zealand grower, and for those fortunate enough to live in climates whi 
approximate to that of New Zealand and are ideally suited for the growing of these plan 

The main part of the book (53 pages) is devoted to the descriptior 

species, based on their successful growing by the author under garden conditions A large 

number will be very tantalising for British growers who must console themselves with 

growing them in the protected conditions of glasshouses or conservatories Even if we do 

not grow them, there is the pleasure of "drooling" over them in the pages of the book This 

must be the chief joy I obtain from possessing it and it will be treasured accordingly. Often 

removed from my bookshelves to browse over by the winter fire, it will waft me in thought 

to warmer climes among my favourite plants. 

There is much more to ferns than just growing them - for the fern lover they have a big 

contribution to make in the written word and in the picture pages. Muriel Fisher's book 

with its descriptions and superb colour illustrations will be appreciated accordingly. 



Two plants each of Athyrium distentifolium. Athyrium flexile. Asplneium billotii, 
Dryopteris aemula and Dryopteris expansa; for cash or possible exchange for other 
British ferns, in particular limestone rarities, John Mashiter, Elfrigg, Beachwood, 
Arnside, via Carnforth, Lanes. 


MARTIN RICKARD, The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes. Ludlow, Shrops. SY8 2HP. 
It seems that several members of our Society have the ambition of one day visiting New 
Zealand. The place has a magical attraction. It seems that few other temperate regions of 
the world can offer such a range of ferns, particularly two of the most popular kinds — the 
Tree and Filmy ferns. 

My fascination with these islands has been fuelled over the last 1 5 or so years by various 
books on New Zealand ferns — especially the specimen books. These are books where 
pressed fronds are neatly labelled and bound in book form and issued commercially. The 
range of shape and even colour presented by the pressed fronds is much more real than 
photographs or paintings — and of course all specimens are natural size! To seef ronds of 
Hymenophyllum dilatatum 18 inches long is quite a revelation to those of us used XoH. 
tunbrigense at 2 inches! Curiously, while I have been collecting these books I have never 
come across any bibliographical listing of them. Below, therefore, I give details of those 
that I have bought or seen in private and public collections. There are sure to be many 
omissions and errors and I would therefore be most grateful for any additional 
information members may be able to pass on. I know, for instance, that there was at one 
time a New Zealand Fern Company (see Armstrong and Twomey below). More 
information on this would be most welcome. 
It is not possible to list books by date as in no case was a date published. I guess however 

dooks are dates given in personal dedications. Therefore 

Armstrong, C.C. New Zealand Ferns mounted and botanically named 
Armstrong. Dunedin, octavo. In this 'book' one sheet is folded into 8 I 
holding one specimen. 

Armstrong, C.C. New Zealand Ferns 
Armstrong. Dunedin. As above, exi 
25 sheets. 

Armstrong, C.C. and Twomey, J. The South Pacific Fern Album. New Zealand section, 
containing fronds of ferns collected throughout the islands by the NewZealand Fern 
Company. Arranged by Mrs C.C. Armstrong, edited by J. Twomey. pp.26, 9 with 20 
sheets of 40 named natural specimens, folio 45 x 33cm. Melbourne. The only New 
Zealand specimen book I know of with text. Not seen. 

Craig, E. New Zealand Ferns mounted by Eric Craig, Princes Street, Auckland. 27 x 32cm. 
Title details stamped onto reverse of front cover and on some sheets (see Fig.2b). 30 
sheets each with a single specimen, most with a printed name label. Cover cloth with 
a fern motif blocked in gold. 

Craig, E. New Zealand Ferns. As above, except cover is of carved wood, similar to, but 
smaller than. Fig la 21 x 30cm. Title stamp also differs slightly, see Fig.2c. A 
personal dedication dated 1890 is written on the flyleaf. 

Craig, E. New Zealand Ferns and Fern Allies, collected, dried and mounted by Eric Craig, 
Princes Street, Auckland, NewZealand. 27 x 46cm. Title details given on a printed 
label (see Fig.2c). 52 sheets with 1 00 specimens usually identified by printed labels. 
First page a compilation of ferns fronds surrounding a black and white print of a 
painting of The Dripping Well near Lake Tarawera. The covers are of pale carved 
wood New Zealand Ferns is picked out in black with the immediate background 
yellow. (See Fig. 1 a for centre detail). On the back outer edge of each sheet there is a 
thin str.p of card to give protection and strenath 

by T Cranwell, 34 x 48crr 

Pteridologist 1, 3<1986) 


_.. ^ Princes Street, <Auc7darul, Jtew Zealand. H , 


j ££IC C2BIG 
PriacesSi. AucfcV. :d 


ERfC CRAIG, «•■■* ""■"•- 



d labels or stamps from New Zea 
Cranwell (label), b) E. Craig (- 
E. Craig (label), d) E. Craig (sti 

1986) 123 

Craig, E. New Zealand Ferns. Folio with wooden covers. Probably similar to the above, 
except there are two engravings before the title page and advertisements at the back. 
This book was published at 150/- (£7.50) probably about 1880. Not seen 

Craig, E. New Zealand Ferns and Fern Allies, dried and mounteld by Eric Craig, Princes 
Street, Auckland, New Zealand, 15 x 19.5cm. Title details given on printed label 
(similar to Fig. 2c). This is a set of 2 volumes each comprising a single sheet unfolding 
to 58 x 1 1 1cm. On each sheet are slotted, in postcard album style, 24 cards 13.2 x 

Cranwell, T. New Zealand Ferns prepared and collec 
Auckland, New Zealand. 21 x 28cm. Title details give 
Carved wooden covers with 30 specimens arranged o 
identified by a printed label. A personal dedication o 

Cranwell, T. New Zealand Ferns. As above, only differing in detail, with 28 sheets. 

Cranwell, T. (A Collection of New Zealand Ferns) prepared and collected by T. Cranwell, 
Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. 34 x 48cm. Compiler details are given on printed 
label (see Fig. 2a). This book has no title. 74 pages with 79 specimens identified by 
printed or hand written labels. Includes 2 mosses and 1 Fijian fern. Wooden 
marquetry covers (see Fig. 1b. for central detail), the wooden' fern on the cover is 
probably Adiantum Cunningham/. On the back of the outer edge of each sheet there 
is a broad backing strip of card to give protection and strength. 

Jeffs, E. New Zealand Ferns. Wellington Horticultural Repository, Wellington, New 
Zealand. Twenty sheets with hand written labels. Not seen. 

Reid, W. New Zealand Ferns. Grand Hotel Buildings, High Street, Dunedin. Title details 
given on printed label (see Fig.2e). 23 x 30cm. 42 specimens on 30 sheets most with 
hand written labels, but some specimens unnamed. The main title label (Fig 2e) 
states that neatly mounted fern cards were produced but I have never come across 

Wildman, W. New Zealand Ferns collected in the Auckland Province. W. Wildman, 
Auckland. Title details given on a printed label inside the front cover (see Fig.2f). 31 x 
25cm. 54 specimens on 36 sheets, see Fig. 3 for a sample page Labels printed with 
fern name added in freehand. Labels match front cover label in style, compare Fig. 1 f 
with Fig. 3. Each page protected by a sheet of tissue paper. 
Anon. New Zealand Ferns. There are quite a fewamateur collections in existence but this 
album is of more than usual interest as it is identical to the one used by Wildman. It 
was presumably sold empty, perhaps with specimen labels, for amateurs to build up 
> 93 specimens well mounted on 36 sheets. 
anged with pieces of fern frond and/or moss 
> as possible. Only very rarely are specific localities given 
in any of the books I have seen. 

That such a range of books has reached the U.K. is no doubt a reflection of world markets 
in Victorian times. Consignments were presumably also shipped to other countries, 
while a good selection must have remained in New Zealand itself. In most cases I have 
only seen one representative of each of the issues listed above, therefore it is virtually 
certain that other types exist — probably also by different compilers — perhaps some 
others are well known in New Zealand? 

The ferns themselves are generally well preserved despite their age. The better produced 
books generally have 2 to 3 fronds of each species. Of approximately 1 80 pteridophytes 

Pteridologist\, 3 (1 986) 

Anon, Handbook to the Ferns of New Zealand, c.1860. 

Crookes. M.W. and Dobbie, H.B. New Zealand Ferns. Whitcombe and Tombs. 1 963. 

Dobbie, H.B. New Zealand Ferns. Whitcombe and Tombs. 1916, plus later editions. 

Field, H.C. The Ferns of New Zealand. London. 1890. 

Fisher, M.E. Gardening with New Zealand Ferns. Auckland. 1984. 

Fisher, M.E. and Ward, L. New Zealand Ferns in your Garden. Auckland. 1976. 

Harris, W.F. A Manual of the Spores of New Zealand Pteridophyta. Wellington. 

Hamlin, B. Native Ferns. Wellington. 1963. 

Heath, E. and Chinnock, R.J. Ferns and Fern Allies of New Zealand. Reed 1974 

Leech, H.E.S. Ferns which grow in New Zealand and the Adjacent Islands. 1 875. 

Malloy, B. Ferns in Peel Forest: a Field Guide. Christchurch. 1983. 

Stevenson, G. A Book of Ferns. Dunedin. 1954. 

Thomson, G.M. The Ferns and Fern Allies of New Zealand. Dunedin. 1882. 
News of any additions to this list would be most welcome. 

BPS members who have visited New Zealand confirm the luxuriance of the ferns 
suggested so strongly by the production of all these books. I hope one day to see the proof 


Latin Varietal Fern Names 

In recent times there has been argument in our Society, chiefly in botanical circles, that 

our present system of using Latin descriptive names for our fern varieties is wrong and 

does not conform to the international rules laid down for the naming of plants. I doubt if 

many, if indeed any, fern growers were consulted when the pundits laid the rules down, 

and I am a very strong supporter of our present methods. In my opinion, ferns should have 

been given separate consideration where the naming of garden variations is concerned, 

and not lumped with flowering and other plants in a "blanket" system. 

Even in C.T. Druery's time the problem existed, and while browsing through his press 

cuttings recently I came across his reply, in one of the garden papers of the day in 1 909, to 

a critic who cavilled at the name given to one of his new varieties. 

-ef ancy names to the innumerable varieties of florists' 
which present comparatively slight differences of form and 

i thing altogether v 
i pedigree plants, like n 

ies, where it is possible 
divide theminto sections and give them descriptive names by which tht 
special chai 
descriptive catalogue. Inside fern circles 

make a "bogey" of them. Those of us in the cult are the 
ones chiefly concerned, while those outside the cult who desire to take up the 
study can, by the aid of these names in print in recognised standard books, see 
how useful they are when properly arranged and classified." 


\ 26 Pteridologist 1 , 3 ( 1 986) 


Woodsia ilvensis and Woodsia alpina 

Christopher Potts kindly sent me these photographs of Woodsia ilvensis and Woodsia 
alpina in response to a request for material suitable for inclusion in the Pteridologist. 
They are of a very high quality and should make the differences between these two closely 
related species clear. As the plants were photographed in my garden I should perhaps add 
the conditions under which I grow them. They are side by side in a stone sink. 
Approximately the bottom two inches of the sink is filled with rounded pebbles aboutone 
inch in diameter, and the whole istopped up with Welsh mountain scree —a bag of which 
I collected from a roadside dump in central Wales. 

So far after 3 years planted here both species seem to be thriving, although I do anticipate 
the lack of lime in this substrate may eventually cause the vigour of Woodsia alpina to 
decline. I water only with rain water. 

The W. ilvensis was raised from spores collected on Moel yr Ogof in North Wales in 1 972, 
the W. alpina from spores collected from the Chaine de Belle Donne in the French Alps in 
1975. In Britain both Woodsias are Scheduled Species and protected by law. It is an 
offence, with heavy fines, for anyone without permission to collect these plants in the 
wild. Spore collection is also now extremely difficult as it is illegal to even pick fronds of 
Scheduled Species — spore is however usually available through the Society Spore 


A GUIDE TO HARDY FERNS by Richard Rush. The British Pteriodological Society. Special 

Publication No. 1, 1984. 70pp. 168 x241mm. Price : £4.50. 

This excellent book, unfortunately, missed being reviewed in the 1985 Pteridologist. 

Written by one of our current Commitee members and published by the Society as 

Special Publication number 1 , it has already been a great success. The original printing 

soon sold out, but it has been reprinted and copies are available through BPS Booksales. 

Never before has such a comprehensive list of hardy fern species been put together in 

such a readily accessible form. 581 species are listed and many synonyms are cross- 
enced. Where species are taxonomically difficult the author makes helpful 
and the differences between some confusingly similar species are clarified 
e Blechum capense agg.). The author admits that even this list is far from 
3 - some species were omitted as not being sufficiently distinct, while further 
t many more await discovery! 

My only criticism is the inconsistency of some of the entries, i.e. some genera have a 

descriptive introduction while others do not - a small point, but in a quick scan some 

genera might be missed. Overall the amoi 

rarity of typographical errors is a tribute fa 

the printers, Metloc. 

At £4.50 this book is a bargain and a 

is sure to extend to both specialist < 

species await trial. 

Pteridologist 1, 3 (1986) 

The habitat oiLycopodium clavatum at Braehead, northeast of Renfrew. In the background ai 

t of Glasgow. Photo: T.N. Tait. 

Pteridologist 1 , 3 ( 1 986) 127 



G. STEVEN andJ.H. DICKSON, Botany Department. University of Glasgow 

In the summer of 1985 two discoveries of L clavatum L (Stag's Horn Clubmoss) were 

made within the Glasgow rectangle (Dickson 1984). The first, made by G.S., was in the 

vicinity of the now disused Braehead Power Station (national grid ref. NS 51 7679) about 

50m from the bank of the Clyde at about 5m above sea level. Several clumps were found 

over an area of 1 00 sq.m. on flat ground shaded by Betula pedu/a Roth and Salix cinerea 

L, 3-5m high (see photograph 1). The Lycopodium was found to have branches up to 

1 .05m long and was fruiting freely. 

The result of a 1 x 1 m quadrat sample for this site (site 1 ) is shown in table 1 . 

Bare ground — 3 

Nearby but outside the quadrat for site 1 were Anthoxanthum odoratum L and Calluna 
vulgaris (L) Hull. The substrate consists of a 0-2.5cm mat of mor humus, pH 4.8 (glass 
electrode) over an unknown depth of industrial rubble made up of sand and gravel, pH 5.4. 
The Calluna plants appear to be, at most, 10yearsoldastheyareinthelatepioneer stage 
of Watt's growth stages (Watt 1 955). Trees in the locality were bored using % 
borer and found to be less than 1 2 years old. If, as suggested by Primark ( 1 973), the 
Lycopodium plants can be determined by counting the number of constrictions ( 

stems then the sporophytes of the plan 
would appear, therefore, that the Lycopodium has developed in a shorter period than is 
usually thought necessary. Parihar (1 965), for example, states that spores of L clavatum 
germinate only after a period of 3-8 years and that the gametophyte of the species takes 
as many as 6-15 years to mature. Ollgaard (1985) cites a similar discovery of various 
Lycopodium species including L clavatum on an area of gravel in Denmark where the 
evidence suggests that the gametophyte matured in no more than 3 years. He suggests 
that the permanently moist soil of the site helped increase the rate of development of the 
plants. It is also worth noting that Lycopodium can colonise bare mineral soils, at least in 
the gametophytic stage (Spessard 1922). L. clavatum has been recorded from other 
unusual sites such as coal bings (Corner 1967) and railway ballast (Braithwaite 1976). 

Pteridologist \ , 2 mm) 

on a steep (about 45°) slope with an aspect of 320° 
1 50m above sea level (national grid ref. NS 604655). The 
f sandy topsoil, pH 3.5, over sandstone rubble, pH 3.9. At 
j present again with fertile branches. The larger plant 
up and down the slope, 0.75m across. By counting the number of 
i the longest branches the sporophytes were estimated to be up to 1 1 
years old. See Table 1 for the result of a 1 .5 * 1 m (longer axis downslope) quadrat at this 
site (site 2). Growing nearby but not shading the Lycopodium clumps were Salix caprea L, 
Sorbus aucuparia L and S. intermedia (Ehrh.) Pers. (see photograph 2). 
Other low altitude occurrences in west-central Scotland included the bank of the Paisley 
Canal which has long since disappeared (Hennedy 1891) and dunes at Stevenston, 
Ayrshire (Smith 1896) where Lycopodiella inundata (L.) Holub. was also recorded. L 
clavatum has been found at no great altitude on both Bute and Cumbrae (Hennedy 1 891 ) 
but in the typical heathy habitats as is the case for the recent records from the 
Renfrewshire Heights, the Gleniffer Braes (B.W. Ribbons pers. comm.) and the Kilpatrick 

R -? cor i!? !° r _ .T^ Flora of Glasgow" 1. Some grasses and 

OLLGAARD. B. 1 985 Ecology of hybridisation in clubmosses, in Biology of Ptendophytes (ed. 

A.F. and Page, C.N.). Proc R. Soc. Edinb. 86B 245-251 
do,» H 3 n 1 !^5" Pteridophytes 3rd ed. University of Allahabad. 

cmSu R ?' R oL ' 4 " es of Lycopodium Am. Fern J. 63: 3-7. 

l«ccAbn 8 c a ,^°l an ' ] Sons Ardrossan 

SPESSARD, E.A. 1 922. Pro" , nd L obscurur 

dendroideum. Bot. Gaz. 74: 392-413 
WATT. AS. 1955. Bracken versus heather, a study in plant sociology. J. Ecol 43: 490-506 

FERNS IN PEEL FOREST A FIELD GUIDE by Brian Malloy, 1983. pp. 128; 145 x205mm. 
7£' S rZ<. bY thB De P artment of Lands & Survey, Christchurch, New Zealand. ISBN 0- 
477 061 11-7. Price not quoted. 

I have recently been given an excellent little book describing 58 species of fern and allied 

plants (Tmesiptens and Lycopodium) growing in Peel Forest an area of beautiful 

wilderness. National Park some 150km SW of Christchurch, New Zealand. 

Each species is attractively illustrated in silhouettes and line drawings in which the 

d.agnost.c features are neatly and effectively arrowed, and then listed in the legend at the 

page-foot. Two species, of Blechnum both yet to be formally named, are shown in colour, 

as is a map of the Park showing the location of some of the more uncommon ferns. This 

book ,s written for the informed layman and, as possibly 75% of the species are grown in 

bntish gardens, .ts value to our members is high. What is more it is an excellent example 

of what could be done in Britain and Europe. 

I hope it will be possible to get a small stock of these books in BPS Booksales. 



MRS. J.K. MARS TON, Culag. Green Lane, Nafferton, Driffield, East Yorks. 
In the autumn of 1 948 I was appointed at the Hull University College (as it then was) to 
develop a site in Cottingham as a botanic garden. It comprised about one acre of land, (an 
old market garden) and some three new greenhouses each 100 feet long. 
The only plants to start off the garden were a small collection of poisonous and medicinal 
plants in use for research work, and a good representative collection of ferns which were 
given to the Botanic Garden by Dr B.T. Cromwell. The ferns had already had a chequered 
career as Dr. Cromwell commenced collecting ferns in the early 1 920s, cultivating them 
at home both indoors and in a heated cedar greenhouse some 24 feet long. At the 
outbreak of the war Dr. Cromwell went to work at the research station at Auchincruive in 
Scotland and the glasshouse and the ferns went with him. On his return to Hull after the 
they all came. Dr. Cromwell was reader in Plant Biology and second in 
r P.. DO. Good. The latter was a botanist of the old school, a keen 

>f these plants was collected from various parts of the 

i 1 948 when I arrived on the scene. Dr. Cromwell donated his 
j (which was bursting at the seams with plants) to start off what 
was to become a pretty representative fern collection for teaching purposes. Unfortunately he 
never kept any records of whence any specific plants came although he spoke of visiting 
Mr. Askew in Keswick and Mr. Kaye in Carnforth, and, of course, he collected a number of 
British species during the war years in Scotland. One particular plant which always 
interested him was Asplenium marinum collected as spores from plants on the 
Ardnamurchan peninsula. Years later I returned to the same site for more spores, our 
plants having deteriorated; the colony was still there but only 6-8 plants were left. The 
plants I now grow are from these spores. 

It was the general rule of Professor Good that the garden should concentrate on straight 
species so very few frilled or crested ferns were grown. We tried to collect a 
representative type of both hardy and exotic ferns from each family to show students as 
diverse a range as possible. We had some interesting poypodiums, and in the early days 
had most types mentioned in Mr. Askew's list. Polypodium australe 'Omnilacerum', P. 
vulgare agg Cambricum' and P. australe Semilacerum' survive U ° m _ t jl° se< ^^ 
propagated vegetatively, and Martin Rickard is 
variety 'Jubilee' dating back to the time of Que< 
Barrowi' (if this is really the correct name) is 
For safety Dr. Cromwell and I always kept some plants of each type at home, but since his 
death most of his plants have been lost. Here I always keep one plant of most species in a 
cold greenhouse for extra safety. This corner of England is not an area noted for ease of 
fern growing. 

Some thirty years ago Dr. Cromwell found a fine form of Asplenium scolopendrium 
Crispum nobile' growing in a cottage garden at Aram near Beverley and I still have plants 

Many ferns were grown from spores after 1 948, especially from the botanic gardens at 
Cambridge, Oxford, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and also from the Chelsea Phys.c Garden 
where there was an excellent collection of ferns and selaginellas in the time of Mr. W. 
MacKenzie. Fern spores were also grown from the BPS spore exchange and I have 
corresponded with Mr. J.W. Dyce since 1948, although unfortunately we have never 

Pteridologist 1 , 3(1986) 

I have always grown a wide range of adiantums, hardy and warm house, and I am 
especially interested in them. In 1 948 we had Adiantum capillus-veneris, A.x. mairisii, A. 
hispidulum. A. formosum, A. venustum and A. pedatum and its variety 'Miss Sharpies'. I 
still have stock from all these species. In the warm glasshouses we had a wide range of A. 
raddianum varieties, most of which I still grow.. It is only the tropical forms I have been 
unable to keep going due to the cost of heating and lack of space. Many of these are now 
either reduced or lost at the Botanic Garden for the same reasons, or for general 
, or staff problems. 

Little Woodsia obtusa has survived well as has Woodwardia radicans and W. orientalis. 
Amongst the Dryopteris we always used D. filix-mas for teaching purposes, and D. filix- 
mas 'Martindale' and Barnesu' still survive from 1 948, but D. filix-mas Bollandiae' was 
lost some years ago. D. affinis Cristata the King' and D. affinis 'Grandiceps' are still 
growing well. 

Therefore, you will realise that many of the plants in my present stock have been grown by 
me for a good number of years and I have always been careful to collect spores from the 
best plants of a species. 

In the 1 950s and 1 960s we had a very large range of ferns in four heated greenhouses as 
well as a representative collection outdoors. The area of the Botanic Garden had grown by 
this time to some 1 6 acres. When I decided to take an early retirement in 1 978 I was able 
to continue growing ferns at home and gradually increase my range of hardy species, and 
f England with often very dry cold 
■ from hedges and shrubs) grow ferns in 


Ophioglossum in dense 
The habitats in which Ophioglossum vulgatum generally grows are old meadowland, 
grassy roadside verges, damp waste places, and sand dune slacks. A site where it thrives 
on the western slopes of Great Haldon in Devon is unusual in being densely wooded. It 
was found there by NT. three years ago covering an area of several square metres. 
Members of the BPS visited the place on 1 1 August 1 985. 

The wood (privately owned; grid reference 20/8785) faces south-west and is mainly ash 
(Fraxinus excelsior), which forms a dense upper canopy. In the middle canopy are Cory/us 
avellana and Crataegus monogyna. The main species forming the ground cover are 
Hedera helix, Mercurialis perennis. Ox a/is acetosel/a. Potent if la sterilis. and Viola 
riviniana, together with Rubus fruticosus. Less common constituents are Geum 
urbanum. Primula vulgaris and Taraxacum officinale. Below an upper layer of humus is a 
rather heavy loam, pH 6. The ground is generally rather damp; in fact a stream runs a few 

Though somewhat obscured by the dense herbaceous ground cover, the fern competes 
successfully with it, and of about a dozen plants visible in 1 985 half bore sporangia. The 
1 984 drought, exceptionally severe in Devon, caused the fronds to wilt but did not seem to 
have killed any of the plants. 


Pteridologist 1,3 (1986) 131 


RAY BEST, 15 Orana Road, Kenthurst, 2154, New South Wales, Australia 

e Editor that some of the British members are keenly 
ems that might grow satisfactorily in England. 
Here in Kenthurst (called Kent Forest originally by a pioneer farmer from Kent in England) 
in a tree protected gully I have grown quite a few tree ferns over a period of some 1 6 years. 
Since in all my articles I prefer to describe only ferns I have grown, usually from spores, 
most of the information given comes from practical experience only. However, I must 
admit it is somewhat difficult to understand growing conditions in the Northern 
Hemisphere. May I recall from our own BPS Fern Gazette, Volume 11, Parts 2 & 3 in 
1975, an excellent article with maps showing the world distribution of Cyatheaceae titled 
The biogeography of endemism in Cyatheaceae' by Tryon and Gastony. Obviously from 
this article we can see thatthe temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere are devoid of 
naturally growing tree ferns; however, from myreading I realisethat many tree ferns have 
been grown in England, introduced by the early botanists. 

Here I shall list those species that I have grown successfully in a protected gully situation. 
Temperatures range from 30-35°C in mid-summer to 5°C in winter, with occasional 
severe frosts down to — 5°C even in a lath house. In a roofed and unheated greenhouse 
two successive nights at 0°C have been recorded. This would cause some losses if no 
warmth were applied. Very few of the Australian species could survive freezing. Tree 
ferns do suffer in high and low temperatures. Burning of f iddleheads and exposed fronds 
can occur in summer while similar damage is caused by freezing weather in winter. This 
has never been sufficient to kill any of the species I grow here, so I shall attempt to indicate 
the hardier species that may possibly survive in England. Any damaged growth should be 
completely removed as it never recovers. 

Australian authorities have advised that we must use for classification Ferns and Fern 
Allies and Conifers of Australia by H.T. Clifford & J. Constantine, 1980 (a local 
publication). Previous names are given in brackets after each entry. Age, in years, of the 
various species in my garden from spore sowing onwards is given together with the 
height of the trunk after this time. An * denotes the species more likely to be hardy in 
Britain; of these the New Zealand species are probably the better bet. 

Family: Cyatheaceae. Smith. 
*1. Alsophila australis R. Brown. Australia, age 16 years, height 1 metre. 

{Cyathea australis (R.Br.) Domin.) 
2. Alsophila baileyana Domin. Australia, age 5 years, height 0.1 metres. 

{Cyathea baileyana (Domin.) Domin.) 
*3. Alsophila cunninghamii (Hook) Tryon. Australia, age 16 years, height 3 metres. 

(Cyathea cunninghamii Hooker) 

4. Alsophila marcescens (N.A. Wakefield) Tryon. Australia, age 5 years, 

(Cyathea marcescens N.A. Wakefield) 

5. Alsophila rebeccae F. Muell. Australia, age 2 years, small plant only, no caudex. 

(Cyathea rebeccae (F. Muell) Domin.) 

6. Alsophila robertsiana F Muell. Australia, age 2 years, small plant only, no caudex. 

(Cyathea robertsiana (F. Muell) Domin.) 
•7. Alsophila woo/siana F. Muell. Australia, age 5 years, height 1 metre. 

(Cyathea woolsiana (F. Muell) Domin.) 
*8. Cyathea brown,, Swartz: Hooker. Norfolk Island, age 16 years, height 6 metres. 
*9. Cyathea dealbata Swartz (Rox) Morton. New Zealand, age 1 5 years, height 1 metre. 
10. Cyathea dea/ga rdi Sieob. Argentina, age 5 years, height 0.3 metres. 

•1 1 Cyathea medullans Swartz. New Zealand, age 5 years, height 0.3 metres. 
*12. Cyathea muelleri Baker. New Guinea, age 10 years, height 2 metres. 
13. Cyathea robusta (C. Moore) Holtt. Lord Howe Island, age 3 years, no caudex. 
•14. Sphaeropteris australis (Presl.) Tryon. Australia, age 15 years, height 3 metres. 
(Cyathea leichhardtiana (F. Muell) Copel.) 

15. Sphaeropteris celebica (Blume) Tryon. Australia, age 2 years, small plant, 

no caudex. 

(Cyathea celebica Blume) 

1 6. Sphaeropteris concinna (Baker) Tryon. Australia, age 5 years, height 1 metre. 

(Cyathea felina Roxb.) Morton) 
*17. Sphaeropteris cooperi(F. Muell) Tryon. Australia, age 15 years, height 3 metres. 

(Cyathea cooperi Hook: F. Muell: Domin.) 
Possibly hardy species have been asterisked; other types, often softer, may however suit 
English conditions, and could be tried if desired. Unfortunately some non-hardy species 
are very beautiful — such as Cyathea robusta from Lord Howe Island — but they are worth 

Detailed cultural descriptions are not necessary here, rather a general coverage of local 
growth conditions should indicate their requirements. Cyathea species grow much faster 
than Dicksonia species along our east coast. The gully where I grow all my outdoor types 
has been created over a period of some 16 years. Eucalyptus species (Australian gum 
trees) were first planted to provide overhead cover — Eucalyptus salignus (Sydney Blue 
Gum), E. robusta, Acasia elata, etc. These are all evergreen species that create both 
winter and summer protection. Those leaves that do fall tend to rot down to a somewhat 
acid soil; however the leaves of deciduous trees are very useful in providing an excellent 
mulch for all young ferns. Obviously some protection either by evergreen trees, or an 
artificial construction, would be necessary during an English winter; summer should look 
after itself. Before my trees were established I constructed a tree guard-like structure over 
which a heavy plastic cover could be placed both in summer (excess heat) and winter 
(excess cold). Once the trees were established no further protection was necessary. 

Family: Cyatheaceae. sub-family Dicksoniaceae. 
•1 8. Dicksonia antartica Labill. Australia, Tasmania, age 1 6 years, height 1 .52 metres. 
*19. Dicksonia fibrosa Colenso. New Zealand, age 10 years, height 1 metre. 
*20 Dicksonia squarrosa Swartz. New Zealand, age 14 years, height 1.52 metres. 
21 Dicksonia youngiae C. Moore. Queensland, and New South Wales, age 14 years, 

height 2 metres. 
Of the four Dicksonia species mentioned Dicksonia youngiae may be the most difficult as 

r conditions if 
. Basically they are much slower growing than the Cyathea species, both 
in spore development and in general growth. As the seasons are reversed with spore 
transfer, germination would possibly take twice as long. In my experience of spore culture 

Family: Osmundaceae. 
*22. Todea barbara (L) T. Moore. Australia, age 16 years, no caudex. 
Slow to develop from spores and very slow growing; I 
Blue Mountains area of New South Wales with a cai 
almost 2 metres high. It was possibly 200 years old. Once e 
very hardy and tenacious fern. 

Pteridologist 1,3 (1988] 


ROD HILL, 41 Kareela Road, Franksten, Victoria 3199, Australia 
In 1890, Lowe described over 360 varieties of the British fern, Potystichum 
Even after discarding insignificant forms, Druery, in 1902, still recognised 173 varieties. 
That so many variations in the one species are recorded from such a small region seems 
rather amazing to me, and it would be reasonable to assume that some natural variation is 
to be expected in other species, including our own native Australian ferns. With this in 
mind, I set about making a study of our own shield fern, Polystichum proliferum. 
I encountered it in the wild. 

Briefly, P. proliferum is a large, tufted fern 
commonly about 80cm long, forming a symmetrical rosette about an erect scaly crown. 
Each frond normally produces 2 or 3 bulbils near the tip. The fern is one of Victoria's most 
common and hardy, being found in moist forest and along creek banks from sea level to 
sub-alpine regions, often forming quite extensive stands. It has been quite common in 
cultivation in Victoria for many years, long before the current upsurge of interest in ferns, 
and tends to be somewhat overfooked by present-day fern enthusiasts. 
However, P.proliferum has proven to be a most interesting subject for study, showing 
considerable variation in shape and division of the frond, as the ten illustrated pinnae 
show. While growing conditions will undoubtedly influence the appearance of a fern, it 
seems certain that the differences illustrated are due to more than environmental factors. 
Firstly, several groups of pinnae were collected from ferns growing in very close 
proximity. For example, pinnae numbers 1 and 2 were obtained from plants growing along 
a creek bank in the Grampians, a rugged mountain range just over 200km west of 
Melbourne (and were growing in the company of more 'normal' looking forms). Numbers 
3, 4 and 5 are from Mt. Cole State Forest (about 160km west of Melbourne) and again, 
while each form was growing in almost pure stands, the patches were abutting each 
other. I have propagated a number of these forms from bulbils and, while as yet they are 
still only small plants (to about 1 0cm), already the differences between some of them are 
quite apparent. 

In addition, pinnae numbered 7 to 1 are taken from mature plants already established in 
my own garden (under virtually the same growing conditions as each other). Number 8 
originated in the Dividing Range east of Melbourne and is fairly typical of many plants 
found in cultivation and in the wild throughout Victoria. Numbers 7 and 9 are from 
isolated occurrences, again to the east of Melbourne, and number 1 is from the coastal 
ranges near Apollo Bay (160km south-west of Melbourne). These four plants have 
obviously maintained their individuality in cultivation. 

Pinna number 6 was collected from one of a population of P. proliferum growing at Mt. 
Wilson in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. 

s of P. proliferum n 

at least do retain their distinctive characteristics and 
■ attention. Although a rather long term project, it would also be 
j propagation of these forms from spore in the hope of 
producing even more diverse varieties. Who knows, perhaps in time P. proliferum may 
even rival P. setiferum with its 173 varieties. 

7 Ferns and Fern Allies. 

ft 1 
1 1 1 


Pteridologist y , 3(1986) 135 


NICK HARDS, Holme Cottage, Kyme Road, Heckington Fen, Sleaford, Lines. NG34 9NA 
I joined the Society at the meeting in the Cotswolds in 1 978, and my first day as a member 
was memorable for two reasons. In the morning I found Polystichum setiferum 
'Divisilobum' growing wild — it is a particularly good variety and growing well now in my 
garden — and in the afternoon we went to see Philip Coke's garden. I was most impressed 
by the numerous species and varieties he grew, and filled with enthusiasm. I am pleased 
that he has now written about his method of growing new varieties (Coke, 1 985), and I 
hope other members will be encouraged to experiment. 

My first experiments were made a couple of years later, with mixed sowings of varieties of 
Dryopteris filix-mas and of Athyrium filix-femina, and when I moved house in 1 981 I was 
able to take with me two large boxes of young plants. Unfortunately that wasthe start of a 
very hard winter and the Lady Ferns did not appreciate being buried under thick snow, 
then frozen solid for a month after a temporary thaw, then again buried by snow. 

The Male fern varieties which I mixed were 'Linearis', Linearis polydactyla' and 
'Martindale' from the Spore Exchange, and spores from a handsome robust crested Male 
Fern I found growing wild near Austwick. All these characters were reproduced in the 
progeny and many duplicates went to good homes inside and outside the Society (some 
were even sold at church fetes!). I think somewhere along the line spores of a lovely dwarf 
variety, 'Crispa cristata', must have crept in, and these were responsible for three of 
the best mixtures'. Two dwarf plants have crisped and truncated pinnules and the pinnae 
terminate in elegant little crests. I suspect these have Linearis' (Fig. h) or Linearis 
polydactyla' (Fig. g) in their parentage. The third is dwarf, narrow, heavily crested and 
crisped, and is my favourite — possibly a cross with the Austwick plant (Fig.f). 
There is also a very fine full sized crested Male Fern intermediate between "Linearis 
3 Austwick plant, and a 'Linearis polydactyla' (Fig. g) with very prolific 
.'Rather surprisingly, as well as some very ordinary Male Ferns, I have one plant 
from the sowing which looks very much like the variety 'Decomposita' (Fig. e). Although I 
did not know it at the time, I was already growing Decomposita' from spores collected the 
previous year. I saw a very handsome fern in a garden, without knowing what it was, and 
collected the spores. I doubt however if any spores could have lingered in my house for a 
year and possibly this was a partial reversion to the type from Linearis 
The Lady Fern varieties which I mixed were 'Digitata' (Fig. a), 'Grandiceps' and 
Percristata' (Fig. b) from the Spore Exchange, plus spores from Angusto-cruc.ata 
The last is an ugly name for a beautiful plant, which I found in the garden of a Victorian 
house in Manchester. I thought several junior plants were going to be percr.state but they 
succumbed to the weather. I have however several good plants which are st.ll thriving 
plus a couple which are extremely ugly. One is cruciate at the top but cristate lower down, 
and strongly resembles plants which I have seen other members of u th * s ™ et ^ m ? '° 
give away! There are two good normal Grandiceps' and another which is ^darker ^green 
and depauperate. Fortunately I have one good Cruciata' <Fig.c) - Ray Smith has an 
offset and I have sent spores to the Spore Exchange this year. The surprise is an incised 
form (fig . d) which gets better every year. It has some bifid tips but is not crested. Hopefully 
it may be the parent of something even better. 

I have to admit that my early successes are only part of the story I grew a magnificent pot 
of moss when I tried a mixture of Polystichum setiferum varieties. I have at the moment 
twenty clay pots in the greenhouse from last year's efforts — not only are there no ferns, 
s well! On the other hand, I have a hundred or so 
3d out and are now begging 

Pteridologist 1, 3(1986) 

femina 'Digitata' 
b) A.f. 'Percristata' 
c)A.f. Cruciata' 

me to pot them up singly. The trouble is, of course, I do not know which, if any, are any good. 
It is extremely satisfying to try and raise your own varieties. There may be better plants in 
other collections, but even the monstrosities have a certain appeal when you raise them 
yourself. You do not need to be an expert — just lucky. (I did not know what some of these 
varieties looked like when I sent for the spores). Best of all, it is a continuing story — some 
of my more interesting plants are now producing spores which may lead to more 
surprises. One good idea might be to mix dwarf and large varieties, judging by my 
experience with Male Ferns. And bear in mind that, if you keep a record of what you mix, 
even if your best plants are later lost the cross breeding can be repeated. 


J.W. DYCE, 46 Sedfey Rise, Loughton. Essex IG10 1 LT 

This year I have very little to say about new variety finds in the wild. Even Martin Rickard 

can contribute very little — two finds of Polypodium australe 'Semilacerum', as well as a 

minor variation in Blechnum, and a narrow form of Oreopteris limbosperma. 

Last summer Martin and I explored some Monmouthshire gardens which had belonged to 

fern men in the last century. Several very good varieties of Polystichum setiferum were 

found, among them many divisilobes which, we are sure, must have had names. 

However, so many divisilobe variations look so much alikethat it would be impossible now 

to link them to any particular names. 

Our member Ron King last summer sent to me for naming a frond from a very fine 

Polystichum setiferum "Divisilobum' from a local nursery near his home in Kent. It is a 

very large-growing deltoid form and a perfectly divided classic example of the variety, 

almost approaching 'Plumoso-divisilobum'. I am told the plant came to the nursery from 

Germany and it woul 

Once again Ray Smith has been finding things. He sent me a 30-inch frond from a very 
narrow cruciate form of P. setiferum. It is rather irregular with a Grandidens' type of 
pinnule and is bulbiferous. Ray grew the plant from a bulbil he collected some years ago 
from a Warwickshire garden and it is now a very impressive plant. He also sent me a 
photocopy of a frond from an Asplenium adiantum-nigrum he found in Orkney last 
summer. This is a ramose form and one of 5 fronds growing from a fissure in serpentine 
rock. While not an exciting garden plant, it was an interesting find. 
I made a good "find" in my garden last summer — an Athyrium filix-femina which I had 
collected several years ago as a tiny sporeling with a Grandidens' look about it. 
Overlooked and forgotten, it had quietly flourished and was a most pleasant surprise 
when finally spotted last year. It has become a very good example of its kind and features 
among the illustrations to my article on 'Grandidens' in this issue. Well worth naming, I 
am calling it 'Spinosissimum' (most spiny). 

Many good finds have come from the spore-pots of our dedicated breeders in the past, 
and still continue to come. Foremost in this field are Ray and Rita Coughlin who, in recent 
years, have added greatly to the fern riches for our gardens. I won't say more aboutthem 
here, as I understand they are contributing a paper for this issue and I might, 
inadvertently, "tread on their toes", lam pleasedto see that Jean Marston who has a fern 
nursery near Driffield in East Yorkshire, is becoming active in the breeding field. She has 
sent me fronds from a small deltoid Athyrium with very imbricate and densely divided 
pinnules and crested pinnae. It is rather reminiscent of a dense plumoso-divisilobe in P. 
setiferum. It is still a young plant but promises to become something really good when 
fully grown. 

For the past several years Judith Jones from Seattle in the USA has been producing first- 
rate new varieties from our British ferns, in which she specialises, in her small nursery. 
Now, she has gone into partnership with another nurseryman, Torben Barfod, and good 
things are beginning to come faster. In this issue she describes how they have made a 
new break in breeding a crested variety of Adiantum pedatum which they are calling 

Judith always sends me fronds from her successes, for me to assess and discuss suitable 
names. A rather impressive collection arrived last year. They included two P. setiferum 
varieties, one with very large completely round pinnules, very much overlapping with a 
heavily-crested apex and deltoid in shape. The other has similarly shaped pinnules and is 
even more imbricate, but is long and narrow in shape; in addition it is bulbiferous. 

1 Pteridologist 1 , 3 ( 1 986) 

But in the package were still better things in a selection of her new Lady Ferns. One is a 
dwarf about 4 inches high and so densely congested that the pressed frond up to a 
thickness of almost a quarter of an inch. 'Uncoglomeratum' and 'Caput Medusae' arethe 
names that leap instantly into the mind when this frond is looked at. The large heavy 
division at the apex is a contorted mass of snake-like growth and the short pinnae are 
developed in a similar manner — a most remarkable little fern of which I hope we shall 
hear more. 

A selection of fronds from a sowing of what Judith thinks is A.f-f. 'Regale' which she 
received from the Coughlins, completed the package, and contained more exciting 
surprises. Some are slightly depauperate and qualify well for the 'Grandidens' section. 
The best one is an exquisite gem, beautifully lanceolate and perfectly regular in all its 
parts. The pinnules are very narrow with hair-like side divisions and very neat minute 
bristly crests. The pinnae have heavily-divided but very graceful spiny crests and the 
apical crest branches out into narrow bristly divisions. I have suggested 'Setigero- 
multiceps Jones' as a suitable name. Another frond has a similar build but is very 
i cresting much enlarged and dominating the frond. A suitable name 
etigero-glomeratum'. The other fronds sent may not be quite so good 
, but all of them are from superior plants well meriting 
propagation and distribution under a section name. 
I look forward to hearing further good news about all theseferns in the coming years — all 


Rare fern in a Devonshire valley 

Over several years both of us have unsuccessfully devoted some time to trying to track 
down the Forked Spleenwort (Asp/enium septentrionale) in Devon. According to theFlora 
of Devon edited by W. Keble Martin and GT. Fraser published in 1939, it wasfirst reported 
in 1 877 by the Rev. H. Roberts. That year it was recorded from two parishes, Christowand 
Hennock, but Keble Martin's comment attached to the Hennock record, doubtless 
referring to the same station', suggests he believed the plants to be confined to Christow. 
The most recent record is by Keble Martin himself, who recorded it from Christow in 1 938. 
Since then there appears to have been no recorded sighting of this fern in Devon. 
During the South West Region BPS meeting last year (see BPS Bulletin, 1 985, p.45.) a 
potentially suitable rocky habitat was seen in the distance although there was 
unfortunately not enough time to visit it. This spring (1 986) therefore both of us returned 
to the area, climbing through brambles and thick gorse before finally reaching the new 
target area. For the most part the rocks were disappointingly bare of ferns although as we 
worked nearer their base we were delighted to come across many fine plants of 
Asplenium billotii together with one plant of A. adiantum-nigrum. Thoughts of Asp/enium 
septentrionale had almost faded when at long last two fine plants were found. Each had 
perhaps 1 00 fronds 2-3 inches long. Renewed search failed to reveal more plants. There 
are however other rocks in the area, and other valleys remain to be explored, so hopefully 
more plants of A. septentrionale await discovery. 

This colony is almost certainly the one known to Keble Martin, but as it seems to be sadly 
depleted from the considerable quantity' reported by the Rev. Roberts in 1 877, some of 
which is now in BM, details of the precise locality are being treated as confidential. 



i holiday in the Isles of Scilly from 23 June — 6 July 1984 provided an opportunity to 
lake some observations of the flora of the islands. Amongst these were records of fifteen 
pecies of ferns, of which the following seem worth placing on record. Records of ferns 
om the islands were summarised by Lousley (1 971 . 1 975), who accepted 27 species as 
ative or naturalised in the islands, and additional records to 1 980 were given in Margetts 
i David (1981). We have not traced 

A surprising number of native fern species occur in the Scillies in view of the small land 
area, little more than 6 square miles in total. This restricts the available habitats, 
adversely affecting the diversity of flowering plants, despite the extreme south-westerly 
position of the islands and their very mild climate. There is no longer any natural 
woodland in the islands and tree cover occurs only around the gardens on Tresco and in a 
few limited areas on St. Mary's. As a result, the whole area is subject to high winds and 
salt spray. Lousley (1971) discusses these effects and reviews the available habitats. 
However, whilst some species, notably Pteridium aquilinum (L) Kuhn and Asplenium 
marinum L, are widespread and common in suitable habitats on all the larger islands, 
many others, such as some of the wall-inhabiting species of Asplenium and allied genera, 
are rare. Several alien species have also become established, though none are common. 
Though the 1 5 species we observed amount to little more than half the total known from 
the islands, this is, perhaps, not so bad in view of the fact that 2 of the species included by 
Lousley {Dryopteris aemula (Ait.) Kuntze and Polystichum aculeatum (L.) Roth) have not 
been recorded this century and 1 1 others are very rare. In addition, our visit was too late to 
record any of the 3 species of Ophioglossum. We were regrettably unsuccessful in 
locating any plants of Botrychium lunaria (L) Swartz, despite an intensive search in the 
vicinity of the Telegraph near Bar Point, its only known station in Scilly. Considerable 
disturbance still occurs here in addition to that observed by Lousley (1971). We were also 
unable to locate any Ceterach officinarum DC, recorded by Lousley from walls at Higher 
Town, St. Martins, or Asplenium ruta-muraria L. The latter was reported in the islands in 
the mid- 1 9th century (see Lousley, 1 971 ), but was not subsequently confirmed until 1 979 
when it was reported from a wall on St. Martins (Margetts & David, 1981). This may be 
one of the house walls which currently support extensive colonies of Polypodium 
interjectum Shivas, Asplenium adiantum-nigrum L, A. marinum c 
The latter remains abundant here, and we counted over 30plantsoi 
is virtually absent elsewhere in the islands. The reason for this is uncertain, though the 
resistant granite blocks from which most of the island walls are built may render it difficult 
for this species to become established. One of its previous stations was the old mill on the 
Garrison, St. Mary's, although this we were unable to locate. There appear nowto be few 
suitable habitats for this species on the Garrison and, though the sheltered inner wall of 
the old well seemed a likely candidate, this supports only Asplenium marinum. This is 
nevertheless a very well-developed colony, with fronds up to about 70cm long, the most 
luxuriant growth we encountered anywhere in the islands. 

Amongst the alien ferns, we were fortunate to discover a strong colony of Cyrtomium 
falcatum (L.f.) C. Presl in a roadside hedge near Rose Hill, St. Mary's, growing with 
Asplenium scolopendrium L. and Heracleum sphondylium L. in deep shade under elms. 
This species, according to Lousley, was first discovered in Scilly in 1 956, under boulders 
on shore near Porth Minnick. We searched at this locality, but were unable to find any 
trace of it although, according to Mrs. RE. Parlow (pers. comm), it has recently been 
reported from this site. It has since also been reported in grazed rough pasture near Porth 
Hellick (Corkhill, 1977) and was recorded 'in two places on St. Mary's' by Margetts & 

David (1981 ). The station reported here appears not to have been previously 
We found a single plant oiAdiantum capillus-veneris L growing in the well in the Abbey 
Gardens, Tresco. This is extremely rare in the Scillies according to Lousley, though now 
abundant around the Gardens' greenhouses according to Mrs. Parlow (pers. comm). 
Another alien, Blechnum cordatum (Deav.) Hieron {B. chilense in recent literature), has 
long been known from ditches near Salakee and remains well-established there. The 
native member of the genus, B. spicant (L) Roth, is extremely rare on Scilly, and was 
considered by Lousley to be probably extinct. It was reported in the 1 9th century from near 
Giant Castle, Salakee Downs, but has not been rediscovered hitherto on St. Mary's. 
However, 3 plants were reported in 1975 from Lower Town, St. Martins (Margetts & 
David, 1 981 ), and the species is known otherwise only from the Tresco gardens, where it 
is presumably under cultivation. We are, therefore, very pleased to report here a good 
colony discovered on St. Mary's growing under Pteridium. Lonicera and Luzula sp. on the 
southern edge of a sunken track leading down to a launching point on the shore below Toll 
Hill (SV 926121). One large fertile plant and several small plants occur here. 

CORKHILL, P. 1977. Cyrtomium falcatum naturalised on Rhum. Fern. Gaz. 11: 277. 

m Abbot. 
LOUSLEY, J.E. 1975. Flowering Plants and Ferns in the Is/es of Scilly. Isles of Scilly Museum 

Publication No. 4. 
MARGETTS, L.J. & DAVID, R.W. 1981/1 Review of the Cornish Flora 1980. Institute of Cornish 


Irish Fern Stamps 

On 20 March this year the Post Office of Ireland (Eire) issued a set of stamps devoted to 
Irish ferns in their series illustrating the Fauna and Flora of Ireland. The three values are: 
24p - Harts-tongue Fern, 28p — Rusty-back Fern and 46p — Killarney Fern. It is 
interesting to note that, to my knowledge, this is only the second fern stamp issue made by 
any country. The first was the issue by Guernsey in 1 975 of four stamps depicting ferns to 
be found on that Island. We were closely associated with this for the reason that one of the 
ferns chosen was Asplenium x sarniense, a new fern hybrid for Guernsey and Britain, 
found by our member Dr Anne Sleep during a BPS field meeting on the Island in 1971 I 
still have a small supply of first day of issue covers, with the four stamps affixed, for sale in 
BPS Booksales. I shall NOT be stocking the Irish stamps. 



RAY BEST, 15 Or ana Road, Kenthurst. 2154, New South Wales, Australia 

rtunity to visit this 
»d for future genei 
earea it is obvious thatthe original area was much larger; the only portion 
$ almost inaccessible mountain terrain. Surrounding farms give a clear 
j rich soil and the readily available pure water supply. We find lush pecan 
nut plantations, banana, pineapple and paw-paw stands. After having removed the rain 
forest, obviously the farmers realised that some protection from the wind was necessary 
to grow their crops. So most have planted wind breaks of camphor laurel trees 
(Cinamomum camphora). These imports with their beautiful light green dense foliage 

However they appear to be spreading rapidly to footpaths, roads, etc., and in some cases 
entering even the very forest itself; serving to indicate just how difficult it is to protect 
such a heritage. On entering the forest a number of attempts at replanting have been 
made by the Forestry Commission; boards indicate the tree types planted and the time of 
sowing; here considerable confusion also exists, as seedlings of many of the existing 
trees have penetrated these new areas along with weeds and shrubs; unfortunately the 
result is far from effective. 

Upon entering the undisturbed forest area itself, massive trees festooned with 
Platycerium (stags and elks) andAsplenium (birds nest ferns) suspended hundreds of feet 
above the ground, create a cathedral-like atmosphere. Hanging mosses illuminated with 
the few shafts of sunlight that penetrate occasionally add to the effect. Within thirty 
square feet of ground cover here, we find practically every species of our native ferns 
flourishing. No wonder the Original Australians developed such a deep respect and 
attachment to their land and attempted to the best of their knowledge to preserve it. 
Unfortunately our time was limited, and it would be difficult and confusing to include a list 
of all the ferns, trees, palms, etc., that flourish in this area. However we did come across a 
few unusual ferns: one appeared to be a species of Diplazium, another a tree fern type that 
resembled Cyathea cooperii but with a much narrower trunk, with a crown of closely 
clustered fronds that left a delicately patterned caudex unlike any other species seen by 
us; also a large leaved Gleichenia microphylla and an unusual Sticherous species. 
Although we may make attempts to recreate rain forest and grow ferns in glasshouses 
and artificial environments all our efforts are fitful when compared to undisturbed nature. 
If in our efforts we attempt to propagate some of the species that are on their way to 
extinction and learn how to keep them alive, we can assist others to gain an 
understanding of the magnificence of undisturbed nature, and create a desire to preserve 


MAIDENHAIR FERNS IN CULTIVATION by Christopher J Goudey, Lothian Publishing 
Company Pty Ltd., Me/bourne. Australia, 1985. 336pp. over 430 colour photographs and 
world distribution map. 248 x 183mm. Australian dollars 59.95. 
This monumental and comprehensive work by Chris Goodey is going to be a "bible" for 
those interested in, and thegrowers of the beautiful Maidenhair Ferns. In Britain theyare 
very much loved and admired but, with a few exceptions, have to be grown in protected 
conditions, in greenhouses and as house plants. Many of them are so fine and delicate 
that even in warm countries they have to be given protection, and I recall with great 
pleasure visits I made to indoor collections in Florida and in California, which were 
breath-taking in their beauty. There are approximately 200 species worldwide, but the 
cultivars and hybrids of the popular cultivated species must boost the numbers to 

Chris Goodey is an enthusiast and this book is the result of many years' work and 
research worldwide. A very large number of species and cultivars are covered and it 
must have been a mammoth task getting them all sorted out and correctly named. A few 
of us in this country contributed a little help. Not only is the author an expert grower of 
Maidenhair Ferns, he is an equally expert photographer, as the colour photographs will 
testify — all of them, with a few exceptions, are his work. They are of individual fronds 
and the standard is such that there should be no identification difficulties. 
The preliminary chapters of the book deal with Methods of cultivation; Fern 
hybridization; Soil, water and light; Insect pests and diseases; Cultivars and variants; 
Cultivation tips; and Starting a collection. There is also a very good world distribution 

The main part deals with about 170 species and cultivars in alphabetical order, with 
accurate texts covering botanical descriptions, natural habitats, growing conditions and 
propagation methods, each accompanied by a superb colour photograph. Many people in 
Britain who have no facilities for growing these ferns apart from the odd house plant will 
buy the book just for the photographs. I must include myself among them, for all my 
energies are devoted to growing British hardy fern varieties, but my copy has already 
been well used. It is beautifully finished and the presentation is excellent. I expect the 
critical reader will find something to cavil at, but with no expert knowledge of Maidenhair 
Ferns, only a great admiration for them, I would hesitate to voice any criticism of such a 
masterly work. I am sure the great majority of readers will agree with me. 
I stock this book in BPS Booksales, selling it at a reduced price of £25.00 (inclusive of 
postage £27.00 - the book is a heavy onel). 



SUPPLEMENT TO THE FLORA OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE Edited bySC Holland. 196pp.. 8 Grenfell Publications. Bristol. 1986. Price: £11.50. 

This little book is excellently produced, easy to consult and makes interesting reading 
even if you have not got the original Flora of Gloucestershire (H.J. Riddelsdell, G.W. 
Hedley & W.R. Price, 1948). Two interesting fern records (Lycopodium clavatum. 
EquisetumsyNaticum) are illustrated by linedrawings. There are still things to be found in 
Gloucestershire (or refound) e.g. Asplenium billotii. Dryopteris aemula and 
Hymenophyllum tunbrigense. 


A very comprehensive collection is stocked by: 



Honeybourne Road, Pebworth, Nr. Stratford-on-Avon, 
Warwickshire CV37 8XT 

Catalogue on request 


Specialist Fern Grower 

A wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially Adiantums 

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

Send 45p for catalogue 


Specialising in North American and English hardy ferns 

Send two international Reply Coupons for Catalogue 

Judith I. Jones 
1911 4th Avenue West Washington, 98119, USA 

The British Pteridological Society 


r 4- n+i- 





Jimmy Dyce replies 


Adiantum pedatum: Another Variation Judith Jones 


Genome Analysis and Possible Combinations in the Dryopteris filix-mas Group 

Anthony Pigott 


Just Fancies R. and R. Coughlin 


In a Gloucestershire Garden Mary Potts 


Vegetative Reproduction in Ferns Martin Rickard 


Bulbil Production in Lady Ferns Vic Newey 


The Grandidens' Section in Athyrium filix-femina and Polystichum setiferum 

J.W. Dyce 


New Zealand Specimen Books Martin Rickard 


Records for the 'Flora of Glasgow' IV, Low Altitude Occurrences of Lycopodium c/avatum 

G. Steven and J.H. Dickson 


Fern Growing in East Yorkshire — the Cottingham Connection Mrs J.K. Marston 


Tree Ferns for English Conditions? Ray Best 


Variation in Polystichum proliferum Rod Hill 


More Experiments with Fern Varieties N.J. Hards 


New Fern Varieties — Wild and Cultivated J.W. Dyce 


Some Observations on Ferns from the Isles of Scilly B.M. Spooner and J. P. Bowdrey 


Terania Creek Rain Forest Ray Best 



More on the Maidenhair Fern in Northants D.E. Allen 


Fern Finds in Lincolnshire N.J. Hards 


Gymnocarpium robertianum in Cheddar Gorge Mary and Christopher Potts 


The propagation of Adiantum caudatum from Bulbils A.R. Busby 


Latin Varietal Names J.W. Dyce 


Woodsia ilvensis and Woodsia alpina Martin Rickard 


Ophioglossum in Dense Woodland N. Tallowin and T.D.V. Swinscow 


Rare Fern in a Devonshire Valley M. Rickard and T.D.V. Swinscow 


Irish Fern Stamps J.W. Dyce 



Guide des Fougeres et Plantes Alliees 
Ecological Flora of the Shropshire Region 
Gardening with New Zealand Ferns 
A Guide to Hardy Ferns 
Ferns in Peel Forest 
Maidenhair Ferns in Cultivation 
Supplement to the Flora < 


The Pteridologist Volume 1 

Published by the British Pteridological Society 

i METLOC. Loughton. Essex 

Volume 1 Part 4 

f 3 ^ '" 





Edited by 
M.H. Richard 

Officers and Committee for 1987 

President Emeritus: J.W. Dyce 


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

Editor of the Bulletin: 16 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 

(Tel: Coventry 715690) 

Assistant Secretary (Membership): A.M. Paul, 

Department of Botany, British Museum (Natural History), 

Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD 

Treasurer: Dr B.A. Thomas, Botany Department, National Museum of Wales, 

Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF1 3NP 

assisted by Dr N.J. Hards 

Meetings Secretary: Vacancy, enquiries to A.R. Busby 

Editors of the Fern Gazette: J.A. Crabbe, Dr M. Gibby, Dr B.S. Parris 

Material for publication should be sent to Dr B.S. Parris, 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB 

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

Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2HP 

assisted by J.W. Dyce 

Committee: J. Bouckley, J.M. Camus, C. Fraser-Jenkins, Dr N. Hards, 

J. Ide, R.P.H. Lamb, A.M. Paul, A. Pigott, P. Ripley, Dr A. Willmot 

Fern Distribution Recorder: A.J. Worland, 102 Queens Close, Harston, 

Cambs., CB2 5QN 

Spore Exchange Organiser: R.F. Cartwright, 13 Perry Mill Road, Peopleton, 

Pershore, Worcestershire 

Archivist: N.A. Hall, 15 Mostyn Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 5HL 

Booksa/es Organiser: j.w. Dyce, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

Trustees of Greenfield Fund: G. Tonge, A.R. Busby, B.A. Thomas 

The BRITISH PTERIDOLOGICAL SOCIETY was founded in 1 891 and today continues as a focus for 

3 of informal the medium of its 

ilso organises formal talks. 

and a spore e, Society has a wide 

i includes gardeners, nurserymen ana '.. , in d professional, 

me society s journals, the Fern Gazette, Pteridologist and Bulletin, are published annually. The Fern 
oazette publishes matter chief - | oteridology, the Pteridologist, 

topics of more general appeal, and the Bulletin, Society business and meetings reports. 
Membership is open to all interested in ferns and fern-allies. SUBSCRIPTION RATES (due on 1st 
January each year) are Full Personal Members £10; Personal Members not receiving the Fern 
Gazette £7.50; Student Members £5; Sut -mbership in any 

category is an add distant Secretary 

!k.?I? s ? bove) fr °™ whom further details can be obtained. (Remittances made in currencies other 
lvt ra % r Rn 9 3r 1 f 1 u 50extra t0 cover b ^k conversion charges) A.rmail postage for all journals -an 
extra £3.50, or for those not receiving the Fern Gazette £2.50. 
(Front cover, Onychium contiguum Hope, from Nepal). 

Back numbers of the Gazette, Pteridologist and Bulletin are available for purchase from the 

rectifying the omission. 

is not normally a thankless task. There is usually a healthy feed-ba 

members can often establish contact as a result. Requests for plants, s 

etc. are also welcome. Please remember all copy should be with me by 31st December 

1987 — but preferably earlierl 



32 Horn Street, Winslow, Buckingham, Bucks. MK18 3AW 
There must be many frustrated members who, like me, have small gardens so heavily 
planted that they cannot enlarge their collections of hardy ferns. But perhaps they have 
empty spaces in their homes just crying out for interesting and unusual tender ferns. It 
would be useful to hear about successes and failures in growing ferns indoors, sources of 
supply, and which varieties from the spore list have proved their worth as house plants. 
A recent TV garden programme, 'Going to Pot', showed a range of suitable ferns (mostly 
unnamed). They also suggested a diminutive (but anonymous) tree fern now said to be 
available in garden centres. My search so far has been fruitless, but probably the price 
would be prohibitive anyway! 
The conditions in my small Victorian h 
which is never very high) are not ideal f 

As well as easy subjects like Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'; Asplenium bulbiferum, 
Pteris in variety, I have found Rumohra adiantiformis and Doryopteris pedata Palmata' 
are quite happy here. Adiantum peruvianum tolerates my kitchen but my Adiantum 
raddianum 'Micropinnulum' prefers the north facing conservatory. The temperature in 
this dropped to 40°F last winter and I had to bring Platycerium veitchii into the house from 
December to March; Platycerium hillii 'Panama' and P. bifurcatum endured the low 
temperature, and all three came through their respective ordeals unscathed. Asplenium 
nidus and Woodwardia fimbriata also coped with the low conservatory temperature. The 
Woodwardia is very handsome but I have not dared risk it in the house yet. 
Nephrolepis exaltata 'Suzy Wong' is growing quite strongly in a terrarium with one open 
panel, and also in a hexagonal open-sided glass planter. I should very much like to find 
some of the lovely varieties of Nephrolepis shown in Ferns for Modern Living by Elaine 
Davenport. Even fanciful names like 'Fluffy Ruffles', 'Petticoat', 'Mini-ruffle' and 
'Shadowlace' do not lessen their desirabilty. Why do we never see them? 

J[j L2 8 1987 

It seems to me that there is great scope for experimentation and exchange of 

in this area of fern growing. 

Footnote: The nephrolepis varieties mentioned here are popularly grown in Florida and ii 

the Los Angeles area, in both of which I have seen the most wonderful specimens. Thi 

Los Angeles International Fern Society may be able to help here. J.W. Dyce 



Ormandy House, Crosthwaite, Kendal, Cumbria LA8 8BP 

» journal usually show such competence and careful research that I 
I my ignorance and muddling in Nepal, but it was interesting £ 

1 advance about the ferns and was 

s by Vidya Laxmi Gurung in the 1985 Fern Gazette 

I Park. Even so I had no means of putting faces to her 

150 species. 

a photocopy of that article, a Ministry of Agriculture permit to import up to 2 

f plants, an A4 pad and some spore envelopes. 

e Dr. Gurung when passing through Kathmandu on the way out and get some 
dhow I might identify it. I 
s (which features ii 

ie higher 
t eastwards to the Arun valley. I 
3 dropping into hot 
i again. Much c 

; correspondingly numerous and varied. 

s of our journey. I started 
, but quickly realised t 
d got. I then started folding fronds into my pad, and s 
and unstable portfolio. I reckon to have differentiated by these crude methods about 60 
species. There were certainly far more. There were many Polystichum species, all 
delightful; great banks of Nephrolepis; various Pteris and Adiantum species; a handsome 
Blechnum; Aleuritopteris in the walls, mostly, but not all, curled up like our own 
Rustyback in a drought. Aleuritopteris albomarginata is larger than most and exquisite. I 
found it growing on the bank at the edge of a rice paddy terrace. Many of the trees and 
rocks were swathed in epiphytic ferns, with rhizomes like polypodies, but as thick as one's 
thumb. These catalogues become boring and the accuracy of this one is doubtful, but I 
must mention one superb plant, Pseudodrynaria coronans (Wall ex. Mett) Ching which I 
saw growing among rocks but also, as its name suggests, like a giant crown around a tree. 
It has magnificent pinnatif id fronds about 4feet long with each pinnule comparable in size 
and form to a frond of hartstongue. 

Back in Kathmandu, maddeningly, I was separated from my portfolio. I went without it to 

t the Royal Botanical Gardens up at Godavari above the city. She was 

5 few fronds I then had with me, but most 

Pteridologist 1, 4(1987) 

is I 

cum Sledge, b) Potystichum mehrae Fras-Jenk & Khullar, 
c) Polystichum atkinsonii Bedd., di Don) Moore, 

) Ceterach dalhousiae (Hook.) C.Chr., f) Coniogramme ? caudata (Wall, ex Etting ) Cning n 
g) Polystichum nepalense (Spreng.) C.Chr. 

» Roxb., b) Polystichui 

2. Ferns in Nepal 

Pteridologist 1,4(1987) 147 

department started a herbarium in 1960. In 1976 they published a Catalogue of Nepalese 
Vascular Plants, listing 308 species of Pteridophytes, the latter having been written by Dr. 
Gurung (Gurung 1976). She estimates that there are in fact about 500 species. The 
Pteridophytic section of the herbarium assembled by her and her staff is magnificen.. She 
described to me how, on collecting trips, she sat up late into the night arranging and 
recording her material, lean believe it. Perhaps it is as well I was not able to show her my 
disorganised gatherings. She would have been very shocked. 

There are bird books and flower books in Kathmandu but no book enabling the amateur to 
identify Nepalese ferns in the field. Perhaps there is no demand for it; Dr. Gurung is 
accustomed to visits from pteridophytic professionals, but I think she found the eager and 
ignorant amateur a strange phenomenon. She showed me the Botanical Garden 
collection, modest by the standards of the herbari urn, but of great interest to me —what a 
relief to see a few labels! 

I have taken some photocopies of some of the less tatty 
which I was eventually reunited). I have sown 30 odd 
rhizomes sprouting rather hesitantly. 

So when is the Society running its first field trip to Nepal? For the ferns late 
mid-October is the time to go — just at the end of the monsoon. It is costly to travel but 
relatively cheap once there — perhaps £1 ,500 - £ 1 ,800 for the trip of a lifetime, with not 
only a superb range of ferns, but the warmest of welcomes and the finest mountain 
scenery in the world. You cannot go on revisiting the Dryopteris hybrids for ever. 

1 976. Pteridophyta. In S.B. Malla et al (Eds), Catalogue of Nepalese vascular plants 
Bull. Dept. Med. Plants Nepal 7 1-27. 
GURUNG, V.L 1985. Ecological observations on the Pteridophyte Flora of Lantang National Park 
Central Nepal. Fern Gaz. 13 (1): 25-32. 


Thanks to the enthusiasm of your editor and the skill and kindness of Christopher Fraser- 
Jenkins I can now put names to my photo copies — and he says there are many more 
Dryopteris hybrids in Nepal too! 


AN INTRODUCTION TO FERN GROWING by Jean K. Marston, 30pp., 20 black and white 
illustrations. 1986. Price £2.50 including postage, available from the author, Culag, 
Green Lane, Nafferton, Nr. Driffield, E. Yorks. 

This booklet is Jean Marston's response to many requests over the years for advice on 
how to grow ferns. It is printed direct from typed sheets, and in style resembles recent 
catalogues. The booklet emphasises the basics of fern growing, and gives an annotated 
3 in the open or in the cool greenhouse. The 
>f ferns for different situations. These lists 
J on many years' observations. 

all round will form a good starting point for 




46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex 

Following the paper by Vic Newey in \ast year' s Pteridofogist on bulbil production on Lady 
Ferns, with particular reference to the phenomenon of their appearance on the backs of 
fronds of Athyrium filix-femina 'Plumosum superbum Drueryi', Martin Rickard has been 
"at me" again to write up an in-depth history of the progenitor of the fern, A.f-f. 
'Plumosum Axminster', a wild find by J Trott in 1 863 from the Axminster area in Devon, 
and its remarkable progeny. Fortunately, not only have I all the publications of our Society 
from its beginning in my possession, but also the present custody of what can be truly 
called its most valuable possession —for the fern variety grower and collector, the Press 
Cuttings of C T Druery, eight huge volumes into which Druery, from 1 882 up to the time of 
his death in 1917, inserted cuttings from newspapers, gardening and scientific journals 
of all his prolific published writings. Druery, it was, who made the big "break-through" in 
the second and third generations from the wild find of Plumosum Axminster, and, 
naturally, his writings are pretty full of it — and I am profiting accordingly! 
A.f-f. 'Plumosum Axminster' was a very good plumosum or extra feathery wild find (see 
Fig. 1b). It also bore numerous bulbils on the backs of the fronds, an interesting and not 
common development on the Lady Ferns. The fern was distributed by the finder and found 
its way into many of the best collections of the day. It was propagated from spores for 
many years and the results spread around amongst interested growers, but its progeny 
was always the parental or near-parental type until, one year, a grower named Parsons 
noticed a superior form, with much finer ci 
Plumosum elegans Parsons (Fig. 1c). It was 
of the parent. Like its parent it was distributed widely. 

Some time later, following correspondence with Druery on the subject of bulbiferous 
hardy ferns, a grower named J H Fitt sent him a very bulbiferous and fertile pinna from P. 
elegans Parsons. Druery was attracted not so much by the bulbils but by the beauty of the 
pinna, and both he and Fitt made sowings from the spores. Both sowings produced crops 
of almost all very foliose plumosums with heavy crests, a surprising and unexpected but 
very interesting result since neither the parent nor the grandparent had the slightest 
suggestion of cresting. Apart from a few, all were very similar in type but all had 
deficiencies, pinnae showing pinnule blanks or other deformities. Only two plants were 
uncrested and were, unmistakably, the parental type, P. elegans Parsons. Fortunately, 
among the others in his sowing, Druery spotted a perfectly crested plant, and this he 
concentrated on. It developed into his Plumosum superbum Drueryi (Fig. 1d), an 
extremely robust plant with broadly foliaceous and plumose fronds, with much finer 
cutting than the parent and bearing even and fine tasselling throughout, splendidly 
developed; even the pinnules were broadly formed, fanning out into wide sub-crests. It 
has been called the Mother of the Superbum section and still remains unequalled. Fitt 
was not fortunate enough to find such a plant in his sowing. 
In its second year, 1887, this plant produced a few spores and about 120 plants were 

These v 

i cresting of every / 

furcate to heavy grandiceps, the other quite uncrested plumosums. No two plants 
i improvement on it — a percristatum wi 


fanned out. This was named Plumosum superbum percristatum Drueryi. I 
divided to the fourth degree with extremely fi 

d tips had heavy delicately comminuted heads, the pinnae had broad 
e pinnules had pretty fan-shaped ones and the pinnulets were fanned 
t the tips. (Druery's description). Previously, percristatum applied only 

Pteridologist 1,4(1987) 149 

to forms in which the pinnules, the secondary division, were crested but in P. superbum 
percristatum the tertiary divisions were distinctly fanned out into delicate points. This 
fern was the finest existing crested form. Druery found that this variety was not so robust 
in habit as its parent. P. superbum Druery i, and grew to only about two feet high. We are 
not told the height of the parent. 

that were written about it, it is a surprising fact that I can find no trace of a good 
photograph or other kind of picture which clearly illustrates its details. The one I show 
here (Fig. 2) is taken from Druery's British Ferns and their Varieties, page 1 1 5, and claims 
only to depict one of the percristate superbums and not Druery's named one. The same 
photograph appears also in other publications of the time and cannot be j 

It is interesting to note here a statement by Druery that P. superbum Drueryi declined to 
repeat its first performance from its spore progeny. Later sowings yielded only fair types 
on its own lines. Also, whilst most other members of the "family" produced bulbils, P. 
superbum itself did not. I cannot say if this still applies, and perhaps some present 
growers can inform us differently — provided, of course, they are growing the original 
plant, and not one of its lesser look-alike relatives. I have more to say about this later. 

3 stood out from alltl 
incomparable P/umosum Drueryi (Figs 1eand3). It was a 
, feathery and light-green 
fronds. It was far and away the finest plumose lady fern in existence. A singular feature 
was its almost evergreen habit. Whereas its relatives in the greenhouse all died down in 
October, this fern, in the same house, remained quite green at Christmas time and rose, in 

P/umosum Drueryi became extremely popular in the fern world and was known as P.D. 

among its worshippers. The Royal Horticultural Society awarded it a First-class 
11, and the following year it was the Best Fern in the Show. Superb 
h "P.D." and P. superbum percristatum Drueryi were presented to 

Queen Victoria at Windsor and graciously accepted by her — I wonder if the plants are still 

at Windsor?! 

Certificate i 

A big discrepancy appears in some c 

is described by Druery in one of his papers as being f 

two feet wide, with pinnae five inches in vv/tff/?andpii 

another article, not by Druery, it was 1 8 to 24 inches high and 6 to 8 I would 

think the latter dimensions were taken from a poorly-grown out-of-doors plant — Dr 

Stansf ield states it was at its best when grown under glass. According to a photograph in 

my possession (Fig 3) the larger size seems perfectly feasible — but, I feel there was some 

exaggeration! Druery didtend to become over-enthusiastic at times over pet plants! I have 

to admit he is not alone there! In Fig. 1e the pinna of Plumosum Drueryi is shown to be 

very much larger than the other pinnae depicted, implying that the variety was indeed 

Pteridologist 1, 4 (1987) 

much larger. However, I have a very old and veryfaint photographic 
of P. elegans Parsons, showing it to be very much longer than the one in Fig. 1. I hope it 
reproduces clearly enough to give some idea of the size of this fern (Fig. 4). The impression 
was made sometime around the beginning of the century. This appears to indicate that 
the variety compared quite well in stature with "P.O.", and possibly the other two did as 
well — the only scale differences likely to be correct in Figure 1 are those between the 
varieties and the normal species form (Fig 1a). 

"P.D." produced spores and bulbils profusely but Druery succeeded only once, by close 
inging a bulbil through the winter — it produced a plant quite true to the 
i some seasons the frond backs were covered with the bulbils bearing 
3 fronds. Spore sowings yielded all uncrt 

In the sowing from the spores of P. superbum Drueryi were many other first-class plants, 
both crested and uncrested. In the cristate section some were magnificently crested to the 
fourth degree, with distinctly tasselled pinnulets, but not quite up to the standard of P. 
superbum percristatum Drueryi. In the uncrested section some closely rivalled Plumosum 
Drueryi, with finely dissected fronds and robust constitutions. Many were named — 
crested ones, P. superbum grandiceps, P.s. kalon; uncrested ones, P.s. crispatum, P.s. 
. foliosum, P.s. plumosissimum. There was also among them a very fine 

sitions" from the sowing. Does anyone know it today? It would be a gem of the first - 
! Other plants of almost equal merit were not named. The whole batch, achieved in 
s from the normal wild form and in three generations from the Axminster 
Plumosum, constituted a most remarkable and easily recognisable two sections which 
stand alone — even in their offspring they were easy to recognise. A very large number of 
plants was raised from their spores and from the bulbils of the bulbiferous ones. 
I don't know how many of these plants survive today — at any rate, by name. Judging from 
their reported production rate, they can still be around in great numbers. I don't propose to 
give them further special attention — apart from giving a warning. It will be noted from 
what I have just written that not only were the three prominent and outstanding varieties, 
Plumosum superbum Drueryi, Plumosum superbum percristatum Drueryi and Plumosum 
Drueryi, grown by the enthusiastic fern-men of the day, but also, in great numbers, the 
other plants of lesser merit and their offspring. The whole must have constituted a real 
treble assorted conglomeration of excellent, but really very much alike, varieties, out of 
which we are today expected to pick out the three elite onesl Can we? — I doubt it, and we 
are left with an assembly of three sub-sections, a crested Plumosum superbum one, a 
crested Plumosum superbum percristatum one and an uncrested Plumosum Drueryi one. 

Ml 987) 

I think that today we must settle for the three sub-sections and leave it at that. Some 
growers today may assert they have the genuine varieties, passed down to them direct 
from growers in the early years of the Axminster "explosion", but, in the light of what 
actually happened, could those early growers be any more sure than we are that they had 
the real things and not look-alikes? There I leave it. 

It is pleasing to know that we have members today, like Vic Newey, experimenting actively 
with P/umosum Axminster progeny. Both Martin Rickard and I have been keeping in close 
touch with his work. A follow-on paper to his article in last year's Pteridologist appears in 


Genealogical Tree of the A thyrium filix-1 

-wild find in Devon. NOT CRESTED. 

1 . A thyrium filix-femim 

2. A.f-f. 'Plumosum Axi 


3. A.f-f. 'Plumosum elegans Parsons' - NOT CRESTED. 

4. A.f-f. "Plumosum superbum Drueryi' - CRESTED TO FOURTH DEGREE 


5. A.f-f. 'Plumosum Drueryi' - NOT CRESTED. 

'Plumosum superbum percristatum Drueryi' - ^ 


'Plumosum superbum grandiceps' ) - CRESTED TO THIRD 
'P.s. kalon ) OR FOURTH DEGREE 

'P.s. crispatum 



PLUS - many others not named. 


major interest but their vast numbers and complexity were rather daunting to my 
beginner's mind. I quickly decided I had to sort things out and I welcomed the little book by 
E J Lowe, British Ferns and Where Found', which contains a very good classification 
system. However, it is not concise nor is it tabulated, something which my tidy mind 
demanded, but it was something on which to build and my first efforts towards my own 
table owe much to this book. In 1 963 I published an elementary system for Polystichum 
setiferum in the British Fern Gazette, Vol. 9 part 4. This was used in modified form by 
Reginald Kaye in his book Hardy Ferns. Over the years, as my knowledge of variation 
increased, my table gradually evolved to cover all types of variation in the British ferns, 
and I am fairly satisfied now that it is comprehensive enough for all practical purposes. 
Over the years several fern growers have made helpful suggestions and, in particular, I 
would like to mention Clive Jermy whose suggestions were revolutionary but most valid 
and I hastened to incorporate them in this final result. 

GROUP 1. CRISTATUM - Repeated terminal division or cresting. 

(a) Capitatum — at frond apex only. 

(b) Cristatum — at pinnae tips, with or without apical cresting. 

(c) Percristatum — at pinnae tips and at pinnule tips, with or without apical 

(c) Brachiatum — basal pinnae elongate to form separate fronds. 

(a) Angustatum — pinnae greatly reduced ii 

(b) Deltatum — pinnae elongated progressively t 

deltoid shape. 

(c) Parvum — frond normal in shape but greatly reduced in size. 

(d) Congestum — spacing between pinnae and between pinnules greatly reduced 

causing overlapping of leafy parts, often combined with brittleness. 

(e) Revohens or Reflexum — pinnae and/or pinnules reflexed to give tubular 

appearance to frond and/or pinnae. 

(f) Depauperatum — pinnae and/or pinnules reduced, irregular or missing. 



GROUP 1 . DISSECTUM - Margins incised or indented. 

(a) Dentatum — pinnae or pinnules with shallow regular teeth. 

1. Crenatum — with rounded teeth. 

2. Serratum — with pointed saw-like teeth. 

(b) Setigerum — pinnules indented deeply into narrow segments with pointed 

teeth or bristles. 

ond, pinnae or pinnules torn deeply into narrow irregular 
pointed lobes. 
(d) Incisum — pinnae or pinnules deeply and regularly indented. 
GROUP 2. DECOMPOSITUM - Pinnule sub-division into pinnule-like parts. 

(a) Plumosum — pinnules large and divided one or more times giving feathery 

appearance; with some exceptions sori absent or very scanty. 

(b) Tripinnatum — pinnules enlarged and divided into distinct pinnulets, or merely 

lobed — throughout whole frond. 

(c) Subtripinnatum — pinnules enlarged and divided into distinct pinnulets, or 

merely lobed — restricted to parts of frond. 
GROUP 3. DIVISUM — Divided; restricted to Polystichum setiferum. 

(a) Multilobum — pinnules greatly enlarged, very divided, final segments wide 

and foliose; texture soft, not glossy. 

1. Multilobum — divided up to three or more times. 

2. Plumoso-multilobum — even more enlarged and divided, final segments 

pinnule-shaped, densely massed and overlapping, building up into a 
frond thickness of one inch or more. 

(b) Acutilobum — pinnules narrow, undivided or sharply serrqte, very pointed; 

basal lobes distinct, completely or almost separate, narrow, sharply 
pointed; texture hard, glossy. 

(c) Divisilobum — pinnules greatly enlarged, very divided, final segments very 

1. Divisilobum — divided up to three or more times, final segments elongated 

and pointed, texture hard to semi-soft, glossy. 

2. Plumoso-divisilobum — even more enlarged and divided, final segments 

tend to be slightly wider and softer, semi-glossy; pinnae wide and very 
overlapping but not dense, preserving an open appearance. 

(d) Pulcherrimum — lower pinnules and rarely the upper ones greatly extended, 

slender, sickle-shaped, deeply divided; points run out into slender 
twisted threads capable of producing prothalli; texture soft. 

(e) Conspicui/obum — pinnules round, undivided; basal lobes separate and 


(a) Foliosum — pinnules wide and leafy, not divided, often overlapping. 

(b) Rotundatum — pinnules broad and rounded. 


GROUP 1 . RUGOSUM - Blade surfaces leathery and uneven, restricted to 
Asplenium scolopendrium 

(a) Marginatum — fleshy ridges on under and/or upper frond surfaces, parallel to 

midrib, usually marginal; often combined 

(b) Muricatum — frond surfaces rough and leathery, covered \ 


(a) Crispatum — pinnules twisted or crisped. 

(b) Linearum — pinnules very narrow and un 

(c) Variegatum — changes in colour. 

pavements form an extensive apron round i 

those round Ingleborough being the r 

and Pen-y-Ghent are more patchy. The topmost surface of all these 

is the top of the Great Scar Limestone, in the Lower Carboniferous. 
Above this is generally a fairly flat, boggy area formed by the lowest shale bed of the 
Yoredale Series, which are a mixture of shale, sandstone and limestone. There is, for 
example, a prominent band of limestone about 100' below the summit of Ingleborough. 
However, it is the Great Scar Limestone which is of most interest to pteridologists, since 
the grykes contain all the typical limestone ferns. In fact virtually all the Dryopteris 
submontana in the British Isles is found on the Great Scar Limestone. 

. The limes 

Chapel-le-Dale and lie at about 1 200', the same height as Moughton. I therefore thought 
that these pavements might also contain Polystichum lonchitis, the real treasure from 

Since Polystichum lonchitis is a montane species and in my experience only occurs on the 
highest limestone areas, I started looking on Scales Moor near Chapel-le-Dale. There 
were plenty of ferns including Athyrium fi/ix-femina, Dryopteris af finis, D. filix-mas and 
Polystichum aculeatum in the grykes. In other words, the larger species were common, 
and I was puzzled that there was very little Dryopteris submontana. There was also no 

After a fruitless search I moved slightly lower down and immediately found that D. 
submontana was the dominant species. I also found one plant of P. lonchitis. There was 
not enough difference in height for that to be an obvious factor, nor would the top surface 
be significantly more (or less) exposed. 

I believe an important factor to be the physical character of the limestone. The Great Scar 
Limestone is described in the British Regional Geology guide as 'thick bedded gray 
limestones often showing oolitic structure, with some calcareous grits.' All these 
limestones have a well -developed system of vertical and horizontal joints. The vertical 
joints are the main site of water penetration, and this gradually forms the characteristic 
grykes. In the limestones with the calcareous grits both the vertical and the horizontal 
are generally closer together with the result that the grykes are generally closer 
ler and not so deep. The extremely deep joints in the typical thick-bedded limestone 
ibly 4-5' deep) will enjoy a more sheltered microclimate and eventually develop a 
organic-rich soil. Alternatively, the joints may eventually become very wide and 
op a layer of turf. In contrast, the grits provide a more broken habitat, less sheltered 
and more rocky. The rocks are also somewhat porous and the soils in the grykes will 
contain more rock fragments and therefore be more alkaline. 

In the area studied, there is a gritty band near the top of the sequence, which forms much 
of the surface of Moughton Fell. Above that, the top layer is the typical thick-bedded 
limestone with smooth-sided and often quite deep grykes. Between Moughton Fell and 
Gaping Gill, on Ingleborough, are extensive limestone pavements but I found no D. 
submontana (though it may be present in small quantities)or P lonchitis when I searched 

t (1987) 

I also found no D. submontane on Scar Close Nature Reserve but it is abundant ju: 
south, again on more gritty rock. 

D. submontana, and probably P. lonchitis. 


1 they appear to prefer the gritty bands is that 
Gilbert (1970) noted that D. submontana tends to be absent 
where Mercurialis perennis occurs, which is the case on Scales Moor. The relative 
abundance of other larger fern species, as already noted, would also imply more 
competition. Any fissures in the sides of the grykes on the massive limestone tend to be 
tiny and only hold Aspleniums (A ruta-muraria, A. trichomanes and A. viride) plus 
Cystopteris fragilis. There is a greater range of habitats in the more gritty rocks. The floors 
of the grykes are probably less sheltered and also lighter, so the larger species would be 
too exposed, whereas D. submontana would be favoured. 
GILBERT, O.L. 1970. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Dryopteris villarii. Journal of Ecology 58: 



1546 Del Rio Drive. Fort Myers, Florida 33901, USA 

The purpose of this paper is two-fold: (1) 

bifurcatum ssp. willinckii from Indonesia 

plants indigenous to Australia were f< 

occurring in Indonesia. 

The new clone in cultivation is described as follows: 

Platycerium bifurcatum spp. willinckii 'Venose frond'. Epiphytic, growing in clusters. Rhizome 
much branched. Scales variable, like those of the species. Base or shield fronds resembling 
those of the subspecies. Normal or fertile fronds prominently venose, nodding, becoming 
h age than the species, but less decumbent than the subspecies, 

The epithet describes a conspicuous feature of the fern. Its venose foliage (fertile) fronds 
display conspicuously ribbed strands of vascular tissue mostly parallel the length of the 
frond, these comprising grooves on the upper side and ridges on the under surface. Other 
distinguishing characteristics are its gracefullyarching,dark, bluish greenfoliagefronds, 
and ultimate segments of which are usually short, very wide and obtuse, and its deep 
incisions on the upper margins of base fronds. 

The P. bifurcatum group when grown from spore has a history of poor survival and slow 
growth. Length of growth cycle to adult size is 4-5 years and to produce spores is 6-10 
years — the losses occurring mostly the second year. Accordingly, evaluation was 
hampered by losses in 1986 of plants from spores planted 2/85, these comprising 
straplike leaves 8 to 12cm in length. Even so, all individuals were identifiable with the 

1 58 Pteridologist 1,4(1987) 

parent. However, any likelihood of finding a superior offspring was hampered by the lack 
of mature spore-grown progeny. 

Growing imported plants, i.e., divisions or "pups" with live foliage fronds 30-40cm in 
length, was relatively easy and similar to others of the species grown outdoors in 
southwest Florida. Following the third annual growth cycle in cultivation, the foliage 
fronds, mostly lacking sporangia, measured 40 to 80cm long and base fronds 20to40cm 

According to a resume of several observers (pers comm), distribution is limited to very wet 
mountain ranges near Mt. Lewis, Mt. Fraser and Mt. Spurgeon inland from Cairns and 
Cooktown. Habitats most frequently occur in tropical rainforests 700to 1000m above sea 

Because propagation from spores is difficult and plantlets or pups are produced freely by 
adult plants, the new variety is best propagated vegetatively. The pups are easy to grow 
and may be expected to continue to thrive with ordinary care prescribed for the species 
(Hughes 1984). While completion of the growth cycle from planted spore at hand is 
awaited, habit in cultivation may be expected to portray characteristics distinct from the 

1 984. Platycerium bifurcatum in the wild and in cultivation. Fiddlehead Fourm 1 


Fern raising for free (well not quite) 

The average supermarket already contains many items useful for the enthusiastic fern 

grower. You may have to adjust your eating habits slightly, or, failing this, your friends 

may well be trained to change theirs and give you the empty containers. 

Some low-fat spreads come in transparent-lidded boxes which are ideal for spore-raising. 

Pricked out sporelings are quite happy in rectangular margarine and ice-cream 

containers. Use the lid as spill tray. 

} serving refreshments in throwaway cups I 
le have the empties. Last year I got a large carton full from a 
ited themselves from me entirely during this transaction... 
i-propagators when upended on pots and pierced for 

ventilation. Decorate large and small margarine and cottage cheese tubs for pot 

containers. Speed up greenhouse watering by placing pots on twin tub washing machine 

lids. Some will take up to 72 little yoghurt pots full of plants. 

Lastly, labelling. I cut up washing up liquid bottles to suitable pieces and use spirit-based 

felt pens for writing. 

I haven't found a way to get free compost yet. Someone out there please tell me... 

Pteridologist 1, 4(1987) 



Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, Richmond, Surrey 

It was over 25 years ago that the senior author was first introduced to the ferneries at 
Kew. The Supervisor in charge was our late and highly respected member, Bert Bruty, 
often seen on our annual excursions until the late 70's. Bert had three fern show houses, 
Tropical (No. 2), the Temperate House (No. 3), and the filmy fern house dropped in on the 
side of No. 2. Nearby were two narrow 'pits' for propagation, where every February Bert 
would sow a vast array of spores under the stone benches. Apart from the filmy-fern 
house which was landscaped — it was a walk-in Wardian Case, the others had display 
ferns in pots on stepped staging, but on the walls of a section called The Chapel' tropical 
polypods and davallias romped and a centre bed contained tree ferns. Selaginellas and a 
few species requiring high humidity (e.g. Thelypteris decussata with spectacular mucus- 
covered croziers) were kept in glass-fronted cabinets. Hanging baskets held adiantums 
(Cv. 'Kensington Gem') and nephrolepis. Number 3 had also staging with vertical wires at 
each end where Lygodiumjaponicum annua My grew to the height of the house, and at the 
west end was a pile of brick rubble and bracken peat over which Dicranopteris linearis 
scrambled. Bert had learnt his tropical ecology working on the Burma railway during the 
Japanese War, and his cultivation of this Gleichenia was a breakthrough. The Assistant 
Curator at that time was Lou Stenning, a traditional gardener who gradually accepted 
Bruty's radical changes. CJ can remember being in the potting shed when Bert was 
planting epiphytic clubmoss cuttings in Sphagnum moss. Stenning came in and 
suggested authoritatively that they would do better in loam. Bert's ind.gnation had to be 
seen as well as heard when he said, "Loam don't grow on trees, Mr Stenning. You know 

During Bert's tenure, most of his assistance came from the 6-monthly intakes of student 
gardeners, for permanent staff were hard to find or keep, although a full-time gardener 
and an assistant were part of the complement of the Fern Unit. JW worked with Bert tor one 
and a half years as an 'Improver Gardener' before joining the Kew Diploma Course and 
returned in 1970 to understudy Bert prior to his retirement later that year. Towards the 
end of Bert's career the New Filmy Fern House on the north side of the Orangery (which in 
those days housed oranges and not books) was built. Bert with the help of a bricklayer and 
students built the tufa wall and waterfall, and dressed this even bigger Wardian Case, 
which had to be looked at through plate glass. This very cool viewing corridor gave Bert a 
place to grow Japanese and Himalayan ferns, especially polystichums. The old filmyfern 
house was later pulled down to give way for the new Mess Room and JWs office. Mr 
Stenning's deputy, Stan Rawlings took over the Tropical Assistant Curator's mantle untH 
his own retirement in 1 972 and his place was then taken by John Warrington, a man with 
different ideas It was during his term of office that large scale landscaping throughout the 
Tropical Department was undertaken and ferns were 
now existed in a large complex near Kew Palace (the Lower Nursery, also the 
Miropropagation Unit and Curator's Offices) and these absorbed the research and stock 
plants that were used to refurbish the attractive newly landscaped Number 2 and 3 
Houses. The 'Chapel' was put down almost exclusively to selaginellas growing in near to 
natural forest conditions created by JW, whose post was now labelled Supervisor of the 
Ferneries and his full time fern Propagator. More interesting material was now coming 
into Kew 'from regular collectors, from students finding themselves abroad, and from 

botanists like T.G. Walker, A. Braithwaite, Clive Jermy*, Kew herbarium staff, and the 
garden staff themselves, who could no longer rely on being prisoners of war in order to get 
their tropical experience! 

So much for history. Bert's propagating pits and Houses 2 and 3 were being razed to the 
ground as the authors discussed this article in November 1 986. Nostalgic as that was, its 
replacement, the Princess of Wales Conservatory, was even more exciting. JW was 
promoted in 1981 to Assistant Curator of the Tropical Department and Peter Bradley to 
Supervisor of the fern collections. Both had considerable input to the new house. 
The concept of the new Conservatory began in the early 1 970's when the Curator, John 
> for future display areas particularly for the tropical 
; persuaded the authorities that the houses then used for fern, 
orchid and other tropical displays in what was known as the T Range, should be replaced 
by a more efficient unit of greater architectural interest. The planning stage required a lot 
of homework. The Public Services Agency, the division of the Department of the 
Environment that is responsible for government buildings, and one of their principal 
architects, Gordon Wilson, after travelling around Europe and North America on a 
Nuffield Fellowship, prepared the architectural plans. Eventually in the autumn of 1 983 
building commenced on the site of the demolished T-range. 

The almost diamond-shaped block contains ten zones within it from a cactus and 
succulent area to a walk-in mist forest cabinet. There are areas of open water with the 
Victoria Waterlily, and various landscaped banks ranging over a height of a three- 
storeyed house, with orchid, insectivorous, and mixed herbaceous zones, plus a small 
section to display seasonal tropical forest. At the northernmost end is an area set aside for 
purely decorative display. Beneath much of the house are the service areas and 
computerised control room to maintain the ecological parameters and regulate air, mist- 
flow and light, and indeed, under the main tropical fern area which is the highest point of 
the building, are the three gas-fired boilers. 

The display of ferns is mainly tropical, with a day temperature of 21 °C and 1 8at night. The 
area dropping from the top high level to ground floor is not quite as large as the old House 
2, nor does it have quite the same scope for visual display as the previous display house 
(No. 2) could offer, but time will show. The planting out, which took five months, was done 
entirely by Peter Bradley and his team. The outstanding piece is a 10m high 'rock face' 
(composed of fibreglass and made by Stephen Greenfield) with a falling cascade of water 
which Peter cleverly engineered to give maximum effect and prevent water leaking out all 
over the face. The wall, with bracken peat between the cast blocks, already looks quite 
mature, and amongst fine specimens already established are Crypsinus trilobus, Davaflia 
trichomanoides, Nephrolepis daval hides, Oleandra neriifolia, Platycerium willinckii, 
Polypodium verrucosum, Pteris tripartita, (already established as a weed!), Selaginella 
willdenovii and Vittaria scolopendria. In the pool at the bottom of the waterfall grows 
Ceratopteris thallictroides, Salvinia molesta and Isoetes philippenis. The water is 
recirculated and very little is lost. 


i geographical one, with size of any one planting dependent c 

material available in the nursery. Propagation of ferns at Kew for the past five years has 
been in the skilled hands of June Barcock who is soon to leave to take up a position at 
Duffryn Botanic Garden, near Cardiff. All the species on the waterfall are general 
Malesian, but a substantial area across the path to its left is entirely New Guinean, 
containing many plants collected by the authors, and this blends into a Philippine group 
ainly collected by Michael Price. The New Guinea bed contains an impressive specimen 

f Marattia w 

n epiphytic array of Aglaomorpha meyeniana, Asplenium i 

3 given to his 

Crypsinus albidosquamatus, Cyathea wengiensis, Daval/odes hirsutum, Drynana 
sparsisora, Microsorium cromwelli and in the ground Chingia ferox, Culcita villosa. 
Diplazium esculentum, D. petiotare, D. proliferum, Pleocnemia demidiolobata, 
Selaginella elmeri, Tectaria bamberianum and Todea papuanum. In the Philippine and 
Pacific area is a superb plant of Denstaedtia samoensis. 

The path then winds down through Africa, with Adiantum reniforme, Anemia dregeana. 
Asplenium aethiopicum, A. lunulatum. Blotiellia pubescens, Ctenitis lanigera. C. 
protensa, Diplazium ascendens, Rumohra adiantiformis and Selaginella versicolor, to the 
West Indies and South America. The latter bed contains beautiful adiantums {A. 
polyphyllum A. peruvianum), Blechnum brasiliensis, Cibotium scheidei, C. regale. 
Equisetum giganteum, Phlebodium aureum and Selaginella pulcherrimum. In the West 
Indies we find Adiantum petiolatum, A. tetraphyllum, Cyclopeltis sem,caudata 
Elaphoglossum crinitum, Faydenia hookeri, Hypoderis brownu, Ptens altisstma P. 
podophylla and Polybotrya cervina. Hanging in baskets are Davallia denticulate, D. sohda, 
Daval/odes hirsutum. Plat yceri urn grande. 

The eastern approach to the tropical f 

5 from behind the waterfall through a cooler 

zone of 1 5°C during the day dropping to 1 1 °C at night. The white, rather austere wall that 
is the reverse of the rock-face will be covered (given time) with the climbing fern Lygodtum 
japonicum. In the rocky beds on either side of the steps here are planted Adiantum 
reniforme, Cheilanthes albomarginata, C. argentea, C. farmosa. C PfMla 
Gymnopteris mulleri, G. vestita, Pellaea paradoxa, Polypodium furfuraceum, Selaginella 
menziesi and Woodsia polystichoides. A surprising plant that Peter has successful* 
established here is Helminthostachys zeylanica. A Culcita macrocarpa and Woodwa rd,a 
orientalis give height to one of the beds. Larger herbaceous include Adiantum 
Zollinger!, Arachniodes mutica, Ariostegia membranulosum, Atax.ptenssmu, Chmte* 
contingua, Polystichum fibrillosopaleaceum, P. polyblepharum and Pronephnum 
rubinerve. This plant, though large for a member of Thelypterd.daceae^.s ^extreme* 
ararpf ..I in the wav it holds its fronds which can extend for two metres or more. The soft 
tissue .ol la 20 P a!rs of pinnae isasoftpeachco.ouronwhichtheregularblackclustersof 
sporangia make a fascinating picture. It was collected by Dr Tony Bra.thwa.te on Esp.r.tu 
Santo, New Hebrides. Also growing in this bed, as vigorously as I always has done at 

Kew, is Quercifilix zeylanica collected by 

Professor Manton in Ceylon in 1951 

Peter Bradley has certainly c 

house and already it looks as ■■ » ■ 

Kew Meeting will bring both a surprise and pleasure. To some who walk pas tha \ ^ ran 

Old Manofatree.theginkgothatshaded the spot where 'no loam grew upon trees . there 

will be thoughts of former years, peoples and plants. 


FLORAOFTHEISLEOF M ANbyD.E.AIIen,1984,250pp.Douglas,TneManxMuseum & 

National Trust, I.O.M. ISBN 901 106 23 2. 


thus decidedly Atlantic with little variation in both seasonal and^a.^temperatures 

Geology is mainly acid slates overlain by glacial dr.ft 

of limestone which are only to be seen affecting t 

} flora is rich and David 

; book is full of interest. One of the early 

plants collected (in 1 809) was the Maidenhair Fern which is still found around 

Pteridologist 1 

1 mentioned that var. rotundatum was found by Rylands at Glen 
ict and does anyone still grow it? 

'quisetum x Morale is mentioned and may well be confused with E. x dycei especially 
where E. palustre is common. E. hyemale can be expected as can Hymenophyllum 
unbrigense, Asplenium billotii, Thelypteris palustris and Ophioglossum azoricum. The 
Dryopteris aff. carthusiana collected on Snaefell in 1969 was apparently identified by this 

er as a possible new allotetraploid and in need of more study. One must always be. 
conscious that the other parent of D. carthusiana may yet be found in NW Britain and that 

uld hybridise with D. expansa (not yet found on Man) to form such a new species. 
Miss Devereau's plant from the Isle of Man is therefore interesting. Perhaps the BPS 
should visit the Island sometime? 


CANADA by David B. Lellinger, with photographs by A. Murray Evans, Smithsonian 
Institution Press, Washington. 389 pp. 263 x 182 mm. Numerous colour photographs. 
Price $45.00 (cloth: ISBN 0-87474-602-7), $29.95 (paper: ISBN 0-87474-603-2). 
Four hundred and six taxa of fern and fern ally growing wild in Canada and the United 
States are described in this book. Of these 341 are depicted in colour photographs 
grouped in the middle of the book. Although small (70 x 45mm) these photographs are of 
good quality, usually showing each species in its native habitat. There are an additional 
50 or so colour photographs showing close-ups of diagnostic features of critical species. 
This book is not, however, a glossy coffee-table book, it is a scientific manual. There is a 
dichotomous key at the beginning of each section, while each species is precisely 
described, together with brief notes of distribution and cultivation. Entries under each 

detail could have been given, in particular, altitude range, fuller habitat preferences, and 
an outline distribution for each species in the rest of the world. I regret most, however, the 
lack of a map showing the distribution of each species within North America. 
Introductory sections are fairly predictable but towards the end of the book there is a 
chapter where hybrid complexes are discussed in detail; despite typographical errors in 
the Polypodium flow chart, this is a most welcome feature. The glossary is excellent, and 
there is a long bibliography which curiously lacks many references to older floras of the 
areas covered. There are, unfortunately, no maps explaining the climate of the region. 
This is obviously a very well researched book, perhaps too well researched in the view of 
some if the familiar name of Asplenium viride has to be lost in favour of Asplenium 
trichomanes-ramosum, and the now familar genera Phegopteris and Oreopteris have to 
be sunk back into Thelypteris. Is it significant that Thelypteris oreopteris illustrated here 
does not look like European material? 

Despite my criticisms, which are all minor, this manual will surely be the standard fern 
flora for North America for many years. Anyone with an interest in this subject will want a 
copy. Growers and professionals alike will find the excellent colour photographs, coupled 
with the descriptions, of great value, particularly when identifying the many critical 
species. Bearing in mind the overall quality of the book and especially the colour plates the 
price of $29.95 for the paper edition is not unreasonable at today's prices. 


Pteridologist 1, 4(1987) 


A year has now passed since I first reported the discovery of bulbils growing upon front 
of lady ferns. These have now developed into some very interesting plants and, 
; produced from 'Victoriae' are turning out to be qui 

The parent form is a robust, red-stemmed 'Victoriae' (Fig. 10), the origins of which are 
;ure having come into my possession as an apparently self-sown 

sporeling sharing a pot with a large Dryopteris 
normal with most of the prothalli producing tr 
tepid water; several others, however, refused to develop further even after repeated 
spraying and these were left until the following spring when I was amazed to find that 
they had increased considerably in size and I again began regular misting with a hand 
sprayer After several weeks I noticed the appearance of an apparent 'bulbil' upon the 
upper surface of a prothallus, a most unusual occurrence. This ultimately began to 
produce small fronds and, together with several others, was pricked out into trays for 
growing on. 

By late summer it became apparent that these plants were entirely different to anything I 
had seen before; bulbils (Fig. 1), the size of pinheads, were apparent on the now 2 inch 
fronds and these were immediately layered and placed in slight 
months a succession of fronds were produced, many of which wi 
these were layered in their turn. The resultant fronds were quite varied d 
growth, some being extremely beautiful and delicate whilst others were 
inconstant, occasionally betraying their 'Victoriae' origins by being cruciate (Fig. 2)and it 
is interesting to note that in the bulbiferous forms the rachis is always green. One form, .n 
particular, has now settled down and remained dwarf with numerous bulbils evident (fi* 
3), whilst others appear to outgrow this ability as they grow larger; one bulbil form has 
produced a few spores which I have sown in anticipation. The best form yet ra ' sea J^ 
most beautiful fronds (Fig. 6), the pinnules fanning out and becoming t,mD "« e ™ ne 
grown close; another plant, raised from a bulbil, has dense pinnae (F,g. 7) 
whilst yet another (Fig. 8) is setigerous. 

The non-bulbiferous forms are all red-stemmed and, unlike the parent, are of a golden 
green colour usually peculiar to plumose forms; these are mostly crucate although none 
are identical with the parent. One form (Fig. 4) has the upper -pmnules w,« >as >ton as the 
lower, whilst another non-cruciate form has retained the long slender pinnae and 
polydactylous cresting (Fig. 5), the pinnules being fan-shaped. 

It has yet to be seen exactly how many of these varieties remain constant and, m 
particular, the bulbil forms which may take some time to settle down owi g 
nusual mode of growth. 

grown exceedingly well and now h 

The 'Plumosum superbum Druery' progeny, 1 

B 9 inch fronds - quite amazing considering that, < 
r old although, to be fair, they were grown in gentle 
I dormancy period obviously not being applicable in 

than ever this year and 
evidence. These are in association v 

spore-heaps as well as in the axils of t 
phenomenon occurring on several plumosums 

I Druery himself refers t 
'Divaricatum' being referred to most 


eye, but only on very close inspection and, being o 

underside of the fronds, cannot be 

mid~, x „ ._ ,. Bulbiferous lady ferns and progeny. 

(1) Progeny of At , toriae - f orm fnrm *" l n , 

bulbil on prothallus(l 

progeny, dense overli 

2 form grown from bulbil on protha 
flapping form raised from bulbil (i 
' progeny, setigerate form (frond). 

development apparently 
iperbum Druerv 

pwards of 50 bulbils. 

12) Af. Plumosum s 
13)Af. Victoriae fo 
(14) A/. Victoriae' 

; showing large plantlets 

isterof plantlets 

compared with, say, Polystichum setiferum 'Divisilobum'. 

Fronds should be layered in early Autumn in gentle heat. I use a Sankey 

propagator which can be filled directly with compost or trays placed therein. 

preferable to place thin glass directly on top of the frond which should be upside < 

this ensures that the pinnae are pressed directly on to the compost and 

humidity to encourage further growth. When this becomes apparent, the glass should be 

removed and a 50/50 mix of dry peat, dust and fine sand should be gently shaken over the 

front surface; I use a kitchen sieve for this (hence the need for dry peat). The tray is then 

misted with a hand sprayer to moisten the peat, the whole operation being repeated as 

many times as deemed necessary to ensure the tiny plantlets are in close contact with the 

be left undisturbed for the rest of the winter, the gentle heat ensuring growth is continous 
until spring when the plants can be teased apart and potted up. 

In theory, all 'Superbum' plants in cultivation must be capable of producing bulbils, each 
being part of the original clone, the deciding factor obviously being the growing conditions 
available (see Figs. 9, 11, 12). As far as I am aware, my plants are grown in perfectly 
normal conditions in prepared beds, the shade being provided by an array of fruit trees 
directly overhead. Falling fruit becomes a menace in autumn and many windfalls are left 
to decompose where they fall and are hoed into the soil during winter. So, apart from this, 
my growing is perfectly 'the norm' — unless an annual plum and apple mulch is the 



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

In mid-December most gardens are probably approaching their lowest ebb. Short of i 
covering of snow things could hardly be worse; frosts have already killed most of th< 
autumn colour, while gales have snapped fragile stems and tl 

Nevertheless, there really are a surprisingly large number of plants in good f 
this season. Many have been described in great detail in several books (e.g. i 
the Winter Garden by Graham Stuart Thomas), but for me pride of place mui 
winter green ferns. 

The supreme example is the Polypody and its m 
Polypodium australe 'Cambricum' (several forn 

'Semilacerum', P.a. 'Cristatum', P. interjectum 'Cornubiense'and P.i. 'Bifido-grandiceps'. 
The fronds twist during severe frost but soon straighten out and regain their full stature as 
the temperature rises above freezing. The polypods survive like this right through the 
winter, finally back in May or June. Most Shield Ferns [Polystichum) and Hart's 
Tongue (Asplenium scolopendrium) also retain their summer form during these early 
winter days, raising their fronds above the dead ones of surrounding Lady Ferns 
[Athynum filix-femina) and Male Ferns (Dryopteris filix-mas) to make a striking contrast. 
Particularly good are Polystichum aculeatum, P. set, U most forms),/*.* 

Plumoso-multilobum', P.,, 'Plumosum Bevis' and progeny and various dwarf forms, but 
not the larger-fronded foliose types as they tend to snap in the autumn winds, 

Polystichum lonchitis is also excellent, while the related Cyrtomium fortune/ can survive 
well out of the wind. Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum', A.s. 'Golden Queen', A.s. 
'Ramocristatum' and indeed most other Hart's Tongue varieties also do well. 
Other ferns still attractive at this time are the dwarf Aspleniums and the Maidenhairs — 
Adiantum venustum, A.x. mairisii and A.x. tracyi, although these will soon succumb to 
winter. The dwarf Blechnum penna-marina (in its many forms) and B. spicant and its 
varieties should however last longer. 

All the ferns mentioned so far are, therefore, good plants for the December garden — as 
long as the fronds have not been flattened by snow or gales. But which are the dead types? 
Surprisingly, there are not that many. The most obvious are the Lady Ferns, Dryopteris 
fi/ix-mas, D. oreades, Cystopteris spp., Oak Fern, Beech Fern, Mountain Fern, the 
Osmundas and some other odds and ends. In effect, therefore, we are talking about a good 
proportion of garden ferns remaining green and in good shape well into winter. 
Ferns are, of course, not alone as excellent plants for the December garden. There are 
many fine evergreen and variegated shrubs, e.g. hollies, dwarf conifers, ivies, 
rhododendrons, camelias and many hebes, particularly the smaller leaved, hardier types, 
and for the first time this year I'm even trying Lomatia ferruginea for its fern-like leaves, 
although this may be a bit optimistic in my cold alkaline garden! 
Some shrubs even manage to flower in December, eg. Mahonia bealii, some heathers, 
Viburnum x bodnantense, V. farreri and Lonicera purpusii. It has been said that shrubs 
and ferns do not mix; perhaps that is right, but I feel they make a good backdrop and 
provide shelter, so they might as well earn their keep through into winter where possible. 
The bark of many trees also produces a good background for herbaceous areas; notable 
examples are birches, acers, especially the coral red of 'Senkaki'and the shaggy brown of 
A. griseum. the reds and yellows of some Cornus species and the subtler greens of some 

Herbaceous plants themselves can also provide a good foil for the ferns and shrubs, 
principally, of course, the hellebores. In December most Helleborus orientalis types are 
not yet at their best, but H. foetidus, especially 'Wester Fisk', H. corsicus, H. nigerand H.x. 
sternii are often already in flower. These can be enhanced by the foliage of the autumn 
flowering Cyclamen hederifolium plus, perhaps, the odd flower of C. coum, together with 
variegated irises and phormiums, the leaf rosettes of Meconopsis nepalensis and the 
fresh mottled foliage of Arum italicum 'Pictum'. There may even be a few flowers on some 

, the promise of things to come 
, Corylopsis spp., 
s of snowdrops breaking the surface 
s bulking up at the heart of the crown-forming ferns, all make a tour 
of the garden a pleasure on a mild December day. 

Of the non-fern plants mentioned above, in my opinion cyclamen are possibly the best 
complement to the fern garden, closely followed by Helleborus orientalis. but given 
sufficient space most are suitable. I have my reservations about snowdrops, however; 
they look fine in flower but the foliage eventually becomes very rank and rather messy. 
In this note I am not trying to claim that ferns are at their best in December; however, I do 
believe they are valuable at this time, along with a wide range of flowering plants. There is 
therefore no reason why the December garden should lack interest even if it is without the 
style and comfort of August. 


Searching through Druery's Press Cuttings recently for certain information I was brought 
to a sudden stop. The paper by Vic Newry under the above title in the last issue of the 
Pteridologist interested me greatly, and here was Druery writing at length on the same 
subject in the gardening press in December 1882 — 

"In a batch of young ferns raised from spores provided by Mr P Neill Fraser of 
Edinburgh, two distinct forms of Athyrium filix-femina have appeared this season 
(1882) presenting the abnormal characteristics represented in the accompanying 

In Fig. 1 the first frond evolved from the prothallus, besides being bipinnate and 
very foliose instead of having the usual uni-palmate form peculiar to seedlings of 
this family, bore two buds, one in the axil of a pinnule, the other in the axil of a 
pinnulet. The buds without any dormant period developed at once small palmate 
fronds and aerial roots, the growth being so vigorous that the roots were projected 
into a mound of soil raised at a distance of half-an-inch. The second frond produced 
bears four buds which are, however, dormant, the growing season being over. In 
addition to these axillary buds there is a whitish mass of apparent bud formation in 
the crown of the caudex at the base of the risen fronds. The same prothallus has 
! small independent ferns from its edge; these, however, are 
hich fact, coupled with the abnormal vigour of the main plant, 
points to hybrid origin of the latter. 

In Fig. 2 we find an altogether different form, very depauperate and ramose. The two 
fronds of this have developed no less than thirteen buds of which the majority have 
evolved aerial roots, one reaching and penetrating the soil. The buds in the first 
frond have thrown up circinate fronds which have so far not unfurled. 
The family of Athyrium, rich as it is in variations, has so far been remarkable for its 
non-proliferous nature. I have failed to find any record of a bulbil-bearing form. It is 
therefore singular that two forms so distinct in character, yet so alike in their 
proliferousness, should have originated simultaneously, and within a few inches of 

Finally, not the least singular feature is the extreme precocity of both forms, since 

bulbil-bearing ferns almost without exception are proliferous only on their ripe 

fronds, and when much further advanced in development." 

The press cutting does not name the journal in which this article appeared, but later in the 

same month it was followed by a further article by Druery on the same subject in the 

Gardeners Chronicle, dated 22 December 1 882 — 

"On November 2 1882 I exhibited at the Linnean Society two forms of Athyrium 
filix-femina which, at a very early age — on their first fronds, in fact — bore, in the 
one case several, and in the other case numerous proliferous buds in the axils of the 
pinnae. Enlarged representations of these plants were given in your journal of 
December 16, accompanied by a description and observations bearing upon the 
extreme rarity of such phenomena in the genus Athyrium, of which, indeed, at that 
time no record appeared to exist, though I have since learned that Mr Mapplebeck 
had observed bulbils on young Athyria of the uncum strain, and had even raised 
plants from them, which, however, apparently ceased to be proliferous at a more 
advanced stage. Regarding the plants of my raising, therefore, it may interest your 
readers to learn that while the first form discovered has ceased to develop bulbils, 

though several plants have been reared from those at first produced, the second 
form found has yielded this season numerous bulbils on its spring fronds, but none 
on its later ones — its very first fronds persisting, singular to say, through the winter 
in my fernery whence the frost is just excluded and, resuming growth in January, 
the pinnae forking anew dichotomously several times, producing numerous bulbils 
on the fresh growth. The small plants raised from this fern are fully as proliferous as 

My chief object, however, is to place on record the existence of this proliferous 
character in the same section, but in another and more unexpected direction, viz., 
amongst the plumose varieties, and this, too, on old full-grown plants. On 
18 this year, while examining a large specimen of A.f-f. 'Plumosum 
, bought in 1 881 of Messrs. Stansfield, I was struck by the fact that in 
the place of sori, for which I was searching, the under-surface of the pinnae was 
studded profusely with minute nodules surrounded shuttlecock fashion by scale 
Applying a lens I found the central excrescence to be roundish i 
green, while the scales were of a symmetrical lanceolate shape 
reticulated (Fig. 3). 

that they were bulbils but this, nevertheless, 

i beautifully 

i under-side of the fronds i 

Pteridologist 1, 4(1987) 

pinnae. I, however, determined to try the question, and laid down several pinnae, 
under-side uppermost, on sandy soil, dredging coarse silver-sand over them to keep 
them flat, and washing this off again sufficiently to expose the presumed bulbils to 
the light, the result being that on October 31 I was able to report to Mr G B Wollaston 
that their bulbil character was established, since in one case a frond with three 
pinnae had arisen, and in many cases the circinate form was evident. In reply to this 
announcement Mr Wollaston informed me that my discovery had been anticipated, 
though only by some weeks, since on September 6 he had seen a plant of A.f-f. 
'Plumosum elegans', a seedling of the Axminster variety, in the possession of Mr 
Carbonell, Usk, upon which similar bulbils had been discovered this season. He 
added, however, that so far no signs of development had been visible and that, to 
the best of his belief, I was the first to raise plants. On a subsequent visit of Colonel 
Jones, however, minute fronds had appeared, as upon my plants. 
From Colonel Jones of Clifton I have received the following additional information 
which has, so far, I believe, not been formally recorded and which, taken in 
conjunction with the recent discoveries of proliferousness on other varieties of 
Athyrium, certainly merits it. Mr E J Lowe, he informs me, noticed some twenty 
years ago similar bulbils on the Axminster plumosum but, owing to the lateness of 
ailed to raise detached plants, though they appeared to attain some 
>o far the difficulty of establishing them independently 
i insurmountable. From the appearance, however, of my young 

' stands this viviparous character has been found upon four 

. A.f-f. 'Plumosum Axminster', by E J Lowe; A.f-f. 'Plumosum 

elegans Axminster' (Parsons), by Mr Cropper; A.f-f. 'Plumosum Stewardson', by Mr 



46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex 

For some strange reason this very remarkable and unique variety of Asplenium 

trichomanes never made the headlines in the fern press although it is a break unusual 

enough to have attracted wide-spread attention. Druery dismisses it in a very few lines in 

his British Ferns and their Varieties and there is no illustration. No mention is made of it at 

all in his voluminous writings to the press and gardening journals and we are left with 

only the short article by Dr F W Stansfield, which appeared in the British Fern Gazette, 

Vol. 7, number 3, dated December 1936, with its frontispiece which is reproduced here. 

The original plant was a wild find in North Wales by Ellis Roberts, but when it was found 
we do not know, nor have we any information about the finder. His name does not appear 
in any of our published membership lists. However, he was obviously known in the fern 
world and sporelings from his find were distributed by him. Seemingly, Dr Stansfield first 
came to know of it from the sight of a frond sent to Druery by E J Lowe. The Doctor would 
not commit himself definitely in his article but as far as he remembered — obviously 
writing at a much later date in 1936 — the frond was 16 to 18 inches long and 5 to 6 
inches wide, and thoroughly bipinnate throughout. 

Pteridologist 1, 4 (1987) 

r Herbert Stansf ield at his Sale fern nursery, I 
although the pinnae throughout 

ize of Lowe's frond, but his plant 

r early Lakeland member, George 

r constantly, although the sporelings were small 

longer than r 
Dr Stansfield was never able to grow t 
which he possessed for several years, given to him b 
Whitwell, retained its bipinnate c 
and very irregular. 

It seems that members who were most successful with the variety were J Sheldon of 
Great Bookham in Surrey and Robert Bolton of Birdbrook in Essex (the grandfather of our 
present Robert Bolton). Sheldon's plants were thoroughly bipinnate, but his results were 
surpassed by Bolton's, whose recipe for success was liberal culture from the start and 
growing on the young plants from the spore pan without any checks. The frond which I 
reproduce here came from one of Bolton's plants. 

,e fern variety? We don't know 
:, nor when he found it — no date 
vas so silent; we can imagine his 
We can only thank Dr Stansfield 
i an unusual fern DID exist and 
old fernery? It 

Why was there so much mystery about such an uniq 

Roberts, we don't know where in North Wales he found i 

is mentioned anywhere, and we don't know why Druery 

pen working overtime, spreading the good news around 

for "breaking the silence" and letting us know that sue 

could turn up again in the wild. Could it still be around tucked away 

would be exciting to re-introduce it to our present-day growers. 


At a gathering of a local fern group I 
identify. I requested a fertile frond, which w 
growing specimen. So I felt in duty bound t 
identity. I was told that the fern was widespread ii 
The story is compiled with some help from the Editor and Dr R.E. Holttum. 
I first found an illustration of the fern in E.J. Lowe's Ferns, British and Exotic, Vol. 6 
(1857), p.121,pl.47 under the til\e Aspidium unitum Schkuhr, with the statement that the 
species was introduced to cultivation at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 1793. 
Schkuhr, who worked at Leipzig and published the first series of illustrations of ferns, 
based his name (1804) on Polypodium unitum Linn. (1759). The first record of the species 
in Australia was made by Robert Brown (1773-1858). Brown accompanied Matthew 
Flinders (originator of the name Australia) on his voyage of 1 801 -1 805, during which the 
whole Australian coast was charted. Brown made large collections of plant specimens, 
which formed the basis for his work Prodromus Florae Novae Holliandiae (1810), the 
foundation of Australian botany; he named the fern Nephrodium unitum. John Smith, 
Kew's first Curator, published in 1 866 his book Ferns British and Foreign, which included 
a list of more than 1000 species which he had seen in cultivation, among them 
Nephrodium unitum. In his Lithrograms of the Ferns of Queensland (1892) Frederick 
Manson Bailey illustrated our species under the name Aspidium unitum. The generic 
names Aspidium and Nephrodium were confusedly used by different authors with 
different meanings in the 19th century; both have now been abandoned. 
In the 20th century two developments affected the fern named N. unitum by Brown. First, 
Christensen showed that characters ignored by 19th century botanists distinguished a 
large group of ferns, including Thelypteris Schmidel (1763), from Aspidium proper. He 
studied the ferns of this group in the Americas; those of Asia were first distinguished by 
R.C. Ching, who established the new family The/ypteridaceae in 1940. In so doing Ching 
revived the genus Cyclosorus Link (1833) which was based on the species Aspidium 
gongylodes Schkuhr (1 809). Schkuhr based this name on a specimen from Guiana which 
he thought distinct from the Indian one which he had described as A. unitum, but Ching 
regarded them asconspecific. Holttum, in his book on the ferns of Malaya (1955followed 
Ching 's generic concepts and also accepted the name C. gongylodes. 

n of the specimen of Polypodium 
his specimen is quite distinct from that described 
though Linnaeus cited other descriptions which certainly do 
correspond with Brown's. Accepting the Linnean specimen as defining the meaning of 
the name P. unitum, another name had to be found for our species. The first such name 
was Pteris interrupta Willd. (1794); the specimen is at Berlin, and unfortunately Ching 
misidentified it, with the result that the name Cyclosorus interruptus in Holttum's book 
refers to another species. 

When writing his book on the ferns of Malaya, Holttum discovered that Ching 's generic 
concepts, based on ferns of mainland Asia, were not satisfactory for the much greater 
diversity of species in the Malayan region. So in the years 1 968- 1 980 he made a detailed 
study of all known species of the family The/ypteridaceae in Asia, Malesia, Australasia 
and the Pacific, examining and re-describing the types of more than 500 species. As a 
result he proposed a new set of generic concepts, some with new names; these genera 
are listed in the paper by Crabbe, Jermy and Mickel in the Fern Gazette vol . 1 1 , pages 141 
onwards (1 975). Holttum published a full account of Malesian species in Flora Malesiana, 
Series II, Vol.1, pages 331-560 (1981), and those from Australasia and the Pacific in 

a) Lamina b) Fertile pinna (enlarged) c) Stipe s 

Allertonia, no. 3 (1977, published in Hawaii). Jorv 

of their book on Australian Ferns and Fern-allies 

the latter work, as follows: 

Nephrodium unitum sensu R.Br. = Cyclosorus interruptus (Willd.) H.lto. 

Polypodium unitum Linn. = Sphaerostephanos unitus (L.) Holttum. 

Cyclosorus interruptus sensu Holttum 1 955 = Amphineuron terminans (Hooker) Holttum. 


Osmunda regalis i 

The royai fern has been recorded for Sedgemoor i 

s of drainage improved ti 

One good site for this fern is Shapwick Heath, a nature reserve composed of birchwood 
and peaty meadows, now owned by the Nature Conservancy Council. In the lastfewyears 
it has been noticeable that all the Osmunda regalis have remained a similar size, with no 
new plants under 10 years of age. During the last two years a powerful pump and large 
bore pipe of approximately one foot in diameter have been installed, and a number of 
tributary ditches dug allowing water to reach all areas of the birch woodland. The result of 
this work by the NCC has been to raise the water table, and lastsummer osmunda 
snorelings and prothalli sprung up along the edges of the cultivars and rhymes. It is good 
i fern is regenerating in this favoured locality, and, owing to 
i Sedgemoor owned by the Somerset 
Trust for Nature Conservation. 


B. S.B.I. Monitoring Scheme 

In the 25 years following publication of the Atlas of the British Flora (Perring & Walters, 
1 962), there have been many changes in the countryside of Great Britain and Ireland, and 
up-to-date information is urgently needed on much of the wildlife. The Botanical Society 
of the British Isles (B. S.B.I.) has therefore set up a new recording scheme to assess the 
current status of the British and Irish flora, and also to provide a means of monitoring 
further changes in the future. During 1987 and 1988, the flora of a sample of 10km 
squares throughout the country (one in nine on a grid basis) will be surveyed to give an 
objective assessment of the species which have changed in distribution and/or 
abundance since the Atlas, and within each of these selected 1 0km squares, three tetrads 
(2 x 2km squares) will be surveyed in detail to establish a baseline for monitoring future 

There are two parts to the scheme; species recording and habitat survey. All native and 
introduced vascular plant species occurring within the selected 10km squares and 
tetrads will be recorded, together with details of rare, critical and the more notable 
species. The habitat survey is optional, and will be used to provide information on habitat 
distribution and composition to parallel species data. Discrete habitat units (i.e. distinct 
areas or vegetation types) will be selected and notes made on the plants and other habitat 
features. Only records for 1 987 and 1 988 will be accepted so that a clear "snapshot" of 
the flora is obtained. 

The Monitoring Scheme is being run from the Biological Records Centre, Monks Wood, 
and is being funded by the Nature Conservancy Council. We would be interested in any 
records made in the selected squares during the next two years by competent botanists, 
and anyone wanting to contribute or requiring further information should contact me at: 
Biological Records Centre, Monks Wood Experimental Station, Abbots Ripton, 
Huntingdon, Cambs. PE17 2LS. Phone: Office hours: Abbots Ripton (04873) 381 or 
evenings/weekends: Peterborough (0733) 49398. 



My finest wild find 

> found in some disused s 

r Cockermouth, Cumbria. I had a friend in the village who knew I was keen on 

i explored the area and found plenty of ferns especially scollies— with short, 
I, narrow or intermediate fronds. At the foot of an old wall I spotted a small 
e or two fronds showing signs of cresting, which I thought might have some 

seen in the photograph opposite. 

(Many years later, 1 980, Fred led a party of BPS members to this quarry only to find it was 
gradually being filled in. We were fortunate, however, that we found one or two more 
crested scollies at the far end. These were rescued and have made fine garden plants 
indistinguishable from Fred's original. It is a splendid addition to the fern border — 
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Cristatum Jackson'. Ed.) 



Department of Botany, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff 
The Canary Islands, situated between 27°31' and 29°23'N and approximately 65 mil* 
off of the west coast of Africa, provide a fascinating mixture of plants and pla 
communities for any visiting botanist. The Islands are mainly of volcanic origin which wi 
initiated in the late Cretaceous and persisted through to historic times. This has giv< 
high peaks and mountain ranges that trap the rain-bearing clouds circulating in tl 
Atlantic. The climate, together with geographic isolation, has left these islands with mai 
relicts of the rich flora that once spread throughout the mediterranean region. Since the 
evolutionary change has led to newer island endemics. Here and there persist remnan 
of the Laurel forests (the Laurisilva) that once covered most of the middle slopes of tl 
islands, from about 1 ,500 to 3,000 feet between the lower mixed forests and the high 
Myrica faya-Erica arborea (Fayal-Bezel). The Laurisilva is especially important 
pteridologists as it is maintained by the almost constant cloud layer that encircles tf 
islands. In contrast to these rain-soaked forests there are many areas of low rainfa 

ranging from the more southerly coasts of the larger islands to tne a 

Fuetoventura and the south of Lanzerote and the high, 6,000 ft central calderra i 


There appears to be an almost endless range of he 

dologist to explore, and a selection of ferns to be found that offers both f 

unusual species to those of us more accustomed to north-western Europe, i 

people have given accounts and lists of the species of Canary Islands ptendophytes ( 

Page in Fern Gazette 1 1(5), 1977 for references). In tw 

find 1 8 of them, while one day on El Hierro gave 1 3 in 

Ceterach aureum that I did not discover on Tenerife. 

The prime area on Tenerife for pteridophytes is the northern tip of the island in the high 

Anagar mountains where the best Laurel forest remains. The road from the University 

town of La Laguna to El Mercedes and on to Cruz de Carmen and El Bailedero gives direct 

access to the area and offers breath-taking views from nearly 6,000 feet down on to the 

cloud-covered steep-sided to near vertical wooded slopes (sometimes on both sides of the 
roadl). However, as Page has recently described the fern communities to be found in 
these evergreen cloud zone forests, I will not dwell on them any further, but I will 
concentrate on the drier regions of Tenerife, where we might not expect tof ind very many 

look for plants. 

The most extreme hot conditions are found in the central calderra of the volcano El Pico. 
This is the driest region of the island where virtual desert conditions prevail. I found no 
ferns here at all and instead I had to make do with looking at unfamiliar spiney shrubs and 
the dried remains of last year's giant Echiums. Even outside of the central calderra there 
are many very dry areas but Polypodium macronesicum and Davallia canariensis are two 
species that can be found almost throughout Tenerife even spreading into such areas of 
quite low rainfall. They can even be found in areas of quite high summer heat, when both 
species loose their leaves to survive the drought as rhizomes growing deep in rock or wall 

On the south eastern slopes leading down from the central volcanic calderra the higher 
regions are still covered with Pinus canariensis growing in between the large blocks of 
lava. Here in between these blocks and sometimes growing on them were also numbers 
of Notholaena marantae and Cheilanthes pulchella. Such areas as these are virtually 
worthless for cultivation and have been left, but further down the slopes agriculture is 
possible especially through the creation of walled terraces. The lower regions of these 
slopes must therefore have been cleared of trees for a long time with many of them having 
been cultivated for the sparsely grown olive trees. Notholaena marantae persisted here 
growing alongside the roads and sprouting from crevices in the surrounding rocks. 
Further down the mountain the ground seemed very dry indeed with water being brought 
in by means of concrete culverts, so at first sight it appeared to be quite unsuitable for 
ferns. However I was very pleasantly surprised, for there were ferns here in quite large 
numbers. Notholaena marantae was here again although the smaller size of the fronds 
and the more golden yellow colour of its scales suggested that it might be a different 
variety (var. cupripaleacea) to the other more common form (var. subcordata). Notholaena 
vellea and Cheilanthes pulchella were also growing quite happily in cracks, crevices and 
even in areas of exposed rubbley loose lava. All three species were clearly thriving in the 
baking heat with their rhizomes growing under the baking hot surface and their thick 
upper surfaces and scaly lower surfaces helping to prevent undue water loss. In extreme 
conditions they roll up their fronds as does our more familiar rustyback fern (Ceterach 
officinarum). If these conditions persist for any length of time the exposed rolled up fronds 
eventually die but remain standing up as though still alive. Ceterach aureum is another a dense covering of scales on its undersurface but I failed to find it on 
Tenerife. Instead I found it on El Hierro where it was growing with the larger form of 
Notholaena marantae in crevices on north-eastern facing cliffs at about 1 300m above sea 
level. Page has described all these species as occurring sparsely and widely scattered in 
crevices and on exposed rock ledges in the cloud forest region. It therefore seems most 
likely that their preference for such drier and more exposed conditions saved these few 
species when the forests were cut down. The number of potential habitats increased 
he species spread. In contrast the species which grew on the 
hade of the trees all died. 
Chei/anthese maderensis appears to be yet another rock crevice fern that survived the 
move from forest conditions into the open areas of cultivation. Although there was no sign 
o this species in either the pine forest or the olive grove areas, I did find it in the dry south 
eastern reg.on growing on a rocky outcrop about a mile south of Santiago de Teide. This 
species has a more restricted habitat than the others, perhaps lacking the ability to exploit 
the open dry areas. 

Although the cloud forests in the north west of Tenerife might happen to have a n 
greater and more varied population of pteridophytes, not all of them are restricted tc 
area. There are ferns in the drier areas so it is possible to look for them on the island v 
sunbathing at least some of the time. Double pleasurel 


THE EUROPEAN GARDEN FLORA VOL 1 edited by S.M. Walters et al. Cambridge 
University Press, Cambridge 1986. 430pp. 280 x 220mm. 44 full page black and white 
figures. 1 map. Price £55. (Fern section edited by C.N. Page and FM. Bennell). 

This substantial book is Volume 1 of a planned 6 volume manual for the identification of 
plaTits cultivated in Europe. It aims to meet the needs of the informed amateur gardener 
just"as much as the professional plant taxonomist. The editors have included all those 
species they consider likely to be found in general collections in Europe (i.e. excluding 

glass. Volume 1 covers Pteridophytes (67pp), Gymnosperms(40pp)anda large part of the 
Monocotyledons (285pp). Keys are given for all groups down to species level, and 
diagnostic features of each species are given along with their wild distribution and a guide 
to their hardiness. This last point is a key feature of the book. By matching the hardiness 
category with the zones given on a map in the Introduction, it can be seen in which parts of 
Europe a given species should survive out-of-doors. 

The fern section is very well presented with about 300 species included, with most 
illustrated. The illustrations are accurate, perhaps not attractive, but certainly useful 
diagnostically. (Other families in the book are not illustrated although there are 
illustrations showing key characters for a few groups.) The question of which taxa to 
include must have caused much debate among the Editors, but I wonder if perhaps they 
have been too broad in their interpretation of garden ferns? By including a large number of 
glasshouse ferns (in fact over 50%) they have come close to the edge of their prime 
definition of only featuring plants widely grown. Some other inclusions are also rather 
marginal as garden plants e.g. Regnellidium, Marsifea, Pi/ufaria, Ophioglossum and 
Equisetum. On the other hand not a single British fern variety is listed. Most garden 
centres stock a good range of these ferns and these days they are widely grown. A 
comprehensive list of varieties would probably be impractical here, but a mention of some 

• book (e.g. Hosta) have been described c 

These are however small criticisms when looking a 
is original and breaks new ground, it will be of imi 
Europe — as long as they are not growers of ferr 




British Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Road, London 
Weston-super-Mare is a small nineteenth century plage on the North Somerset coast. A 
long promenade is fronted by acres of sand trampled by seaside donkeys, and occasionally 
covered at high tides by the locally notorious 'brown waves of Weston'. Behind runs a 
strip of very municipal turf in front of Victorian mansions converted t 
among which lurk a couple of small parks distinguished by ' 
battered escallonia bushes. Although this seafront is framed 
carboniferous limestone at Uphill and Worle Hill, it looks a most un 
extremely interesting collection of botanical records. One such plant is Cynodon dactylon 
which is thoroughly naturalised on the promenade lawns, and Trifolium suffocatum, lost 
to V-c 6 since its Weston-super-Mare site was built on in the nineteenth century, was 
rediscovered more than a hundred years later among the deck chairs, fulfilling White's 
prophesy "I confidently expect it to be rediscovered some day on the shores of North 
Somerset" (White, 1912). 

In January, 1983, attention was focussed on Ellenborough Park by the rediscovery of 
Herniaria glabra by A.J. Byfield, following up a 1 945 record of G. Nicols' (Sandwith, 1 946) 
and a herbarium specimen collected by Noel Sandwith in 1 946. The plant nowf lourishes 
in patches worn bare by local schoolboys football goals. Over the past 20 years the site 
has been much visited, and botanists noticed an odd Equisetum growing along the 
railings with Carex arenaria, Oenothera cambrica and Lobularia maritima, a species 
commonly naturalised in this area. The turf of the Park itself is characteristic of 
unimproved coastal grassland in the area, with species like Salvia horminoides and the 
annual clovers Trifolium scabrum and T. striatum. 

R.F. first collected the Equisetum in 1 983, being curious about its slender habit, striking 
sheath markings and small black cones. On showing it to a colleague interested in 
horsetails she was told it was 'an aberrant form of E. arvense'. Curiously enough, R.M. 
Burton, twenty years earlier, had also collected a specimen from here, and had been 
through the same process, receiving the same answer from another botanist. Only by 
1986 had the plant puzzled so many botanists that interest became more intense, and 
more exciting determinations were suggested, including E x moorei and E. 
ramos,ssimum. At this point material was brought to the British Museum and confirmed 
as the latter species by C.J. and Alison Paul. (Fig. 7). 

Horsetails have an interesting history in Weston-super-Mare. Quite close to 
Ellenborough Park was a site well known early this century for E hyema/e and E 
vanegatum, both extremely rare in V-c 6. Specimens of both species exist collected by 
Wh.te and C. Bucknall (BRIST) between 1901 and 1906, labelled "Damp sandy field near 
Weston-super-mare" and "Sandy pasture by the railway station". However, there seems 
to be no connection with the present plant. The specimens seem to be exactly what they 
say they are, and the site, although threatened by building, was known until 1 951 when E 
™ r >eWum was last seen. f. hyema/e had disappeared earlier and was last seen in 1 933 
(White, 1912; Roe, 1981). 

E. ramosissimum is not currently regarded as a native species and is known in the British 
Isles only from one site in Lincolnshire, (Figs. 1 and 2), where there is good evidence of it 
being an introduction. It is interesting, therefore, to speculate how it arrived in Weston- 
ZT' Ma T "?r™ res P ectable the turf is in the Park, 'aboriginal' or not, it must have 
had cons,derab«e disturbance in the past, at the time of its enclosure and the building of 

i from Lincolnshire 

Pteridologist 1, 4 (1987) 

i Desf. from Ellenborough Park, N. Somerset. 

surrounding houses, and, if Nicols' comments on his record for the Hern/aria here are to 
be believed, the site was also occupied by American troops (in 1945). Some interesting 
work has been done on species spread by troop movements (called polemochores; Niemi, 
1 969) and the arrival of E. ramosissimum with the belongings of troops returning from 
the Continent at the end of the war seems much more likely than the species should have 
survived from prehistory in Ellenborough Park. 

Chris Page (1 982) does not describe E. ramosissimum in his book (on thegrounds that it is 
an alien) and so a description of the plant as seen in Britain is given here. The stems may 
reach to over a metre in height but without support are rarely seen as such; the 
Lincolnshire plants tend to lie prostrate, supported only by thick grass. They are 2-7mm 
wide, not rough to the touch, with 1-6 branches at each node except for the lower third 
where they are lacking (see Fig. 2). Sheaths tend to be inflated or funnel-like, 5-20mm 
long, very soon becoming a grey-brown with a dark brown girdle where the sheath meets 
the stem. The sheath teeth are 2-8mm long with a brown centre and white margin, and 
soon shrivelling, leaving the brown bases around the top of the sheath. The branches are 
6-angled, rough, with similar inflated sheaths. Cones are black, up to 15mm long by 7mm 
wide, with an obtuse or slightly apiculate apex. 

Throughout its range (Eurasia and south into Africa) E. ramosissimum is tolerant of both 
sandy and calcareous habitats but is most frequent on well-drained soils. In Europe it is a 
Mediterranean plant reaching into central Poland (Alston 1 948) and in the NW into south 
Holland along the Rhine valley, from where it was most likely introduced with ships' 
ballast that was offloaded to consolidate the seawall along the River Witham at the 
Dort of Boston. It is however one of the parents of E. xmoorei, a plant 
a in Co Wicklow, Eire; the other parent is E. hyemale (Page, 1982). It 
differs from E. ramosissimum in having stems that are almost entirely without branches 
and the stem ridges are sharply angled (see Figs. 3 and 4). Being a hybrid the cones are 
sterile. However, when trampled or cut, the branches of E. ramosissimum (like most 
species of Equisetum) will develop to take on the role of the main stem, and it is these 
more slender stems that can be confused with E. arvense or f. palustre. In both the latter 
species the branch sheaths are tight-fitting, the teeth black without a scarious edge. 
Furthermore, when seen in cross-section, the stems of these two species have much 
larger air (valecular) canals (see Figs. 5 and 6). 

E. ramosissimum has recently been proposed for total protection under the Wildlife and 
Countryside Act in the Quinquennial review of species listed in Schedule 8. This will 
mean that the species on no account may be collected (at least without the necessary 
t permit) and anyone damaging any plant is liable for prosecution. 

ALSTON, A.G.H. 1948. Equisetum ramos «. Watson/a 1: 149-153. 

• ,r pa I Pteridophyta. Berlin 
NIEMI, A. 1969. Influence of the Soviet tenancy on the flora of the Porkala area. Acta Bot. Fenmca 84: 

PAGE, C.N. 1982. The ferns of Britain and Ireland. Univ. Press, Cambridge. 
ROE, R.G.B. 1981. The Flora of Somerset. Taunton. 

SANDWITH, C.I. & NY. 1946. Bristol botany. Proc. Bristol Nat. Soc. 27: 157. 
WHITE, J.W. 1912. The Flora of Bristol. Bristol. 


impressive than well 

tropical atmosphere, they are a sight 
; (see photograph opposite p. 174). 
I have long wanted to grow these plants but like most BPS members I live in a cold area 
and, as all my attempts to date have failed, I had really given up any hope of success until 
last year's article by Ray Best (Best, 1986) rekindled my interest. The 21 odd species he 
grows apparently all stand frost down to -5°C at least. Are tree-ferns, therefore, hardier 
than I thought, and are there more suitable species that have yet to be tried out-of-doors in 
the British Isles? 

Before these questions can be answered the first thing to establish is just where these 
plants do survive, as of 1 986 at least. Therefore, with the help of a large number of people 
(see Acknowledgements) and published records, the attached map was gradually pieced 
together for the distribution of Dicksonia antarctica in gardens, although I suspect some 
records may be for D. fibrosa. Other species are also rarely grown (see later). Obviously 
the distribution pattern which emerges is artificial, as it relates to gardens, but it is still 
clearly correlated with areas influenced by the North Atlantic Drift. Nearly all gardens 
where tree-ferns thrive and regenerate have fewer than 20air frosts on average per year. 
Some sites appear to have between 20 and 40air frosts, but in most of these the plants do 
not do so well. Another interesting point about the dot distribution is that sites with an 
easterly aspect near to the sea are commoner than similar sites with a westerly aspect — 
except in the very mildest areas. Compare north-west Cornwall with south-east Cornwall, 
south-west Devon with south-east Devon and east Ireland with west Wales. Also 
consider west Scotland where successful sites are usually either on islands or on 
peninsulas. This suggests that cold dry east wind in winter coming off the land is the 
biggest enemy of tree-ferns, although these ferns cannot thrive on the east coast of 
England because they also need the warmth of the North Atlantic Drift. 
Other features of all these sites are a high rainfall, hence a high humidity, and fairly cool 
summers. Soil is acid, and successful sites are sheltered from the wind, usually in mixed 
woodland. All these factors can be mimicked almost anywhere, but short of growing 
under glass it is pretty difficult to get around the 20-40 days' frost problem inland in 

The next question therefore is — is it the frost that is critical, or is it some related factor 
such as snow? One of the more marginal sites, Logan in south-west Scotland, has 
Dicksonia antarctica over 100 years old with trunks up to 15 feet tall. At this site 
temperatures down to -1 1 ,5°C were recorded during the early 1 980s but mature plants 
survived — however many younger specimens with little or no trunk died, possibly 
result it is now policy at the garden not to 
r more feet tall. Experience at Logan also suggests 
e damaging. Conversely though, it is known that 
l is not always fatal. In Ireland it is believed to act as a protective 
blanket, and indeed snow falls at most sites from time to time. Clive Jermy has seen 
glades of Cyathea australis in southern Australia in temperatures well below freezing, 
with fronds white with snow (see also Fig. 2). For further evidence we need only wait 
until next summer, as this winter, 1 986/87, several inches of snow and a temperature of 
-12°C has been reported from Tresco in the Isles of Scilly — the home of the most diverse 
collection of tree-ferns grown out-of-doors in England. The list of survivors after this 
ordeal will be very interesting; let us hope that all the tree-ferns and other tender plants 
survive somehow. In mainland Cornwall the first signs are that most tree-ferns have 

Pteridologist 1 , 4(19 

survived down to -15°C, admittedly with some pro 
Another part of the plant which is probably vulnerab 
by a fibrous mass of roots and dead leaf bases, and 
fatal. For that reason it is always advisable to leave i 
protect the trunk with sacking in severe frosts and 

extreme drought or cold could prove 
Jead fronds in situ as a skirt' and/or 
summer drought. The skirt of dead 

fronds may also protect the crown from being reached by climbing plants and large 
epiphytes (Page, and Brownsey, 1986). Summer conditions do not, however, seem to be a 
serious problem as long as trunks are kept moist. The newly described Cyathea 
brachyphylla from North Borneo survives out-of-doors in the dry East Anglian climate 
during summer months, as long as wind protection is given, and water is provided daily 
(Allen & Holttum, 1975). 

using different protective measures or different species — perhaps at several gardens 
over several years. This would involve large numbers of similar-sized plants and would 
obviously be very expensive and practically impossible to set up. At the present time, 
therefore, critical criteria must remain largely conjectural but, based on the above 
speculation, it appears that the only seemingly insurmountable problems are the number 
of frost days and snow cover. With a little effort it may even prove possible to overcome 

rhododendron r 

i planting out, the first consideration is choice of site. Select a position sheltered from 
*inds, especially from the east, where perhaps some winter sun penetrates, but which 
/ould be shaded in summer. Do not choose a frost pocket, ideally therefore a mixed 
)il is not already acid add leaf mould or better still use a standard 
id, for good drainage, sharp sand. 
In an attempt to by-pass the temperature problem, this winter I have built a wall of straw 
bales with a partial polystyrene lining around my young D. antarctica (3 foot leaves, no 
trunk), planted to the south-west of a row of conifers. The top of this shelter is covered by a 
large polythene bag, itself covered by glass. In really cold weather, to this I add a sheet of 
reflective 'space blanket'. Using all these shields, so far the minimum temperature in the 
heart of the shelter has been -3.5°C compared with a minimum outside of -1 5°C. To date 
the plant looks well, but only time will tell ... I When, and if ever, I get bolder I might risk a 
more mature plant outside over winter without a shelter other than a waterproof cap, 
possibly over some insulation for the crown, plus some sacking around the trunk. 
If the measures I am trying do not work, and in the absence of other ideas to try, the next 

question is, are there hardier species of tree-fern? Dicksonia squarrosa does not look 
promising. It survives at Tresco, Rossdohan in County Kerry and possibly Penjerric in 
Cornwall, but looks unhappy at Trengwainton near Penzance in Cornwall and failed 
recently at Glendurgan near Falmouth in Cornwall, although it was, and probably still is, 
established at Inverewe in north-west Scotland. D. fibrosa has done well at Tresco, 
Rossdohan and, perhaps significantly, Logan, but is thought to be less hardy than D. 
antarctica in Cornwall. Cyathea dealbata grows at Tresco, Rossdohan (Pierozynski 1980, 
Walker 1983) and Chyverton near Truro in Cornwall, but failed at Logan in the early 
1 980s. C. medullaris survives at Tresco and Rossdohan, but failed at Logan back between 
the two World Wars. C. robusta and C. smithii are grown only at Tresco, while C. mexicana 
and C. australis are grown only at Rossdohan. C. cunninghamii is recorded from Penjerric 
(Graham 1983)and may still survivethere. In addition C. leichhardtiana is possibly grown 
somewhere as it is recorded in the European Garden Flora (Walters, 1986). 
Of these, Dicksonia fibrosa looks one of the best choices but possibly no better than D. 
antarctica. In New Zealand D. fibrosa is considered one of the hardiest species, although 
C. smithii and C. colensoi should be even hardier. Unfortunately C. colensoi rarely 
produces a trunk and is of potentially less merit in the garden. C. smithii does produce a 
fine trunk and grows on the Auckland Islands south of New Zealand —the most southerly 
site for any tree-fern. It is not evergreen under glass in the cold fernery at Tatton Park in 
Cheshire, but experimentation with it in some marginal sites could prove rewarding. 
I can find no records for any other species being tried out-of-doors in the British Isles, but 
Ray Best's article in last year's Pteridologist included several additional possibilities, 
especially those he marked with an asterisk, i.e. C. woo/lsiana, C. brownii, C. muelleri and 
C. cooperi. Although I notice C. robusta is grown at Tresco, Ray Best did not consider this 
one of the hardier options. In addition to this list there are high altitude species from the 
tropics which may prove reasonably hardy. I have already mentioned C. brachyphy/la from 
North Borneo, which might be winter hardy in a sheltered site, but some of the species 
from New Guinea should be better candidates; of these Ray Best mentioned C. muelleri. 
Others are C. atrox, C. macgregori, and C. gleichenioides. There may even be some South 
American species worth trying, particularly C. fulva and C. caracasana, which grow up to 
an altitude of 4200 metres (about 14000 feet) in the Andes (Tryon and Gastony, 1975; 
Tryon and Tryon, 1982). 

In summary I can only recommend experimentation. Certainly, at present, material is very 
difficult to obtain for the rarer species but, hopefully, in time spore will become 
increasingly available from the Society's list. 

md the list of species grown out-of-doors in the 
/additional data, 
also be gratefully received! 

compendium of information from very many sources, but, in particular, 

from Dr Charles Nelson at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. Other 
valuable detail has been contributed by Kenneth Adlam, Devon; Mrs Allen-Mirehouse, 
Dyfed; Ray Best, Australia; Nigel Brown, Gwynedd; P. Brownlees, Dyfed; P. Brownsey, 
New Zealand; J.M College, Wigtonshire; Mrs R. Clay, Gwent; Ray and Rita Coughlm, 
Worcestershire; Peter Edwards, Kew; M.T. Feesey, Devon; Dr L.Garrard, Isle of Man; Mrs 
B. Graham, Cornwall; Derek Fraser-Jenkins, Glamorgan; Roger Grounds, Hampshire; Dr 
RE. Holttum, Kew; Clive Jermy, British Museum (Natural History); Major W. Magor, 
Cornwall; Mrs Y. Matthews, Cornwall; Dr Chris Page, Edinburgh; Mr Raynor, Tatton Park; 
and Graham Stuart Thomas, Surrey. 


ALLEN, E.F. and HOLTTUM, R.E. 1975. A new tree fern from Mount Kinabalu, Sabah. Jour. Roy. Hort. 

Soc. C, 20-22. 
BEST, R. 1986. Tree ferns for English conditions? Pteridologist, 1, 131-132. 
GRAHAM, B. 1983. About tree ferns. The Cornish Garden. 26, 25-32. 

PAGE, C.N. and BROWNSEY, P.J. 1986. Tree-fern skirts: A defence against climbers and large 
epiphytes. Jour, of Ecology, 74. 787-796. 
PIEROZYNSKI, W. 1980. The ferns of Rossdohan, Co. Kerry, Eire. Bull, of the Brit. Pterid. Soc. 2, 94- 

TRYON, R.M. and GASTONY, G.J. 1975. The biogeography of endemism in the Cyatheaceae. Fern 


Joining the British Pteridological Society at the time of much im 
hybridisation, I spent many unsuccessful months trying to raise 
succeeding only by default in having Aspleniumtrichomanes turn up 
it had not been sown. Over the years, however, I have developed e 
brought more success. 
I mix a compost of 1 part sharp or silver sand and 1 part J.A. Bowers potting compost by 
volume. To this I add a small amount of crushed charcoal and varying amounts of fine 
chipped granites. Other additives I have tried, with varying degrees of success, are 
crushed stone from the sites on which the plants grow, e.g. lead ore for A. septentrionale 
and limestone for A. ceterach. I have also tried crushed terracotta pots, a technique used 
in the past. The terracotta pot seems to provide the ideal site for prothalli to grow, but often 
many prothalli adhere to each chipping and plants can be difficult to separate. 
Into a three inch pot I put 3 / 4 inch of the granite chippings and then top to near surface with 
the compost, tamping down to about % inch from the top, with the bottom of another three 
inch pot. On a draining board I pour on scalding water twice, and then cover with a glass 
plate three inches square. 

with a pencil as I find that 'permanent markers' tend to fade after 18 months, usually 
leaving no trace to identify plants. Spores are sown carefully on to the tops of the pots, 
taking care to do so in a draught free room and holding the breath while tapping the spores 
from the envelope to the pot. The glass cover should be replaced immediately the pot has 
been sown. I usually rinse myfingers between sowings to dislodge any spores which may 
have adhered from the previous sowing. 

The pots are then placed four to a parallel sided plastic sweet jar laid on its side (Fig. 1)- 
These jars can be stacked up to four high without collapsing, although I have made racks 
to rest them on. Three inch pots are preferable to smaller ones. Two inch pots tend to be 
susceptible to gravity, half the pots drying out and the other half becoming water-logged, 
and suffering, like two and a half inch pots, from too much water reaching the surface. 
This eventually leads to moss or an algal build up. Into the sweet jar is poured % inch of a 
strong potassium permanganate (KMn0 4 ) solution to cut down algal and fungal 

encroachment. Three inch watchglasses may be placed c 
by "foreign" spores.. Slightly shaded west windows or nc 
are best. Easterly windows tend to be detrimental. It mi 
sudden increase in light while the plant is still cool fror 

Fig- 2. Sporelings in plastic 

wnen a good crop of prothalli I 
and tepid water can be run on 
prothalli then it may be that 
previous sowings may have ali 
assuming you have a certain p 
hand there is a large crop tht 
raising your chosen plants. 

e been formed, the pc 
3 surface or sprayed i 
» spores have failed 

ts are removed from the sweet jar 
nto the prothalli. If there are few 
md a few stray spores from the 
therefore important to be wary of 
ee prothalli appear. If on the other 
tain that vou have succeeded in 

When the sporelings appear they can be pricked out into three inch pots either three to a 
pot or just one. Alternatively four and a quarter inch dwarf pots can house eight to twelve 
sporelings through the next stage. These pots are filled with a mix of 1 part crushed 
granite, 1 part silver or sharp sand and 1 part J.A. Bowers and some crushed charcoal. 
The pots are filled to about 3 / 4 inch from the top with the mixture and then to about % inch 
from the top with finely crushed granite chippings, about three sixteenths inch. I have 
long meant to have a colour code for these chippings, green for ordinary watering (our 
water is very hard)and red for distilled water for the lime sensitive plants, but I never seem 
to be able to get the same type of small stone twice running. The chippings forestall the 
build up of mosses and make it easy to remove them when they do. The sporelings are 

few weeks to save the plants from the shock of transfer from high humidity to low 

humidity at this critical stage (Fig. 2). 

After a few weeks the end cap of the sweet jar can be left off, remembering to check the 

watering at this stage, as you may have only done so once or twice in the previous one or 

two years. After about a month you may wish to move the plants into more permanent 

open sites. Some plants will be very susceptible to grazing by the tiny pink slugs and great 

care will need to be exercised in the choosing of positions, e.g. Asplenium billotii. Others 

may be sluggish themselves to harden and develop away from the protection of their jars, 

e.g. Asplenium marinum.* Plants may be fed from now on. 

You still have not finished with your sweet jars. Slightly tender plants like Camptosorus 

rhizophyt/us can be protected by placing the open end of the jar over the plant in extremely 

cold weather, using a brick as a weight to prevent removal by the wind. 

* Certain plants are protected in the wild. Chris P 

fronds of A. marinum should not be collected. Sp( 

exchanges of cultivated plants. 



British Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD 

Those of us who live in the temperate regions of the world quickly come to accept a period 
of the year when days are shorter and when temperatures generally are considerably 
colder. Day length changing is a regular phenomenon and varies only according to the 
latitude. The seasonal drop in temperature is much more gradual and varies according to 
a complex of climatic factors. Plants have various strategies to overcome these 
unfavourable conditions; the majority of ferns being perennial will over-winter as a 
at the end of an erect or creeping rhizome, the oncoming winter being 
>y the fronds becoming tarnished, brown and withered, although in some 
ie over-wintering of green and apparently functional fronds, may be a 

:t of over-wintering green fronds is a fascinating one. Po/ypodium vulgare is a 

Pteridologist 1,4(1987) 1 89 

classic example typical of many species in the Polypodiaceae; its fronds being jointed to 
the rhizome suggest that sometime in their life they will break away cleanly, leaving the 
rhizome unprotected. This is not obvious in P. interjectum or P. vulgare but when we look 
at P. australe we get a clue as to the kind of climate and regime in which the plants 
presumably evolved. P. australe and all its derivatives will lose their leaves when there is 
a dry period, e.g. in the Mediterranean summer. That physiological mechanism is so 
ingrained in the plants that they loose their leaves at the same time of the year even on the 
west coast of Scotland where the rainfall may be continuous. I do not have the space to 
develop this thesis and analyse all our European species, but I was prompted, however, to 
write this piece when I looked round my garden in November and saw that some species 
were still quite green whereas others had long since shrivelled and were decaying. I 
asked myself, did those species that showed green fronds still have anything in common. 
I want to record my observations on three genera \Athyrium, Dryopteris and Cystopteris. 
A. fi/ix-femina is one of the first British ferns to die down in the autumn. I notice, however, 
that a number of the cultivars, including A.f. 'Clarissima' was still quite green. I have 
another very attractive form of the species (in no way could it be given a varietal name) 
which I obtained from the Azores many years ago. Brought back as a sporeling, it 
developed into one of the most magnificent ladyferns I have seen. It has a relatively short 
but wide frond with average cutting but very gracefully held in a very dense rosette. This 
plant is still beautifully green in November whereas, all around, British, Irish, French and 
Italian specimens have long since died and shrivelled. I have noticedthis phenomenon in 
previous years but never stopped to think whether this plant has an inbuilt mechanism 
which makes it reluctant to lose its leaves in spite of the shortening days and lowering 
temperatures. 'Clarissima' on the other hand, at least that discovered by Jones, 
originated in Devon, by the River Moule, an area where P. australe also grows. 
Within Dryopteris the species that stands out in this respect, is D. aemula which is 
entirely western European and found only in very oceanic places including the Azores and 
Madeira. That too retains its fronds in a green state for much of the year, as do the two 
tetraploids derived from it, D. crispifolia and D. quanchica, both again with Macaronesian 

Another species perhaps should be mentioned, that is Cystopteris fragilis forma 
sempervirens, named by Thomas Moore and figured in his Ferns of Great Bntam and 
Ireland Nature Printed on plate 46a. Moore points out that although there are records tor 
Devonshire and Kent it is not positively known to be an English plant although certainly 
native of Madeira. This Cystopteris is likely to be what we now know as C vmdu/a, when 
grown in an English garden it stays green and fresh way into the autumn long after our 
British bladder-fern has died down. 

What I think we are seeing in some of these fern species is a physiological mechanism 
that was laid down when these plants evolved, possibly some 60 million years ago in tn 
late Tertiary Period. They were the ferns that grew amongst the torests ot 
that northern continent that split to become North America on the one *™**<**»W 
on the other. Remnants of this Tertiary flora are seen in the laurel forests ot Maoe.ra d 
the Azores with a few isolated relics in Spain and Portugal. Some of those species spread 
back into the more oceanic areas of Europe as the Pleistocene glaciers receded 
northwards. There were, scattered throughout Europe and North America^ isolated 
pockets which escaped being covered by ice and which m 
many of these fern species. It is from those that z 
developed to give the type of plant that could cope n 
temperate, seasonal winters. I shall be interested in 
above, especially on which cultivars of the lady fern 


ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF FERNS by David L Jones, British Museum (Natural History) and 
Lothian Publishing. Melbourne, 1987. Pp. xvii, 433, over 400 photographs (including 250 
in colour). 182 x 251mm. Price £35. 

Australian enthusiasm for new fern books seems to continue unabated. David Jones, co- 
author of the standard fern flora of Australia as well as some fern gardening books, has 
now produced what promises to become the standard reference bookforthe fern grower. 
This book is indeed an encyclopaedia building extensively on the format of Barbara Joe 
Hoshizaki's Fern Growers Manual (1975). 

The book gets underway with five introductory sections taking up most of the first 200 
pages. Fern structure is described, along with life cvcles anc 

varieties — a la Reg Kaye. Cultural requirements are dealt with in great detail, 
including fern hybridization and the culture of specialised ferns. There is also a most 
valuable section on pest and disease recognition, together with advice on their control. 

even a book this size can only treat a minority of the world's ferns, but the selected 700 
species, plus many more varieties, are representative of plants in cultivation. The 
arrangement of this list is novel, being a development of the system the author used in 
Australian Ferns and their Allies (Ed. 2, 1981). Genera are grouped into similar sized 
chapters by systematic relationships or perhaps by cultural requirements a strange 
system which takes some getting used to. Each species is briefly described and cultural 
preferences given. Many species are illustrated in colour or in black and white The 
250 colour photographs, in particular, are excellent. For north temperate fern growers the to suitable growing climates will not be very helpful. For example, many southern 
hemisphere species not generally considered hardy in the United Kingdom, including 
several tree-ferns, are classed as Temp. -S. Trop. just like proven hardy species such as 
Dryoptens carthusiana. Polystichum setiferum, P. aculeatum, Woodsia obtusa etc. 
Of necessity hardy fern varieties tend to be dealt with rather superficially, but most of the 
better kinds are mentioned. A very few varieties are, however, put in the wrong species: 
'Pulcherrimum' has long been recognised as a form of P. 
i wrongly attributed to Po/ypodium vu/gare rather 
like this. Of perhaps more importance isth^u^rtuni^^to^oX^ate^f^ 
of Athynum UUx-femina 'Victoriae', 'Glomeratum' and 'Frizellae cristatum' Good 
examples of all three can be seen in the nature prints in British Ferns and their Varieties 
ar^e we,?co e ve y rid ^ ° f n ° n - hardy genera < **■ Nephrosis, Pteris, > 

In the appendix ferns suitable for different 

J full glossary i 

and climatic regions are listed. There 
Hography, and finally a list of fern societies - I was amazed to 


i British Pteridological Society is r 

3 of at least 22 such societies 

At £35 .t is not a cheap book, but by today's standards I think it i: 
size and quality. In the preface the author expresses the hope t 
Ferns will run to several further volumes which will look in c 

groups of species. I 


I significantly enriched. 



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 


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A wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially Adiant 
Culag, Green lane, Nafferton, Nr. Driffield, East Yorks. 
Sent 50p for catalogue 
An Introduction to Fern Growing' also available, £2.50 inc. pos 


Specialising in North American and English hardy ferns 
Send two international Reply Coupons for Catalogue 

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Over one hundred in-print titles and many rare 

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Catalogue on request 

The British Pteridological Society 





House Ferns Gwladys Tonge 

Ferns in Nepal Robert Sykes 

Athyrium filix-femina 'Plumosum superbum Drueryi' J.W. Dyce 

Classification of Fern Variation in Britain j.W. Dyce 

Dryopteris submontana and Polystichum lonchitis on Limestone F 

A new Variety of Platycerium bifurcatum spp. willinckii 

Ferns at Kew Gardens Clive Jermy & John > 

Bulbils on Lady Ferns Vic Newey 

The December Garden Mar tin Rickard 

Bulbil Production on Lady Ferns 

J.W. Dyce 

Asplenium trichomanes 'Bipinnatum Roberts' 

J.W. Dyce 

Tracing a Fern 

Ray Best 

Ferns in the Sun 

Barry A. Thomas 

Equisetum ramosissimum in Somerset 

Rosemary Fitzgerald & Clive Jermy 

Tree-ferns Out-of-doors in the British Isles 

Martin Rickard 

Aspleniums in Sweet Jars 

Patrick Acock 

Evergreen Ferns from the Atlantic Isles 

Clive Jermy 


Fern Raising for Free 

Rosemary Hibbs 

Osmunda regalis on Sedgemoor 

Mary Potts 

B.S.B.I. Monitoring Scheme 

T.C.G. Rich 

My Finest Wild Find 

Fred Jackson 


An Introduction to Fern Growing 

Flora of the Isle of Man 

A Field Manual of the Ferns and Fern Allies of 

the United States 

and Canada 

The European Garden Flora, Vol. 1 

Encyclopaedia of Ferns 

The Pteridologist Volume 1 Part 3 was published on 16 May, 1986 
Published by the British Pteridological Society 

Volume 1 Part 5 




Officers and Committee for 1 988 

President: Dr. B.A. Thomas 

President Emeritus: J.W. Dyce 

Vice-Presidents: Dr R.E. Holttum, A.C. Jermy, 

R. Kaye, Prof. I. Manton, G. Tonge 

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

Editor of the Bulletin: 1 6 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 

Assistant Secretary (Membership) A.M. Paul, 

Department of Botany, British Museum (Natural History), 

Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD 

Treasurer: Dr. N.J. Hards, Holme Cottage, Kyme Road, 

Heckington Fen, Sleaford, Lines. NG34 9NA 

Meetings Secretary: A. Pigott, 43 Molewood Road, Hertford, Herts. SG 1 4 3AQ 

Editors of the Fern Gazette: J.A. Crabbe, Dr B.S. Parris 

Material for publication should be sent to Dr B.S. Parris, 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AE 

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

Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2HP 

Committee: P.j. Acock, J.H. Bouckley, C.R. Fraser- Jenkins, J. Ide, 

R.P.H. Lamb, A.M. Paul, P. Ripley, Dr. T.G. Walker, Dr A. Willmot 

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

Cambs., CB2 5QN 

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 

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

Booksales Organiser: j.w. Dyce, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG 1 1 LT 

Trustees of Greenfield Fund: A.R. Busby, Dr. N.J. Hards, Dr B.A. Thomas 


; publications e 

--— ,J scheme. The Society I 

£12. Family membership in any 
be sent to the Assistant Secretary 

nk conversion charges). Airmail postage for all journals 
receiving the Fern Gazette £2.50. 

Cornubiense' - "common law" form.) 

i Pteridologist a 
Kent BR5 3U, f 


Since 1959 many fern cultivars have been named outside the rules of the International 
Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. These rules were revised in 1980 by a 
commission of 24 members made up of foresters, agriculturists, botanists plus one or 
two horticulturists. The aim of the rules is to standardise cultivar nomenclature. These 
rules apply over a very wide range of plants, including agricultural crops such as wheat 
or barley, horticultural crops such as apples or lettuces, plus forest trees, shrubs and, 
of course, ornamental herbaceous plants, including ferns. Because fern cultivar 
nomenclature has evolved over the last hundred or so years into an internationally 
understood system of latin names we, as a society, have ignored the 1959/1980 Code. 
However, we cannot do so forever and the BPS Committee is grateful to Peter Barnes, 
taxonomist of the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley, for contributing a full account 
of the problem of fern nomenclature, plus an interpretation of the code which allows 
us to retain some familiarity in the names we can legally use. In a future Pteridologist 
it is hoped to put the record straight and republish all illegitimately published names 
alongside alternatives acceptable within the Code. 

Other material in this issue is, perhaps, less momentous, the bulk of it being concerned 
with garden ferns and their culture. This is obviously a major area for the Pteridologist 
to cover and papers of this type are very welcome, but please do not be put off sending 
in other types of articles, perhaps on fern distribution at home and abroad, fern 
conservation, fern literature, etc. -but please also remember that highly technical material, 
of a type including graphs, histograms, chemical formula, etc., are not normally appropriate 
for the Pteridologist. PJease remember all copy should be with me by the 31 st of December 
- but preferably earlier! 

Finally, on a sad note, I have just heard that Marjorie Castellan has died. She was 
a long-standing, active member and will be greatly missed. A full orbituary will appear 


i Sedgemoor, it is gratifying to learn of the re-establishment of this plant d 
•nservation work, as I was the first Warden of the Shapwick Heath Natic 
Reserve when it was first declared in 1 96 1 , and have been concerned with its management 
j few years ago. 

Whilst it is good to know that this work is of benefit to the Royal Fern, it has been 
more beneficial to another even rarer one, the Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustns). 
The Royal Fern is not so demanding as to a wet site as the latter and will, and does, 
grow on the Reserve some two metres above the water table. 

There are many rare plants growing here, outside the scope of this short note, but 
it is worth mentioning two. These are the very rare Brown Beak-sedge (Rhynchospora 
fusca) and the Milk Parsley (Peucedanum pa/usfre^which is rarely found outside the 
East Anglian Fens. 



For many years 11 

British Pteridological Society Committee, in which proposals were made for a policy 
that would be in accord with the rules. In July 1987 a meeting was held at Wisley 
to discuss these ideas. Those present were Jim Crabbe, Jimmy Dyce, Clive Jermy, Barbara 
Parris, Martin Rickard and the author. After considering the alternatives it was agreed 
that the proposals should be adopted as the Society's official policy and the paper that 
follows is based closely on the original document. 

The propensity of ferns to produce individuals showing aberrant frond shapes has attracted 
the attention of alert botanists for several centuries. Fine illustrations of crested and 
other variants of lady fern (Athyrium fUix-femina) and hartstongue fern (Asplenium 
scolopendrium), for example, may be found in the pages of Dalechamp's Historia Generalis 
Plantarum (1586) and Plukenet's Phytographia (1691 -6). Only in the nineteenth century, 
however, did gardeners develop a taste for such plants. As has been well recorded 
elsewhere (Allen, 1 969, for instance) this period saw also a transition from the introduction 
Id finds to the deliberate sowing of spores with the intention of raising 
i. since human nature contains a trait that desires the labelling of everything, 
i rapid proliferation of names applied to these variations. Inevitably, large 
names were coined, often in the most imprecise way, before people began 
' 3 need for a more systematic approach. 
At that time, the only option available was to give such variations botanical status by 
using the category varietas (more often rendered as 'variety' or 'var.'), or occasionally 
forma (f.). The same approach was applied more generally to variants of other plants 
leading, for example, to the proliferation of extended Latin names used for dwarf conifers. 
This policy was less than logical in that a geographical variant occurring over a substantial 
area and breeding quite true to type would be given the same status as a 'one-off' 
variation (what botanists often refer to as a 'monstrosity'). The latter might be quite 
sterile, or not true-breeding, and thus incapable of perpetuating itself over several 

Although not widely adopted until considerably later the category of cultivar (cultivated 
variety) was established in 1918 (McClintock, 1966). A cultivar may be defined as an 
assemblage of plants of similar appearance, that owes its continuing existence and 
increase to the intervention of man. It is worth stressing that a cultivar may include 
more than one clone - much depends on the circumscription of the individual cultivar. 
A common misconception about cultivar names (e.g. Hoshizaki, 1975: 122, but by no 
means confined to fern authors) is that they are appropriate only to plants that originate 
in cultivation. This is not true, however, the significant point being that they are maintained 
by the actions of man in cultivation, irrespective of the mode or place of origin. A large 
number of cultivars of ling (Calluna vulgaris), for example, originated as sports or seedlings 
in the wild, but there is no doubt that, in cultivation, they are best treated as cultivars, 
since such chance occurrences do not persist and increase in the wild state. Exactly 
the same principle applies to the majority of fern variants. 
It is not always easy to define a dividing line between botanical and horticultural names, 

Pteridologist 1,5 (1988) 193 

but in most cases there is probably little point in giving botanical status to an individual 
variant that does not propagate itself in the wild state. In the fern world, even sports 
of apomictic species, such as Dryopteris affinis, which breed true in cultivation, seldom 
if ever manage to establish themselves in the wild beyond a single generation. They 
do, however, accord neatly with the definition of cultivar given above. It is increasingly 
commonly accepted that the great majority of fern 'varieties' in our gardens are, regardless 
of their origins, most appropriately regarded as cultivars. Because of the risk of confusion 
with the botanical term varietas (= variety), it is desirable to use the more precise term 

Whilst there is as yet no formal scheme of classification for fern cultivars, the basis 
of such a system was evolved by Kaye (1 968) from the proposals put forward for specific 
genera by Dyce (1963) and Kaye (1965). Very recently this was elaborated by Dyce 
(1987) and it is logical to try and integrate Dyce's system of classification with any 
modern system of nomenclature, which is what is proposed in this paper. 

The naming of plants, at both botanical and horticultural levels, is governed by two 
sets of internationally accepted rules - the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature 
(ICBN) and the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). Each 
is periodically revised, but the basic rules remain constant. 

The great majority of names now used for variants of British ferns have never been 
applied in a systematic fashion. Many of these 'names' are perhaps better regarded 
as brief descriptions and, since some conform to neither Code, they have no validity 
as either botanical or horticultural epithets and are thus illegitimate. This is particularly 
true of numerous names proposed for new cultivars in various British Pteridological 
Society publications in recent years, but there is no good reason for this state of affairs 
to continue, as there is an alternative that should be acceptable to all concerned. 
Under Article 27a of the Cultivated Plant Code, new cultivar names created on, or after, 
1st January 1959 may not be in Latin or part-Latin form. This rules out, for example, 
the coining of a name like 'Plumosum Smith'. It is therefore necessary for recent cultivar 
names to be in a modern language, and they are often descriptive or commemorative. 
In the context of ferns, this appears at first sight to mean that we lose the useful link 
with the accepted schemes of varietal classification referred to above. However, there 
is a way out of this difficulty that retains conformity with the ICNCP whilst retaining 
the most useful descriptive elements from the earlier style of name. 

As mentioned above, many of the names used in Britain for fern cultivars are no more 
than descriptions, but it is desirable to retain a descriptive element in the naming or 
new cultivars as far as possible, whilst trying to ensure conformity with the appropriate 
Code - the ICNCP. Fortunately, in Article 26 of its 1969 edition, the ICNCP introduced 
the useful but as yet underused concept of the cultivar group. Sensible use or this 
Article appears to be the key to the establishment of a practical, logical and (under 
the ICNCP) legitimate system of nomenclature for fern cultivars. 
Article 26 of the ICNCP- 1980 says: 

When a species includes many cultivars, an assemblage d ^^f^ 

may be designated as a group. This category is : ■ 

and cultivar. It is not an essential part of th 

between the specific name and the cultivar 

is placed within parentheses (round brackets). 
The Code gives examples of its use based on former botanical epithets 

;ultivar name. If used 
the name of the group 

194 Pteridologist 1,5(1988) 

longer recognised, such as Rhododendron cinnabarinum (Concatenans group) 'Copper', 
as well as purely descriptive ones like Lolium perenne (Early group) 'Devon Eaver'. The 
style of the group name is not defined in the Code, but the examples given suggest 
; should apply. In other words, i 

: an obligatory one, in that not all f( 
as stated in Article 26, the group name is not 
name - it is a useful but optional appendage. 
Nevertheless, many fern growers will wish to indicate the group with the cultivar name 
because of its link with the scheme of cultivar classification. Whilst new groups may 
be created as needed the divisions of Dyce's scheme should accommodate the majority 
of cultivars, regardless of the genus. It is proposed that a nomenclatural panel be formed 
within the Society to agree on appropriate group names providing the best possible 
combination of the desirable features of the old names and conformity with the 
I Code. 


Three cases have to be considered separately: new cultivars; recently, but invalidly, named 

cultivars; and early 'varieties' now regarded as cultivars. 


/ cultivars should present no problems: such 

'Royalty'; if it were a crested form, it could also be cited e 
J (Cristatum group) 'Royalty'. It would not then be permissit 
to use the name 'Royalty' for another cultivar of A. trichomanes. 

Several names published in recent BPS publications, and no doubt in nursery catalogu 
also, are illegitimate. Unfortunately, there is no option but to rename these plants, b 
use of the group system would make this comparatively painless, since those inva 
names that incorporate Latin descriptive terms would often fall into the equivalent cultiv 
group. The examples below do not represent formal transfers or new names: they a 
merely used as illustrations. 

A. filix-femina 'Plumosum Cristatum Coke', for example, could become A. filix-femina 
(Cristatum group) 'Coke's Plumose': again, the second is as descriptive as the first but, 
unlike it, is acceptable under the Code. Since the group name is not an essential part 
of the plant's name, the names A. filix-femina 'Phlip Coke' and 'Coke's Plumose', 
respectively, would be equally acceptable. 

An ideal to aim for would be the compilation of a check-list of fern cultivars, in which 
these and other nomenclatural points could be attended to. In the meantime, it is intended 
to start a search through the Society's publications for illegitimate names. These will 
be referred to the proposed nomenclatural panel for renaming as necessary, in liaison 
with the originators of the plants. 

In general, these would not be affected by this system as the nomenclatural rules applied 
to older (pre- 1 959) names are far less rigorous. Some, however, would be more meaningful 
if accompanied by the appropriate group name. For example, Athyrium filix-femina 
'Clarissima', itself a euphonious but non-descriptive name, might be placed in the 
Plumosum group. 


likes what they may consider to be unnecessary name-changes. However, for various 
reasons, the issue of fern cultivar naming has to be faced up to. The continued use 
of names that are not internationally acceptable, because they contravene the Code, 
cannot be supported and it is a problem that is largely confined to British cultivars. 

the ICNCP rigorously. The primary role of IRAs is to ensure uniform 

as far as possible and this inevitably means following the Code. The argument s 

put forward, that ferns should be a special case, is not acceptable. Stabi' 

of nomenclature is in everyone's interests and was the objective behind the establishment 

of the ICNCP. 

The overall result of the system here adopted should be to give fern cultivar naming 

the international acceptability and legitimacy under the Code that it lacks at present. 

This may be achieved without losing the useful descriptive element of many of the 

unacceptable names that have been coined in recent years, and could be added to earlier 

names that do not at present link the plant to the classification. Hopefully, a system 

based on the policies adopted here should result in the degree of stability and intelligibility 

that has for years been lacking in fern names. 

ALLEN, David Elliston, 1 969. The Victorian Fern Craze, London. 

• ' ■■■ ■-■ ■ " '" . ^ - .. 

■ .- 1 •■ - 

DYCE, J.W., 1 987. Classification of fern variation in Britain. Pteridologist 1 (4) 1 54. 
HOSHIZAKI, B.J., 1 975. The Fern Grower's Manual, New York. 
KAYE. R. 1 965. Vari * British Fern Gazette 9: 1 97. 

KAYE, R., 1968. Hardy Ferns. London 

ICBN, 1 983. International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. Utrecht. 
ICNCP, 1 980. International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants - 1980. Utrecht. 
McCLINTOCK, David, 1966. Companion to Flowers. London 

Members with an interest in the Irish flora will be pleased to learn that a second edition 
of the Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland by Mary J.P. Scannell and Donal M. 
Synnott was published in May 1987. Copies are available at £4.80 plus 85p postage, 
from The Director, National Botanic garden, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland. 



Lot 8, Cozens Road, LARA, Victoria 3212, Australia 


The restoration of a massive fernery on the 'Rippon Lea' estate at Elsternwick ii 
The structure is likt 

thirty-seven metres on the inside by eighteen and a half metres wide. The overall height 

is in excess of nine metres and the whole structure is covered with timber slats. 

The fernery has been acclaimed as the finest fernery of its type surviving in a private 

garden anywhere in the world today. 


From the mid 19th century on, the fern craze which was sweeping through England 

was beginning to take hold in Australia, and many ferneries were constructed in the 

great gardens of the time. In this State a number of quite amazingly large and bold 

structures are recorded from Ballarat, Geelong, the Western District, Mount Macedon 

and the Dandenong Ranges. All, save the newly restored fern-house at Rippon Lea, 

that time may be gleaned simply by standing and reflecting for a moment within the 

dome of the last remaining example of the Great Fern Craze in this country. 

Most fashions and excesses which arise suddenly decline just as suddenly, and 

rapid falling away of fern culture, and it has been necessary to wait nearly 70 years 
before the rekindling of enthusiasm for ferns as garden plants. 

Here in Victoria, a specialist Society to give direction to fern growing as a hobby was 
founded in 1 979, and currently enjoys a membership of over 500 dedicated amateur 
and professional people. Called the Fern Society of Victoria Inc., its members meet monthly 
and enjoy the advantage of regular publication of an authoritative journal, organised 
field excursions, visits to other members' collections and a forum of expertise on matters 
of husbandry which allows free exchange of ideas to the collective advantage of all 


When the National Trust acquired the Elsternwick property 'Rippon Lea' in 1974, it 
assumed responsibility for the restoration and presentation of the house and garden 
and was quick to realise the significance and extreme importance of the fernery element 
of the garden. It was not until May 22nd 1984 that sufficient funds were available 
to commence the enormous task of restoration of the structure. Eventually to cost over 
$250,000, significant grants of financial support were obtained from the Commonwealth 
Bank of Australia, the National Estate Grants Committee, the Ian Potter Foundation and 
the Friends of Rippon Lea. 

At the time when restoration work commenced, (see Fig.1) the iron structure of the 
fernery was covered almost entirely with a dense covering of various creepers - no 
doubt planted to provide shade to the ferns growing below as the original slats used 
for that purpose gradually deteriorated. Palms emerging through the roof of the structure 
caused concern as they swayed and struck the iron ribs during times of high winds. 
Internal irrigation systems no longer operated, and for the ferns themselves only those 
species of the very hardiest nature were growing successfully. It was, therefore, prior 
to commencing work on the actual structure itself, seen as necessary to remove all 

• growth and t 

each rib of the building had been rivetted in place and it was quickly found that most 
of these retaining rivets had deteriorated over the expanse of time. Therefore, all rivets 
were removed and replaced with new high tensile steel bolts. Once this was achieved, 
carpenters set to and secured the timber members to the iron framework thus enabling 
the slats to be attached exactly to the original concept and design. Each slat, or lath, 
received four coats of paint, the colour being determined by laboratory analysis of the 
few remnant slats occasionally found high on the roof of the structure. 
During the process or restoration, constant advice was sought from metallurgists and 
engineers, and particularly from Professor Len Stevens, Dean of the Department of 
Engineering at Melbourne University, whose eye for detail and constant encouragement 
was greatly appreciated by staff engaged on the project. No attempt was made to clean 
up' the iron work of the structure itself, as it was explained that the patina (the rusty 
covering over the iron) was extremely stable and was best left alone as it served to 
protect and insulate the iron from further deterioration. 

As work overhead progressed, it was possible to expose the supporting columns for 
examination. Each column was examined and, where necessary, appropriate treatment 
rendered. The footings were then re-covered w 
would prevent further deterioration of the iron coli 

I as providing the necessary 


On completion of the external matters of restoration, 
arrangements of the fernery. 
Careful notes and drawings had been maintain» 
so it was now possible to commence the task ( 
to early photographs of the fernery also helped ii 

Major internal works included the rebuilding of the many rock walls and rock terraces 
that form the basis of the internal appearance of the fernery. The installation of an 
effective watering system and the re-establishment of the system of waterfalls and creeks 
which contribute to making the whole resemble a natural fern gully. 
Rippon Lea garden staff engaged on the restoration of the fernery soon developed an 
e fortitude of the gardeners who first assembled the mighty structure, 
} the rock-work was concerned. The very large, heavy and cumbersome 
be manipulated by lever and the original patterns fully restored, an 


Irrigation in the fernery may be effected by the use of either 'lake' water or 
Metropolitan Board of Works supply. M.M.B.W. supply may be preferred 1 

As well as an in-ground' system, moisture may be supplied to ferns in the form of 

a mist. High in the roof are situated fogging nozzles which serve to humidify the fernery 

and are especially valuable in the hot, windy, days of summer and autumn. 

The necessity for such a system was recognised by Frederick Sargood during his original 

construction of the fernery. 


Members of the Fern Society of Victoria contributed to the restocking of the fernery. 

A list of the species already in existence at the gardens was compiled and an appeal 

A large number of species were donated and passed on to Oliver Frost, the curator 
at Rippon Lea. At the same time a raffle realised several hundred dollars which was 
sufficient to buy a number of large, hard to obtain exotic tree ferns to add to the variety 
already in existence in the fernery. 

to study a large assembly of fern types growing side-by-side in an environment created 
to protect them in the form of a very large and, in its own right, interesting building. 
This structure is a huge cathedral, its slatted roof resting on an iron framework held 
secure on iron columns and featuring an almost total lack of obstruction supports 
throughout its vast internal dimension. To add to the effect, the whole is constructed 
in a huge arc, and is very, very impressive. 

was remarkable, especially by the 1890s. Today c 

species, varieties and cultivars, are under cultivation, and this is possible because 

conditions have been so arranged that a wide range of habitat opportunities have been 

created and can be exploited. 

Careful attention to conditions of husbandry - provision of a generous depth of mulching 

material, a porous and well-drained soil medium, the provision of an abundance of 

earthworms, attention to matters of pH of the soil with appropriate adjustments where 

necessary, a proper nutritional programme and careful attention to matters of pest control 

- ensure that the best possible environment for growing ferns is available. 

The property 'Rippon Lea' was the home of Frederick Thomas Sargood who lived there 

Pteridologist 1,5(1988) 


The fernery at Rippon 

from 1868 to 1903. Sargood was many things - a politician, businessman, interested 
in the military and well-known in the social life of the Melbourne of his time. He is 
perhaps best known nowadays for his influence in the creation of his great garden 
- a garden of many features - but none I believe a more fitting reminder of the 
completeness, thoroughness and total competence of Sargood, the horticulturalist, than 
the Great Fernery of Rippon Lea. 

The National Trust welcomes anyone with an interest in ferns to visit the fernery and 
see for themselves the plants growing there. Staff are always on hand if any special 
query needs to be answered. 

In concluding I would like to extend my appreciation to Oliver Frost, the curator of the 
'Rippon Lea' gardens, for making available to me 
him, together with old photographs. 


One cannot possibly be interested in ferns and not also succumb to the art displayed 

so delightfully in the many Victorian fern books, so you can imagine the great pleasure 

I experienced at discovering a set of 24 hand-painted plates which, I suspect, are completely 

unknown to the members of the Society. 

These are plates in the truest sense, salad plates which are part of a Dinner Service 

which was presented to the Countess of Aberdeen, by the members of the Senate, 

House of Commons of Canada, upon Lord Aberdeen's completion of his Term of Office 

as Governor General of Canada in 1898. 

Each plate depicts a North American fern and although the detail of these paintings 

does not show the accuracy of the majority of book plates they are, nevertheless, a 

most impressive collection and are to be seen at Haddo House, Aberdeenshire. This 

house, and its treasures, passed into the care of the National Trust for Scotland in 


Two lady members of The Womans Art Association of Canada, by name M. Robert and 

Justinia Harrison, are responsible for the fern paintings and each plate bears the artist's 

signature and the species of the subject. 

Isabel Nicholson, the Trust Representative, made it possible for Steve Munyard and myself 

to examine and photograph the plates and I would like to put on record our sincere 

thanks for the courtesy shown on our visit to the House. 

I list the species, in no particular order other than in two groups, 
its artist. These were the names current at the time, many are no 
are North American species. 

Camptosorus rhizophylli 

Aspidium fragrans 

Schizaea pusilla 

Pellaea atropurpurea Lomaria 




i attributed to 

Asplenium thelypteroides 

Painted by: M. Robert 

(More recently, in 1 948, a set of 1 8 hand-painted plates of New Zealand ferns was 
commissioned by the wife of the Governor General of New Zealand to honour a 
forthcoming royal visit. See Ferns by Philip Perl, pp. 56-59, Time Life International 1979. 


Durham Flora Committee and Durham County Conservation Trust, 1988. pp 
vi, 526, 220 x 308 mm. Price £30 + £2. 75 p & p. from 38 Langholm Crescent, 
Darlington, Co Durham DL3 7SX. Cheques made payable to Durham Flora Project. 
Until publication of this book County Durham was one of very few English counties 
without a flora produced this century. True, this author produced a very useful checklist 
in 1 972, but before that we have to go back to 1 868 to find a fully fledged local flora. 
Fortunately, the long wait has produced an excellent volume. The introductory section, 
comprising 65 pages, covers the climate, geology and history of recording etc. and is 
s comprehensive (263 pages) with ferns, flowering plants, 
covered. Distribution maps are given for all but the rarest 
: fern have been recorded for the county, including some 
are, e.g. Woodsia ilvensis - now sadly extinct; Dryoptehs 
- needs confirmation; Polystichum lonchitis, Dryopteris oreades and D. expansa 
ed to Teesdale; Gymnocaprium robertianum - near Middleton; Equisetum 
, E. hyemale and £ variegatum - all three as seen on the 1972 BPS t 

i only subsp. borreri 
I wonder if these records 
i light of recent research by Christopher Fraser-Jenkins and others? 
In a section of 149 pages the vegetation is discussed in a series of habitat analyses. 
These are very useful as examples of plant communities in the county and as a guide 
to the type of habitat where different species might normally be found. 
Overall this is an excellent account of a very interesting flora. It is a large book and 
good value by today's standards. 


,5(1988) 20 



Polpey, Par, Cornwall, PL24 2TW 

It was in April 1987 that I had the privilege of meeting our editor. Martin Rickard. (lEd.) 

First impressions are notoriously fallible. I was, and am, embarrassed that he shoulc 

that I am laying myself open to crushing criticism, 

thoughts 'about' rather than 'on' ferns. 

I had already made a few notes when I read Martin's article, 'The December Garden" 

(Pteridologist, Vol. 1, p.166, 1987). In it he suggests that many ferns are attractive 

throughout the winter, retaining their green fronds and combining well with the sturdy 

shrubs that flower during the short days and long nights before and after Christmas. 

He reminds us that "it has been said that shrubs and ferns do not mix; perhaps that 

is right ". It is that traditional assumption that I want to query. I am hoping to 

provoke debate, curiosity and, above all, the interest that will lead to experiment. If 

as it is to find a rockery or vegetable patch. Assuming that space is at a premium and 
specialising a luxury, I am proposing that by integrating suitable plants with 
complimentary ferns, the beauty, diversity and pleasure that should be derived from 
a garden can be immeasurably enhanced. An artist may not have considered the frame 
for his picture before he begins to paint it, but long before it is finished he will have 
given serious thought as to how his work can be shown off to the maximum advantage. 
A jeweller must first assemble his gems, but it is the setting that makes the ornament 
an objet d'art, thereby doubling the aesthetic and the intrinsic value. I believe that ferns 
can be used to accentuate the charm of many flowers and that, skilfully partnered, 
the association will attract a long overdue attention to the ferns themselves. Bringing 
them out of the shade into the limelight, their grace and divers species merit a far 
greater number of admirers than they have today among the general public. 
It is not a novel idea to grow small ferns such as Blechnum penna-marina, Asplenium 
trichomanes, A. ruta-muraha, A. adiantum-nigrum, even A. bilottii and A. ceterach in 
some counties between stones, or in walls, or hedges. Nor can I add to that custom, 
except to say that, in my opinion, they are better not too near brilliant rock plants. They 
are most attractive if allowed to appear among prostrate conifers. Possibly they are 
compatible because both are primitive plants. 

Asplenium scolopendrium is almost a weed with us, although the less common varieties 
are cherished. We have a few yards of dull wall which gets no direct sun and is covered 
with Vinca minor. In the late spring the wall develops a charm of its own. Clum D s 
of pale green scollies thrust up through the uniform dark green carpet, catching every 
ray of light and flattering the blue stars of the Vinca. The wall has become alive. 
The Cystopteris, alas, are not really native in Cornwall and they are not at home in 
our garden. I have lost several species, but while they lived they looked exquisite among 
low-growing grey-leaved plants, such as Chrysanthemum harad-janh. The delicacy of 
the frond is high-lighted by the dove-coloured leaves beneath it. Cotula squalida, too, 
will set off the bladder ferns, its leaves like miniature fronds themselves, but strong 
colours are too dominant to team with Cystopteris. 

Polystichum and Athyrium. The Soft Shield-ferns are particularly plentiful in 
and no two seem identical in formation of their pinnules. The Lady Ferns also a 
and varied. Although my fernery is but about three square yards i 

form of Iris laevigata, the deep, mottled i 
of Iris fulva. The stiff, rod-like stems of the iris, stand tall above the young ferns in 
the late spring, the depth of colour in the petals looking particularly striking against 
P. setiferum 'Plumoso-divisilobum'. In June the pale blue /. laevigata are out in the 
1 behind is smothered with the great open 
; 'Peter Robinson'. I think I can claim a success. For a 
fortnight I do not have to say, 'I wish you were here last week'. But the flowers fade, 
the ferns grow too big, the season moves on and the glory is departed, till next year. 
Matteuccia struthiopteris, it has ti 

We have 
tie spring. 

We planted Gunnera manicata there, which has now overgrown all the native vegetation 
except the matteuccia. Two years ago I dumped a dozen there, rather than burn them. 
They have repaid me for the reprieve handsomely, springing up around the base of 
the giant leaves of the gunnera; the delicate green of the fresh, shuttlecock fronds are 
as elegant as the gunnera is massive. Neither plant on its own is remarkable, together 
i-tropical s 

in Cornish gardens and 

outstanding fern of great dignity, but it is less easy to partner. 
We grow primulas beside ours and they blend happily enough. I wonder if a delicate 
flower, such as tillaea or heuchera, would show off the bold, sculptured fronds effectively? 
Onoclea sensibilis looks very good with hostas, particularly with H. undulata with its 
smaller leaf edged and streaked with white. This was a chance association where ground 
cover was needed in a shrubbery. Together they have given us much pleasure and 
the onoclea which had been condemned by my husband has been allowed to remain. 

ir British ferns. It is complemented 
stems of Solomon's seal, the tall imperial purple loosestrife, (there are 
tivars) and the deep red astilbes, (not 'Anthony Waterer'). 
joy a cool root system can benefit from low-growing ferns, such as 
ula and Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum', but the ferns must be moved 
I enough to compete with the lilies for the sunlight. It is reputed that 

I have tried A. venustum which 

outdoors in Cornwall but they d 

an for three years and A. pedatum which 
disappeared after two years, reappeared, and struggled on for another two years and 
then gave up. Last year I tried a plant of A. capillus-veneris near the pond. It did not 

le. I have seen A. pedatum flourishing abundantly in the open. It was 
i of Rodgersia pinnata whose leaves are described by the Dictionary 
as being of 'feathered bronze'. Both plants were thriving in the garden 

buoyant weeds. 
Woodwardia rac 

The majority of us with small gardens have to be strict in ou 
we want to cultivate or, more pertinently, to rear those that wi 
we have to offer. The financial ill-wind that has forced open the gates of the great 
gardens has certainly been for the public good. In one such garden in Cornwall there 
is a wild, narrow valley down which a stream makes its way to the sea. There, the 
woodwardias crowd each other out, tumbling helter-skelter, clogged with rampant 
vegetation, bedraggled and undignified, yet presenting a scene from a world lost long 
ago. I have admired them most in a National Trust garden, grown in a shaven lawn, 
and suitably distanced from hydrangeas clipped into neat, circular bushes, and dome- 
shaped green Acer dissectum. The uniform grass-green and the space between each 
presented the complementary details of form and habit to perfection. 
I have kept the tree-ferns till last because, of all ferns, I feel the greatest affection and 
respect for these survivors from the ancient days. 

The tree-ferns are themselves, they stand almost literally alone. I have often imagined 
a glade of these noble veterans under a canopy of forest giants, in a twilight that is 
always late afternoon. I can only dare dream of one flower that might enhance the 

magic drifts of white foxgloves, ethereal, elvish. I have put this idea to Mr Nigel 

Holman of Chyverton, who grows Dicksonia < 

Perhaps a few members wMI ponder my proposals, perhaps one or two will find the 
prospects pleasing, perhaps another generation will rediscover the Victorian enthusiasm 
for the welfare of ferns, for whose promotion and propagation, the B.P.S. exists. 


Long-coveted green thumbs* 


(Footnote: Line 6 is disputed* Ed.) 



The Moorings, Rocombe, Uplyme, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3RR 
I have a large garden, 2 3 / 4 acres, much of it now shaded by a wide variety of trees. 
It is on a steep slope facing west, extremely well drained and liable to drought - East 
Devon is by no means as wet as is often supposed. If it were left to itself, all beauty 
would be buried under long coarse grass, brambles, nettles, bracken and ash trees. 
The bracken has been exterminated, and the brambles much reduced, with the help 
of herbicides. Grass can, of course, be similarly killed, to the great benefit of cowslips, 
red campion and other wild flowers and weeds, but comes back except in dense shade. 
The pair of us have looked after this with, until recently, practically no assistance, so 
we have planted many trees and shrubs, and ground cover for shady and lighter areas. 
There is a race, of uncertain outcome, between ease of maintenance and advancing 
age. All this is by way of explanation of why, when I was attacked by pteridophilia, 
brought on in part by the sight of wild ferns (mostly Polystichum setiferum) which came 
up in a dense planting of Sequoia, it seemed a good idea to plant a number of ferns 
as quickly as possible. 

The first attempt, two years ago (autumn 1985), at raising ferns from spores was a 
complete failure. A lot of spores of Oak Fern had been collected on an autumn holiday 
in Norway. These and other wild species collected in the garden were sown on glass 
dishes of sifted peat which had been sterilized in a potato-steamer. After sowing, the 
dishes were covered with cling-foil and left on a north window-sill. No ferns appeared, 
but eventually algae and moss. Next spring, determined to be hygienic, I boiled pieces 
of capillary matting, put them in ice-cream boxes washed with permanganate solution, 
sowed spores (Cystopteris regia and Cyrtomium falcatum from bought plants) and again 
covered the boxes with cling-foil. The matting was kept damp by a wick through the 
bottom which rested on damp sand (weak permanganate). Again nothing but nasty black 
and green messes resulted. 

1 bought Dr. C.N. Page's book, and Reg Kaye's, joined the B.P.S. and had much helpful 
advice from Matt Busby and other members. Success soon started coming. Plastic pots, 
7 centimetres square, were filled with compost a la Page (1 part steamed garden soil, 

2 parts sand, 3 parts sifted moss peat); one was sown without further sterilization and 
another had boiling water poured through whilst the surface was protected by paper 
- actually an emptied tea-bag. Dryopteris submontana spores were used in both - not 
perhaps a very exciting fern but one of which I had plenty of fresh spores from a plant 
bought two years before. Both pots were covered with glass and put by a north window 
on a shelf over a night-storage heater turned very low; the temperature was about 20- 
23°C. Within three weeks both showed profuse green dots of prothalli. The second 

ent has been used for most subsequent sowings. 

imn 1 986, after reading in Page that "if artificial greenhouse lighting is not available, 
sowing should always be done in springtime", and having the impatience of old age, 
" a fern lamp. This has two 20 watt (2 foot) "Grolux" fluorescent tubes side by 
i a hood made of wood and hardboard, lined with aluminium kitchen foil. These 
are of a peculiar purplish colour; whilst not as bright visually as ordinary fluorescent 
tubes, they give out much more light in the deep red part of the spectrum where 
photosynthesis is most active. The lamp is controlled by a time switch. The bottom of 
»od is 13 inches from the tube and measures 10 inches by 29 inches. The soil 
pots is 2 feet from the tubes. Inside the legs of the stand there is comfortable 
or three trays (unperforated seed-trays), each of which will take 15 of the square 
pots or 4 quarter-trays; these can be watered from underneath. The pots are 7 centimetres 
(2 3 / 4 inches) square, 6 centimetres (2 1 / 2 inches) deep and are of a plastic that will stand 

Pteridologist 1,5 (1988) 205 

boiling water or heating in a pressure cooker. They are very difficult to find in garden 
shops in this area. The common 'Plantpak' pots buckle in boiling water as do yoghourt 
pots, margarine boxes, etc., useful though they are for potting-up. 
To try the system out, fresh spores of a dozen different species were sown, collected 
from the wild or from bought plants, all germinated well, some faster than others. They 
all kept growing through the winter with a daylength of 1 5 hours of light, later increased 
to 19 hours, at a temperature around 20-23°C. The fastest grower was Gymnocarpium 
robertianum, some of which, sown in October 1986, were potted up in March 1987 
and planted out in May 1987, the longest fronds being then 8 inches long, one already 
starting pale green sori. This was also the species which most frequently came as strays 
under other named sowings, no doubt due to carelessness with the spores. They are 
easily identified by the strong and delicious smell of the young fronds. Other frequent 
strays were Asplenium adiantum-nigrum and Polystichum setiferum. 
In spring 1987, in anticipation of more spores from the B.P.S. spore exchange and some 
from seed merchants, another lamp of somewhat different design was made. This was 
cheaper, as it used a single 40 watt (4 foot) tube, but therefore needed more room. 
The reflectors, aluminium foil on thin hardboard, were curved to an elliptical shape, 
calculated to focus the tube roughly to the two sides of the illuminated area, with the 
idea of getting a more even light; actually, it turned out rather brighter at the sides 
than in the middle. It seems clear that the shape of the reflecting hood is not critical, 
but it should come down well below the level of the tube, so that as much of the light 
as conveniently possible is brought to the pots and not allowed to stray sideways. Brilliant 
white paint could be used instead of the foil, at least in the upper parts of the hood. 
During the spring some 30 different kinds of spore were sown - some of uncertain 
freshness. Results were more variable and, on the whole, slower than with spores known 
to be fresh. There were also new kinds of strays, such as maidenhairs. 

Times to the first perceptible, but unmistakable, sign of green prothalli have vane 
8 days Gymnocarpium robertianum) and, perhaps, a month. Most species come ... .«- 
24 days, but the 3 Oak and Beech Ferns, Osmunda and the commoner Dryoptens have 
come in 8-10 days. Some species, however, though not unduly slow to germinate, seem 
to take a long time to 'fernicate' from the prothalli; Dryopteris aemula, D. expansa 
Osmunda regalis and Polystichum lonchitis are examples. Growth may be encouraged 
later, as suggested by Matt Busby, by spraying with half-strength 'Fillip (one part 
concentrate to 320 parts water), or other foliar feed. Some sporophytes later turn yel, 
seemingly through lack of nitrogen. Spraying with 1 / 4 % urea solution (a clean, harmless 
synthetic chemical sold by the hundred-weight for cattle feed) has encouraged such 
plants to strong growth without damage, although it contains nearly 5 times as much 
nitrogen as 'Fillip'. 

The trouble with growing ferns from spores is that if you get any, you get them J 
> pricked out or potted up. Pricking out into seed trays 
is much quicker than individual potting (yoghourt pots or 7 centimetre square 'Plantpaks'), 
but the latter makes for better plants and easier planting out later. To house a the 
little ferns, two new cold-frames were put up in a shady place and to help keep them 
tidy, floored with 'Plantpak' pot trays which one garden centre supp hed - most garaen 
centres take the view that these are only for commercial growers use and will not 
supply them. I am now (November 1987) having to plant out from the frames ; to ^make 
room for new intakes. So far, I have planted out in the garden over 240 *™>W 
including Gymnocarpium robertianum, Asplenium trichomanes, A. ad,antum-n,grum, 
Dryopteris submontana and D. dilatata 'Crispa'. 
Apart from spores the most spectacular results can be achieved with bulbils of Cystopteris 

bulbifera. They grow rapidly in 
a new set of bulbils. Thus, if < 
on January 1st would end up as 156 plants and 625 bulbils by the end of the year. 
If you then really tried, you would get nearly 100,000 plants in two years. Of course 
you would need 400, 4 foot fluorescent tubes in a large growing house and 2 1 / 4 acres 
to plant them out in, at 1 foot triangular spacing. Isn't mathematics wonderful? They 
are pretty plants too, although not evergreen except under continuous long days. Plantlets 
from Polystichum setiferum varieties have not been anything like so fast growing. 
In addition to plant production, some experiments on methods have been done. It must 
be emphasised that the results are only suggestive and far from conclusive, since no 
special care was taken to equalise quantities of spores, no repeats were done and different 
species were used for different trials. It seems safe to say, however, that the choice 
of compost is of some importance. The Page compost, made with good soil from a part 
of the garden where we used to grow vegetables, resterilized in the pots with boiling 
water, has been used for nearly all the fern production, and when compared with other 
composts has generally been at least as good as anything. Some commercial composts, 
similarly treated, have been as good, e.g. 'Baby Bio' and 'Shamrock' seed composts. 
Soil from a shady, ferny bank in the garden, with or without peat and steamed in the 
pot for 20 minutes, produced a white mould; this was controlled with Copper fungicide, 
but germination was still slow. In the same experiment, with Polystichum aculeatum, 
pure sand gave very slow and poor germination; sifted moss peat gave none at all - 
could I have forgotten to sow it, or was it too acid for a calcicole? 

In an experiment with Osmunda spores, obtained the previous day on a South-west 
Group meeting in Somerset, Irish moss peat and Shapwick sedge peat germinated first 
(9 days to perceptible greening), with Page compost and 'Baby Bio Multi Compost' only 
a day behind. As the contents of used tea-bags looked physically suitable (moisture 
holding and non-clogging) they were tried, but soon went white with mould and gave 
no germination. Later, the same material, but pressure-cooked for ten minutes and sown 
with fresh Dryopteris aemula (B.P.S. Dunster weekend), gave the same result. 
Clearly there is plenty of scope for further experimentation. Curiosity may have killed 
the cat, but does no harm at all to humans, young or old. As a final word, fern-raising 

Pteridologist 1, 5(1988) 



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

In 1986, I was asked if I would like to have a look at some ferns in e 

Herefordshire garden. The owner, Mr C.H. Fisher, who had recently died, had been a 

short term member of the BPS, around 1950. The property was left to his nephews 

who, fortunately, were well aware that the garden had been something special and, 

within reason, they were pleased to allow interested enthusiasts a look round before 

the property was sold on. 

As soon as I had time I therefore set out to visit the garden. The soil seemed about 

neutral (ph 7) although a lot of peat had been added in places. The garden sloped down 

to the south-west, covered by a thick canopy of trees and was quite sheltered, despite 

being over 600 feet above sea level. To be honest, most parts were very severely overgrown; 

obviously Mr Fisher had been unable to maintain it in his later years. Nevertheless 

it was an adventure to plough through the undergrowth, never knowing what one might 

find. In its heyday the garden had clearly been of the highest quality. A rivulet flowed 

down the slopes joining a small stream at the bottom. All along the banks of both the 

conditions were ideal for ferns, and this is where most were found. Many were common, 

but some surprised me and to see their continued survival after perhaps a decade or 

so of neglect is, I think, worth putting on record as evidence of the persistence, and 

hence ease of culture, of each species. 

The following list contains the species I found in the garden, with species native to 

north-east Herefordshire excluded. 

Adiantum pedatum 'Subpumilum' - more or less naturalised along banks of stream. 

Arachnioides standishii - surviving despite being almost invisible under nettles; the 

rhizome was under stones. The only place I recall seeing this fern is in the Filmy Fern 

House at Kew. I now know that this is a fine hardy plant suitable for the garden. 

Cyrtomium fortunei 

Dryopteris erythrosora 

Dryopteris wallichiana 

Matteuccia struthiopteris - abundant in boggy ground. 

Osmunda cinnamomea - spreading 

Osmunda claytonia - enormous clump 

Osmunda regalis 

Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis - spreading 

Polystichum munitum 

Polytichum polyblepharum 

Polystichum sp. - Asian? 

Polystichum sp. - possibly a plumose form of Polystichum setiferum 

There were also quite a few varieties of British ferns:- 

Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum' - several forms naturalised, mostly fertile 

Asplenium scolopendrium 'Marginatum' - several forms, branched or simple, again 

several plants, again naturalised, even spreading 
scoJopendrium r Hamosum' - several forms scattered here and there, obviously 
scolopendrium 'Undulatum' - an extraordinarily convoluted form, the best 

Asplenium thchomanes 'Incisum Moule' 

Athyrium filix-femina 'Cristatum' 

Dryopteris affinis 'Polydactyla' - naturalised 

Dryopteris filix-mas 'Barnesii' 

Dryopteris filix-mas 'Linearis polydactyla' 

Polypodium interjectum 'Cornubiense' - struggling through ground elder 

Polystichum setiferum 'Divisilobum' - one or two plants. 

Polystichum setiferum 'Plumosum Bevis' 

Polystichum setiferum 'Plumoso-divisilobum' ('Plumosum densum') 

As Mr Fisher kept notes of his acquisitions, mainly in the 1950s and 1960s, it is possible 

to add to the significance of these lists by recording the species which failed to survive. 

Notable examples were:- 

Cystopteris montana, Dennstaedtia punctiloba, Dryopteris aemula, D. clintonia, D. 

crassirhizoma, D. goldiana, D. intermedia, D. varia, Lunathyrium thelypteroides, Osmunda 

gracilis, 0. palustris, Parathelypteris novaboracensis, Polypodium glycyrrhiza, P. 

virginianum, Polystichum lonchitis, as well as many rather difficult species including 

Asplenium, Pellaea, Pyrrosia and Selaginella; although I note that Dicksonia antarctica 

did survive at least one winter. 

Shade in this garden is 100% provided by a most wonderful collection of trees and 

shrubs, so, I daresay, some of the ferns have been lost through drought. Nevertheless, 

despite this and invasion by nettles, brambles, bamboos etc, the fact that so many ferns 

have survived in this Herefordshire garden is quite remarkable. I hope, therefore, it will 

give others confidence to experiment and encourge the wider culture of these and other 


The house was sold in early 1987 and the new owners, who have joined the Hereford 
Group of the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, are 
enthusiastically setting about restoring the garden. 


FERNS OF MALAYSIA IN COLOUR by AG. Pigott, 458 pp., 1363 colour plates 
(by C.J. Ptggott). 1988 Kuala Lumpur. Obtainable through UK agents, GH Services, 
Glemham House, Saxmundam, Suffolk IP1 7 1 LP at £43 00 (post-free for payment 
with order). 

This is a beautiful book \ 


wonderful variety of Malaysian ferns i 

d varieties covered, fascinating 
local uses and, more important to the gardener, information on the natural habitat. The 
chapter on 'Principal vegetation types and fern habitats' will also be useful to anyone 
trying to provide tender ferns with the best possible grov 
provides a short chapter on the trials of fern-photography and the < 
Mrs Piggott's book is most interesting in its own right, but it also takes the mystery 
out of some of the many new additions to the B.P.S. spore list. 




43 Molewood Road, Hertford, Herts SG14 3AQ 


The Horsetails are a fascinating and attractive group of pteridophytes which are much 
neglected by fern growers. This article is an attempt to summarise their cultural 
requirements and hopefully to encourage others to begin to grow them. The author 
currently grows almost all the British species and hybrids, and can assure the reader 
that Equiseta are both easy and rewarding to cultivate. 

The cultivation of Horsetails is a subject which has received little attention in the literature, 
and is often omitted from more general fern growing accounts. To make matters worse, 
such references that do exist are often inaccurate and misleading. One of the first serious 
references in recent years is in Manton (1 950); Hoshizaki (1 979) c 


Any normal plant pots can be usee 
ch size for an established plant « 
les. Pots may be either plastic or 
avoiding the dangers of drying out. 

irge containers such as sinks and troughs may be made use of, above ground or buried 
give a natural effect. The use of such containers is sometimes recommended rather 
avoid the risk of uncontrolled spread of the rhizomes, 
i which grows vigorously enough to become a problem 

j fern composts and soils, I 
, peat, sand and clay. Most species s 
t of strongly acidic ones. However, mosx nouns,, -~~ 
a mildly acidic soil is flushed by base-rich water, and 
so it is probably as well to bear this in mind. There appears to be no special requiem* 
for fertilizers, other than the presence of free silica (which would be provided by a little 
clay), much of which is used in the aerial shoots. 

i ground. All species neea xo rwve man ....««.«~ 
in contact with moisture, even those that appear to grow in very dry situations. 
The way to deal with this vital need for water in potted plants is to stand them permanently 
in trays of water. A water depth of one to two inches will give a reasonable buffer 
against drought even in the summer months. Standing in water seems to cause no 
problems of rotting such as might be expected with other pter.dophytes. 


Horsetails will grow happily in a wide range of light conditions. They seem to do best 
in cultivation when in strong light but short of full sun. The morphology of the plants 
varies with the light, those growing in full sun being somewhat bleached, stocky and 
less well branched, those growing in deep shade being darker green, slender and more 
well branched. 

Shelter is not generally important for the healthy growth of horsetails but the more 
fragile species, for example E. pratense and E. sylvaticum, will look better for longer 
if they have some protection against the wind. 

The simplest method of propagation is by division of the rhizomes. This is best done 
in the spring, just as the plant is beginning to grow. It is important to have a reasonable 
length of rhizome, say, six inches, preferably with good shoots starting to emerge from 
the rhizome joints. Newer growth towards the outside of the plant is most likely to 
be successful. One can often take advantage of the tendency of horsetails to send rhizomes 
out from the holes in the bottom of pots. If left to themselves these will usually produce 
roots and aerial shoots and can be detached from where they emerge from the pot. 
New divisions are particularly sensitive to water shortage until they become established. 
From Spores 

Equiseta can be grown from spores in much the same way as for ferns. Any of the 
usual fern spore techniques can be used but a few additional points should be borne 
in mind. The spores are green and are only viable for a few days in normal conditions. 
They have long, fine strips attached to them called 'elaters' which flex violently with 
even small changes in humidity. This behaviour usually makes the spores stick together 
as the elaters interlock, and can make it difficult to sow the spores thinly and evenly. 
The spores most commonly germinate in the wild on damp clayey mud; a thin layer 
of this on top of the usual spore mix works well but is probably not essential. 
Successful germination requires good light and will even succeed in full sun (this is 
in contrast to the curious advice reported by Rush (1 984) ). Germination is usually within 
a week or two but the prothalli can be rather slow growing. They seem to be particularly 
prone to fungal attack and so extra care must be taken in sterilization before and after 


The successful establishment of horsetails taken from the wild can be a very difficult 
task. The author originally had many frustrating attempts before the right method was 
found. The problem stems from the fact that horsetails usually send their rhizomes down 
very deep and the thin sections likely to be dug up close to the surface may have very 
little root and hence not be able to sustain themselves and any aerial shoots attached. 
Digging up sufficiently deep rhizome can be very difficult, especially in the stony, clayey 
soils in which they often grow. 

The first step is to dig up as deep a length of rhizome as possible, looking for new 
shoots and buds at the joints (as when making divisions in cultivation). If the horsetail 
is growing in a stream, this can make it much easier to tease out a good length of 
rhizome. One has to be something of an opportunist, taking advantage of any fortuitous 
help such as rhizomes disturbed by deep ploughing or emerging from the sides of newly 

(a JCB v 

Having acquired a good piece of rhizome, preferably without too 

aerial shoots, it must be protected against drying out by sealing i 

plant should be potted in the usual way and then the pot stood in 

of water right up to the rim of the pot. The depth c 

chance of success. The newly transplanted horsetail should be kept like this until ther 

are clear signs of establishment and new growth. There seems to be no problems < 

rot as one might expect from this treatment. 

Once established, horsetails will usually grow quite strongly and cone readily. (Unlik 

the findings in Duckett (1970), the author's experience is that almost all species con 

within one to two years of being transplanted.) 

All the usual considerations concerning collecting from the wild naturally apply an 

should be borne in mind; however, i 

being threatened by t 

DUCKETT, J.G., 1970. The Coning Behaviour of the Genus Equisetum in Britain. Brit. Fern Gaz.. 

10(3): 107-112. 

HOSHIZAKI, Barbara Joe, 1979. Fern Gron 

MANTON, I., 1950. Problems of cytology i 

RUSH, Richard, 1984. Raising Pteridophytes from Spores: the Special Cases. Pteridologist, 


Lloyd H. Snyder and James G. Bruce. 270 pp University of Georgia Press. 
Athens and London. 1986. ISBN 0-8203-0838-2. 

This is yet another State fern flora, of mediocre illustrations although most would allow 
you to determine the specimen in question. Those of the two Azolla would not, 
however, and close-up drawings of the hair-like glochidia on the microspores and the 
upper leaf surface would have been very useful to separate the two species / 
(our British plant) and that called here A. caroliniana which has beer 

-s do not tally with the illustrations (e.g. in the Thelypteris sppO .The 

maps showing presence or absence of a species in each county are useful and sometimes 

throw up some interesting problems. 


illustrated by T.N.H. Galloway. 31 pp. National Museum of New lea lan ^'^' ane ° US 

Series No 15, 1987. ISSN 0110-1447. From N.M.N.Z., Pnvate bag, Wellmgton. HZ. 

and BPS Booksales. 

withtheoutingKerma^c Chatham, Snares. Audd.nO. Campbell and Anhpodes ,s,and 
groups. Order it quickly before it goes out of print. 



The Old Rectory, Leinthall Starkes, Ludlow, Shrops. SY8 2HP 
For over a hundred years fern growers have attempted to find ways of ensuring the 
safe transfer of their fern collections from one generation of growers to the next. 
Unfortunately, success has not always accompanied their efforts and, as with most groups 
of plants, many of our choicest cultivars have been lost. Therefore, before the British 
Pteridological Society and the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens 
could think about locating national collections today, it was considered most important 
to examine the problems experienced by our predecessors and, hopefully, find ways 
of avoiding the same pitfalls. 

So far as I am aware, the first national collection of ferns was set up at Kew around 
1880 at the suggestion of E.J. Lowe. This was added to from the best collections of 
the time; W. Carbonell of Usk, alone, donated 4261 specimens in 1887. It is therefore 
> assume that at least 5000 ferns were given to Kew over this period 
the choicest varieties then known. By the 1 920s, when the collection 
r, it was partially restocked but, sadly, today the collection 
is again very small. 

Again during the 1880s, a large collection of ferns was donated to the Bristol Zoological 
Gardens by Col. A.M. Jones. Despite initially being looked after by an enthusiastic Mr. 
Harris, this collection dwindled in the hands of successive head gardeners and little 
of it remains today. 

Some time later, in 1908, W.B. Cranfield acquired the remnants of the collection of 
James Moly - one of the most successful of the Victorian fern hunters. Happily, Cranfield 
safely transported the ferns back to Enfield where they thrived. A great success story! 
Over the next forty years Cranfield continued to amass ferns as the fern pioneers died, 
building up an enormous collection. At its peak this was without doubt the best collection 
ever assembled, with many plants unique to it. Sadly, at this point things went wrong. 
Cranfield died leaving his ferns to Wisley, where there were already quite a few ferns; 
at that time it seemed the ideal solution but in 1948, just after the war, things were 
difficult. A van was sent to collect the ferns and, as the story goes, ferns from a few 
square yards at the side of the house filled it very quickly but the van is reputed not 
to have returned for a second load. About four acres of the most choice ferns were 
left in situ for the new owners of the garden to burn off prior to planting vegetables. 
This coup de grace to the last great fern collection was a setback from which the fern 
cult will possibly never recover. 
What can we learn from these tales of woe? 

1. I believe the first lesson is not to leave large collections to public gardens unless 
they are already growing related plants and are successful and interested in their 
culture. Unhappily, Wisley was not ready for ferns in 1948. Also, it is important 
to beware changes of priority from one gardener to the next, as at Bristol. But 
probably most important, do not attempt to create a site where the collection would 
be outside the normal scope of the garden - as at Kew where the priority is for 
species not cultivars. 

2. If possible, new collections should only be created in areas suited to the culture 
of certain species - e.g. Polystichum setiferum varieties from Carbonell's collection 
survived better at Usk than they did at Kew, therefore Gwent would probably be 
a good area to site a national collection of Polystichum. 

Collections should be placed only w 

in growing the genus concerned. 

Collections should be duplicated. If possible, one collection sh 

for easy access while back-up collections, containing the mo 

be in the hands of enthusiasts and, perhaps, nurserymen. Holders of these nati 

collections should hopefully be able to double as referees. 

Bearing these points in mind the NCCPG and the BPS have jointly produced the follov 

interim scheme for the location of the National Collections of ferns:- 

Group Public Collection Private and Back-Up 

Asplenium scolopendrium (1 00) Sizergh Castle and Wigan College ? 

Dryopteris (1 50) Sizergh Castle and Harlow Car C. Fraser-Jenk 

Osmunda (15) Sizergh Castle A.R. Busby 

Cystopteris (1 5) Sizergh Castle 

Polypodium (80) Harlow Car M.H. Rickard 

Athyrium (100) Savill Gardens 

Polystichum(150) ? 

a (5) ? 

. Grounds & D. Grenfell 

n (50) Tatton Park 

Numbers in brackets give a rough idea of the number ot taxa ivaneue* «» 

involved in each group. 

National collections are now established, or are being established, at all these s 

This obviously leaves a lot of unsolved problems. Two l^^^?^**^ 

scolopendrium and Athyrium, do not have prive 

Polystichum, has neither a public nor a private s 

collections, while a third large group. 

mind to fill some of these gaps. I 

of the NCCPG and the BPS membership maybe s 

J for consideration. 


Could I please request information on the germination 
also be very interested to hear of any species of Botrychium kept 
and any clues as to its cultivation from spores. 
Martin Cragg-Barber, 1 Station Cottages, Hullavington, 


this refers to i 
The authors ; 

j Atlas of British Ferns (Jermy et al 1 978). 

just south of Galgate to the t 
Glasson where it flows out into t 
Estuary via Glasson Dock (Fig. 1). 

north as Tewitfield; here i 

part of a road-bridge overhead and the 
water from the northern section is 
channelled through a specially 
constructed tunnel which effectively 
prevents further passage of boats. Boating 50 
does not take place in the Tewitfield- 
Stanton section. 

The Tewitfield record (tetrad 57B) 
In August 1985t 



'■ '" I - 





i i i i 

} ^ 









>ON I 



ri l L 




i - 



i authors found A. filiculoides at the Tewitfield end of the non-boating 
section of the canal. Most of the colony fringed the eastern bank and extended almost 
to the point where the underpass tunnel carries the water through to the boating section. 
It appeared to be very healthy and, although predominantly green in colour, photographs 
show there was a small degree of reddening. At this bank there is a stone-bottomed 
overflow channel from a nearby stream; this takes any surplus water from the stream 
into the canal at a point not far from the underpass tunnel entrance. The water in 
the channel is usually fairly shallow with little or no flow; it supports a variety of aquatic 
plants, i.e. Elodea, Potamogeton, Rorippa, Lemna, etc. 

During 1986, when the site was visited several times, no A. filiculoides was seen either 
in the canal or in the overflow channel; it seemed to be completely absent. However, 
in late January 1987 a small colony was found in the overflow channel but none in 
the canal proper or higher up in the feeder stream. This winter colony was predominantly 
red in colour and appeared to be in very good condition, but by the early summer months 
no trace of these plants could be found. Towards the end of 1 987 the canal was drained 
at both sides of the underpass tunnel to permit repair work. 

On all occasions when this site was visited, the northern end of the boating section 
was searched for Azolla but at no time were any plants seen in this area. 

Pteridologist 1,5 (1988) 

1 987 records further south ii 

During October 1987 Dr. G. Halliday of Lancaster University c 

heard that there was some Azolla in the canal at Lancaster. Shortly < 

A. Hoyer of Blackpool informed the authors that whilst walking along tl 

from Lancaster to the aqueduct (where the canal is carried over the R 

had seen a lot of Azolla. 

Following the above information, a search of the North I 

was carried out during early November. A. filiculoides was 

northernmost being tetrad 46X immediately north of the aqu 

area failed to reveal any more plants. Proceeding south fr< 

further south to well beyond Galgate, and also occurring in the eastern end o 

canal to Glasson, thus enabling its presence to be recorded in t 

45S, 45T, 45X and 45W. It is possible that the plant's distribution co 

the authors' recording area. 

In total, these sightings occur over a length of approximately 13-14 k 

canal, although in some tetrads there were only a few scattered plants. 

In November red was the dominant colour of the countless millions of Azolla seen. 

Fig. 2 shov 

; 46V, 46Q, 45U, 

5 searched in November 1987. Fig. 3 s 

IN NOVEMBER 1987 \A' ■ 

*L * I^jlT 

^ '-■-■>- + i 

-3 - ,r 

if/ j\ 

^i-s "H T- 

V c^r P 

~V 'jfrf " " "'""' i J 

5&M: ±C 


~ttz$ — lid ■ Fig 2 — 

Rlcr D S E D W : ER NOV A E Z M °BE A R S^ 

" ^ w -:5 

-3 -■-> J± 


CM- ::x:x- 

^V^ftJ-E ^yJjfl 

^\.^^1 — I— Fig.3 

t from c. 1985 to 1987 there have been two qu.te sep 

Nr. Tewitf ield - first observed in the canal during August 1 985, apparently a 

for much of 1986 (possibly all year), re-appearance in the overflow ch 

late January 1987, apparently absent through much of 19b/- 

Nr. Lancaster - the greatest concentration in 46W in November 1987. 

From here it seems feasible to postulate 

the canal was ai< 

flow of the water and 

passage of boats; in some tetrads only a few scattered plants could be found. 

Rather unfortunately, the canal in 46W was not botanised by the authors during 

the earlier months of 1987, but they had visited 45S, 45T, 45X and 45W over 

a wide range of dates during the spring and summer and had not seen any 

Azolla. It is suspected that all the November sightings result from a sudden 

population explosion during 1987, probably in 46W. 

Broughton Cobb (1963) writes that A. caroliniana Willd. (syn. A. filiculoides Lam) 

attains the full red colour in full sun and that it is green in the shade, whilst Clapham 

et al (1962) describe it as becoming red in autumn. From the authors' very limited 

observations, the red colouration has been at its strongest at the November and 

January sightings, thus supporting the Clapham view. 

Broughton Cobb also writes that he observed it wintering satisfactorily in a pond 
where, even though there was little ice, the temperature went below 20°F several 
times in a season (in the U.S.A.). Clapham et al indicate that it suffers severely 
in hard winters (southern England). 

It will be interesting to see if the Lancaster Canal populations survive the coming 
winter. A point of further interest will be to see if the plants continue to spread 

CLAPHAM, TUTIN & WARBURG. 1 962 (2nd edn.) Flora of the British Isles. 
COBB, BROUGHTON. 1963. A Field guide to the Ferns, Petersen Field Guide Series. 
JERMY, ARNOLD, FARRELL & PERRING. 1 978. Atlas of the Ferns of the British Isles. 
LIVERMORE & LIVERMORE. 1 987. The Flowering Plants and Ferns of North Lancashire. 


THE BM FERN CRIB by Josephine Camus and Clive Jermy, British Museum 
(Natural History), November 1987. Pp. ii, 32. Price £1 plus a stamped addressed 
envelope size 230 x 160 mm, from Clive Jermy, British Museum (Natural History), 
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD 

I cannot believe that any member of our Society who grows or studies British ferns 
can afford to be without this excellent booklet. No longer should the separation of 
superficially similar species be a problem, since here the diagnostic characters of each 
problem species are clearly tabulated, and illustrated where necessary. Guides are given 
to separate fairly clearly defined species which might baffle the beginner e.g. Dryopteris 
aemula and D. dilatata, but much more critical subjects are also tackled, e.g. the subspecies 
of Dryopteris affinis (largely contributed by Christopher Fraser- Jenkins and Anthony 
Pigott). I can think of no potentially difficult species pairing, fern or fern ally, which 
is not included. In all 48 different taxa are covered. 

The version under review is, in fact, a second, significantly improved, edition. The text 
has been refined throughout, while the entry on Polystichum has been expanded and 
a three-page section, by Dr Chris Page, on the 3 morphological types of bracken has 
been added. 

rinting errors, making the addition of a corrigenda 
t 3p a page this booklet is a bargain. 



jiving much attention in botanical circles during 
to members to have all the facts concerning 
n proposed that the species name 


This fern is our very oldest variety, famous in both botanical and gardening circles. 
It was first recorded in 1 690 by John Ray, the "Father of English Botany" in his Synopsis 
Stirpium Britannicarum, ed. 1 , 22, as Polypodium cambrobritannicum, the Lacmiated 
Polypody of Wales. It appears that the record was published by Ray with no mention 
of his authority and it was mistakenly credited to him. All the information I have been 
able to assemble from many sources for this paper perpetuates this error and I was 
in danger of doing the same. By a fortunate chance Martin Rickard recalled that he 
had seen somewhere (he could not remember where) mention of a paper by either 
H A Hyde or A E Wade of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff stating that the fern 
had been found much earlier by a certain Richard Kayse of Bristol. I approached Dr 
Barry A Thomas, the present Keeper of Botany at the Museum and he ha * "'"^^"J 
h^s^eveJbeen^Mshed.'l acknowledge my debt to the National Museum of Wales 
and to Dr Thomas for the use of the manuscript in this paper. The record, a very long 
time delayed, can now be put straight. 

Richard Kayse, of whom little is known, visited Dinas Powis in 1668 and found, in 
Ray's words, "on a rock in a wood near Dinas Powis Castle, Glamorganshi 

s words, on a rock in a wooa near umds ruw.o w«<~.~, w.-. ..-.„- 
Laciniated Polypody of Wales, Polypodium vulgare var. cambncum. me loca.iiy * 
confirmed by a local botanist, John Storrie, in his Flora of Glamorgan^ pub I shed m 
1886. He added that Ray's specimen frond was still preserved in the Natura a V 
Museum in South Kensington, London. (It still is. See Fig. 2.) <t is the original ^ ^^ 
Storrie adds further that the colony was completely destroyed about 1 87 by an itinerant 
fern dealer who uprooted all the plants, and hundreds were sold at one sh.mng^p««B) 
each - Storrie bought one! Fortunately, it seems the colony was not ^^T^e 
s re-discovered in 1908 by the late Rev H J R.ddelsde I. Wad 

states that (in the year his manuscript was written) a search for the fern proved fruit ess 
and adds that nearly thirty years were to pa« h«f 
the Glamorgan plants. Only a few years ago 

hpfnrp there were any Turtner nnub ui 

l ,h ol V a e rw W v e e r a e rsago .he Kabita. was visaed by Dr Mary Gibby 

^1°Z^hS L confirms tha, P. — 'Cerebrum' ,s 

, y w.. a rather inaccessible 
The fern was described and named by Linnaeus in 1754 in his Spec/es ££^» 
a distinct species. Podium cambncum, ^^^^JKucin, 


Willdenow was the first to recognise it as a variety and the ^ '^^.^^ 

was in 1743 in the British Herbal. It was, therefore, one of the very fevv jrn va 

to be of interest not only to the collector but to the bolamata. It -s mentic 

Floras of Babbington. of Hooker and Bentham and of Hayward and , 

in some as P. cambricum Willd., in others as P. cambncum L. 


Although named Polypodium australe 'Cambncum ^ 

discovery being in Wales, many c 

., :■■■ - ■• ' ■","' 

. ■ ■ 

made over the years, most of them highly s 
the bearing of spores, which obviously nullified the claims. (See later under Description). 
Beaumaris, Conwy Castle, Glamorgan and other places in Wales have been mentioned, 
and in England Monmouthshire, South Devon, Bristol, Glastonbury, Cheshire and 
Ambleside in the Lake District. Of these, Conwy Castle is probably a correct record 
but the fern was possibly planted there in the first place. The Monmouthshire find was 
a different form, the Cambricum variety 'Oakeleyae', while the Glastonbury one obviously 
refers to 'Whilharris', another of the Cambricum varieties, found nearby at Pennard. 
Other finds of more recent occurrence have been wrongly identified as 'Cambricum' 
It should be added, however, that the nearness to this variety of other Polypodium variations 

- but fertile ones - led to the erroneous identifications. Any true finds are more likely 
to be in places where they have obviously been introduced, such as walls. The Conwy 
Castle record was from a wall, and in 1987 Martin Rickard found the variety on a wall 
in Cornwall, obviously planted there. It would appear fair to say that possibly only one 
find of 'Cambricum' in Ray's form has ever been made in the wild, the colony at Dinas 
Powys in 1 668, over 300 years ago. Since it has been receiving the attention of growers 

- and botanists - for most of that time, it should have got around a bit. 


P. australe 'Cambricum' (Fig. 1) is the plumose form of the species and, as such, is 
completely barren, with beautiful wide foliose fronds which can be up to six/nine inches 
broad. They are ovate or ovate-lanceolate in shape, bipinnatifid throughout and thm- 
I tough, not easily damaged and f 
; australe charactei 
winter and persisting until late in the following summer. The 
but this can increase up to two feet in very favourable habitats and growing conditions 
They have a tendency to be slightly concave, with the basal pinnae 
The stipe is long, equal in length to the blade. The pinnae are long, 
at the base, becoming much wider, up to two inches and 
and tapering to pointed tips. They are re-divided into long, deeply-cut leafy segments, 
acutely pointed, serrate, overlapping, linear or linear-lanceolate in shape and irregular 
in length. At the pinnae bases these are absent or reduced to serrations and at the 
pinnae tips they gradually reduce to serrations. In poor growing conditions 

3 segments of the pinnae 

reduced to deep serrations. 

Similar-looking ferf/7e varieties of the polypodies can be to 
the assumption that 'Cambricum' can, in some cases, be 
'Pulcherrimum' is superficially very like 'Cambricum', with wide foliose fronds an wi 
similarly divided pinnae. This variety is fertile and it lacks the peculiar papery texture 
and lucent frond surface which characterises 'Cambricum'. Another variety is 
'Cornubiense', also fertile, and looking so very like 'Pulcherrimum' that thev f are- often 
confused. It has one very useful distinguishing character, however - it always P«x™*s 
, than just occasional, frond of the normal 

The australe \ 

form; this I always refer to as its "signature tune . 

ORIGIN ptje _ 

How did 'Cambricum' arise? Certainly not from the look-alike fertile va . 

'Pulcherrimum' or 'Cornubiense' mentioned above. If either had been around at the 

time (300 years ago) and — -^ 

doubt, have been found and recorded. Also, the latter v\ 

producing the occasional normal polypodium frond, 

passed this c 

all its progeny. Druery suggests we can con S .u«. , "^ te ^Tf ,J1^ 

:l.i ♦ c.^h tvnps are not uncommon in waies. ne wdb 

face) which had 

i possible parent. Such types are r 
J Lowe of a Cambricum habitat < 

been completely stripped of the fern after the variety became known in the locality. 
(Presumably he was referring to the Dinas Powys colony which had been stripped). 
However, "within twenty yards, growing on an old pollarded willow, was a clump of 
fertile 'Bipinnatum' with somewhat foliose fronds which could certainly form a most 
likely progenitor". In Druery's day it was not recognised that P. vulgare and P. australe 
were separate species. 'Cambricum' is probably a sport from australe - was the foliose 
Bipinnatum', referred to above, vulgare or australe? If it was the latter, it seems that 
the suggestion of this fern being the possible parent could be correct. 

As well as 'Cambricum' itself there are five forms which we regard as varieties of the 
fern. They are 'Cambricum Barrowii' found in the Lake District in 1874, 'C. Hadwinii' 
found in Silverdale in Lancashire in 1875, 'C. Oakeleyae' found in Monmouthshire in 
1 868, 'C. Prestonii' found in the Lake District in 1 871 , and 'C. Whilharris' of more obscure 
origin. In 1893 E J Lowe wrote to G Whitwell, a founder member of the British 
Pteridological Society, who lived in the Lake District, that he had received from Somerset 
a very distinct variety of polypody. It was found at Pennard above Glastonbury. F W 
Stansfield states in the British Fern Gazette in 1935 that this can only refer to 'C. 
Whilharris', since it was known that the fern came indirectly to Whitwell from Lowe. 
However, the name Whilharris remains a mystery. 

All the five varieties are very distinct from 'Cambricum' itself and, like that variety, are 
completely barren. In the cases of 'Barrowii', 'Prestonii', and 'Whilharris' the fronds are 
much more foliose and overlapping. However, there is some degree of confusion in 
their precise recognition and although I have descriptions of all of them, culled from 
various sources, we are hesitant about applying them with certainty. Martin Rickard 
who has contributed much to this article, makes a close study of all the varieties of 
the Polypodium species and is endeavouring to sort out this confusion. Until this has 
been done we are refraining from publishing more information about the Cambricum 


154 pp. 1987. Published privately and available from LA. & P.D. Livermore, 8 Durham 
Ave., Lancaster LA 1 4ED. ISBN 0-9512644-0-0. Price £5.95 incl. p. & p. 
The area surveyed in this very successful project, carried out by a husband and wife 
team over ten years, is that administered by the Lancaster District Council - a total 
of 220 square miles. It is literally that tongue of north Lanes, bordered by Cumbria 
and Yorks on the N. and E. and by the southern boundaries of the parishes of Cockeram, 
Ellel and Over Wyresdale on the south. There are the usual notes on habitats and an 
interesting map of tetrads (the unit used for the records) showing species richness, 
with at least four tetrads with over 500 species. Tetrad maps are given for 735 species 
and 1 280 different plants recorded in the entire work. 
The work is no mean task, and has been put together < 
ready copy to make it this economic price. Also to kee. 
bound ", which may prove a drawback. But I have no doubt that the authors will revise 
it before long - an operation that should be cheap and cost effective. It is a valuable 
contribution by two keen and competant botanists, which I understand is already in 


Very little has been documented in the past about the old Snowdon Guides, and yet, 

it was these unsung mc 

secret localities of the rarer ferns. It is a great p 

that so little mention was made of these guides in 

Guides" that these visitors later, 

one is led to believe that the early 

up the mountain, and collecte 

books, topographical books £ 

view about the important role 

Edward Newman in his fine book, A History of British Ferns{\ 854), 

ations of both t 
think he would willingly exterminate the 
from botanical tourists t< 
of these ferns from all accessible places i: 
William Williams is also mentioned in The Note Books of Samuel Butler (1874-1883). 
Writing of his father's love of collecting Woodsias on Snowdon and Glyder Fawr he 
states, "There were four plants left on Glyder still when I was young, and William Williams 
swore that there were none others". There remains a great deal of mystery surrounding 
the Woodsias on the Glyder. The old fern books refer to this mountain as the "locus 
classicus" for Woodsia ilvensis, but after constant visits and long searches over the 
years, I know of only one site on this mountain where the fern is extant today. 
During the Victorian era ferns, as we all know, suffered from the onslaught of the collecting 
craze, and it is a fact that the guides profited from this. The name of William Williams 
is again mentioned in D.E. Jenkins' Beddgelert, It's Facts Fairies and Folklore (1899). 
From this we learn that he was known locally as "Will the Boots", a name he acquired 
when he worked as a "boot boy" at the Dolbadarn Hotel, Llanberis. There is no ev.dence 
to suggest that the William Williams mentioned by Newman, Butler or Jenkins is the 
same person, but Jenkins has more to say on the life of "Will the Boots". In 1837 
or 1838 a hut was built on the summit of Snowdon by a miner called Moms Williams, 
and here visitors were provided with refreshments and shelter. Morris Williams could 
only speak welsh and as a result the business venture suffered considerably. In a bid 

tv he took William Williams with him into partnership. It would 

y Garnedd whilst collecting plants with the aid of a fixed rope. 

Clogwyn y Garnedd has been known as the site for Woodsia alpina since the time of 
John Ray, and it's dark, wet, steep, north facing cliffs are ideally suited for alpine plants^ 
It is not a place for the inexperienced or the ill-equipped. The Woods.a .vens.s saxd 

by Ray to be found growing on this cliff has, t 

and so another mystery waits to be solved. The wooas,* aw"° — — ~ 
flourishes here, and each time I feast my eyes on this lovely fern growing wHd on the 
rocky heights above Llyn Glaslyn, my thoughts wander back to the time wher , a r - 
e spot and enjoyed the same satisfying rewards. 

cloaked gentlemen stc 
I very seldom meet anyone of kindred interest wl 
I sometimes wonder if the old adventurous and ii 
fern enthusiasts of today? 


The Botany Department was established with the other Natural Science departments 
at the inception of the Museum in 1907. Since then the herbarium, our other botanical 
collections and our library have all been steadily enlarged. Emphasis has been always 
on the Flora of Wales, but collecting and acquisition have never been limited to the 
Principality. Much research has been done on the distribution of species in Wales and, 
although this work continues, a new emphasis is being given to the evolution of our 
Welsh flora and vegetation. 

Although pteridophytes have never been a major component of the herbarium I am 
attempting to make them so. We have at present approximately 7,000 sheets of 
pteridophytes which are stored in a new mobile compactor unit which gives us ample 
room for expansion. I am interested in acquiring collections of pteridophytes and am 
always pleased to accept specimens for the herbarium and to consider exchanging Welsh 
specimens for them. I am also attempting to build up our numbers of named fern cultivars 
that are still in cultivation. All of our collections are naturally available for consultation 
and for loan by bona-fide researchers. 

Welsh Ferns was first published by the National Museum of Wales in 1 940, being written 
by the Keeper and Assistant Keeper, HA. Hyde and A.E. Wade. Four editions later in 
1 969 the book was expanded by the new Keeper to include the lycophytes and horsetails 
and was published under the names of H.A. Hyde, A.E. Wade and S.G. Harrison. The 
last edition (6th) in 1978 included minor taxonomic changes and more information on 
hybrids. Although called Welsh Ferns, the book has never been limited to Welsh 
pteridophytes and eventually included all the species and hybrids native to the British 
Isles, together with the few naturalised aliens. A new seventh edition is currently being 
written in the Department. It will bring the taxonomy up to date and include maps for 

The Department also plans to publish a relatively inexpensive colour poster of ferns 


I am currently attempting to develop techniques for growing tree-ferns out-of-doors here 
in Herefordshire. To date only small plants have been tested, but all have survived in 
a fairly elaborate shelter. More mature plants are reckoned to be hardier, particularly 
if a trunk height of 2 feet or more has developed. Therefore, if any member knows 
of any such mature tree-fern (excluding low altitude tropical species) available for sale 
or exchange, could he/she please contact Martin Rickard, The Old Rectory, Leinthall 
Starkes, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2HP. Please note that the international movement 
of tree-ferns is restricted by CITES legislation, therefore this request must probably be 
confined to United Kingdom sources. 



42 Crown Woods Way, Eltham, London SE9 2NN 

The life cycle of the pteridophytes, as described in the introduction of many books c 

ferns, is known by the botanist as an 'alternation of generations life cycle', that is, tf 

asexual, spore producing generation, the sporophyte, 

producing generation, the gametophyte (Fig. 1). 

The genes which determine t 
chromosomes in the nuclei of its cells. The sporophyte generation of pteridophytes has 
duplicate sets of chromosomes in each nucleus (the diploid condition), whilst the 
gametophyte generation has a single set (the haploid condition), the reduction having 
occurred during the formation of the spores. The diploid condition is restored when 
the sperm and egg, produced by the gametophyte, fuse at fertilisation to give a cell 
which will germinate and develop into the next sporophyte generation. 

A brief search of 1 

Anyone interested in growing ferns soon comes acros 

Apogamy is the development of the sporophyte generation from the vegetative tissue 

of the gametophyte generation (the prothallus), and not as the result of sexual reproduction. 

This raises a number of questions about the rest of the life cycle, especially that of 

the number of chromosome sets in the succeeding generations, both gametophyte and 


iveals that the so-called 'normal' life cycle is 
i number of ferns exhibit occasional, frequent 
these deviant cycles, one or more of the stages 
lamete formation, fertilisation, spore formation, 

and even one of the generations. 

There are four phenomena which result in deviant life cycles: parthenogenesis, apospory, 

apogamy and vegetative reproduction. Parthenogenesis and apospory are rare in nature 

in pteridophytes and therefore, probably have not been an important factor in tnei 

evolution. Vegetative reproduction and apogamy are of more significance. It is apogamy 

which is the subject of this essay. 

As a natural phenomenon apogamy appears confined to the homosporous hmMnd 

is obligatory (Lovis, 1977). It ,s unknown in the other ^^ p ^«^ L ^ g 

heterosporous ferns, with the possible exception of Isoetes, a member of the Lycops.da. 

Facultative apogamy is only known as a laboratory-induced phenomenon. 

Apogamous sporophytes usually develop on the thickened cushion of the ; P rothalluS e 

One of the first and best indications of apogamy is the appearance of tracheids ^ the 

developing sporophyte, just behind the apical notch of the prothallu . (Tache, ds are 

water-conducting cells, with distinct annular (ring-like) thickemng, not normally found 

in gametophytes.) 

Apogamy gives rise to sporophytes with the same number 

gametophyte which, if the basic pteridophyte life cycle was operative, would mean haploid 

sporophytes, and spore production would not be possible. In practK* apog a^aabaen 

found inthewildonVyingametophyteswiththediploid or a^her number of chromoso, 

but, even so, normal spore production is not possir;'- 

has arisen in these ferns, operates at spore formauun 

sporophytic number of chromosomes rather than half ...- 

and sporophyte generations, therefore, 

The gametophyte 
same chromosome r 

f interest, such a mechanism also operates 

i hybrids where there is no apogamy, having arisen 

i sexually reproducing ferns £ 
independently in these groups). 

If AJ 


j HfHh 



Pteridologist 1.5 (1988) 

There are two well 

apogamy: the Dopp-Manton system and more rarely, the Braithwaite system It is not 
known why, but two types of spore formation occur in Dopp-Manton ferns, even within 
the same sorus of an individual plant, though their frequencies differ in different species 
In the first type non-functional spores are formed. This occurs frequently in Dryopteris 
x fraser-jenkinsii but is of low occurrence in Dryopteris affinis. In the second type, which 
occurs more frequently in most apogamous ferns, thirty-two viable spores are formed. 

in Dryopteris affinis, but of low frequency in Dryopteris x fraser-jenkmsii. The Braithwaite 
system was first described for Asplenium aethiopicum (Briathwaite, 1964) As in tne 
second Dopp-Manton type of spore formation, thirty-two viable spores, with the 
sporophytic number of chromosomes, are formed. The production of thirty-two viable 
spores per sporangium is in contrast to the production of the normal number for ferns 
of sixty-four spores, making it easy to identify apogamous ferns. 

It is interesting to note that functional antheridia are usually present in the gametophytes 
of apogamous ferns. The sperms can, therefore, fertilise sexual plants and may even 
participate in hybridisation e.g. Dryopteris x fraser-jenkinsii. The literature is ambiguous 
about the production of archegonia, some authors suggesting that archegonia may be 
absent, rudimentary or normal, though the I 

Obligate apogamous cycles have been found in a number of families although in a tew 
genera only, such as the Schizaceae (Anemia), Adiantaceae (eight genera including 
Adiantum, Pellaea and Pteris) and Dryopteridaceae (four genera including Cyrtomium 
and Dryopteris). In these genera apogamy is confined to a few species. Some of the 
more primitive families, such as Marattiaceae, Osmundaceae and Cyathaceae, are not 
recorded as having any apogamous species (Walker, 1966 and 1979). 
It is estimated that approximately ten per cent of all homosporous fern _ species ^are 
apogamous (Walker, 1966). What is the value of such a life cycle? I 
but it is singificant that of the known apogamous ferns a high proportion^ 
with several sets of chromosomes 
chromosomes). Due to the difficultie 
chromosomes at spore formation mar 
i apogamous cycle may be i 

> possible, therefore, 
e sterile hybrid may 

continue to reproduce. Indeed, the majority if not all obligate apogamous 
sterile hybrids formed by the crossing of two species (Lovis 
It has also been suggested that apogamy may be a 



eans of completing the life cycle 
t avoids the need of water for fertilisation. 
Some desert and semi-desert ferns are apogamous, but not exclusively so, and many 
apogamous ferns favour damp habitats. 

Another advantage that apogamous ferns appear to have is that, in general their 
gametophytes mature and produce sporophytes more rapidly than those of sexua sp ■ . 
the difference often being of several weeks. This early maturation gives them a compel i 
edge over sexual species in their habitat and, as ; with the *^™ j™™"*' f0r 

l advantage n 

; conditions (e.g.Wagner, 

Some Concluding Comments 

Apomixis is a term used for "reproduction without fertilisatic 

wholly or partly lost" (Winkler, 1 908). Vegetative reproductioi 

are types of apomixis, as are apospory and parthenogenesis. *™^<^°£ 

apomictically produced individuals, irrespective of the method by wh,ch th ^ are P" *" c ~' 

is that they have the same genetic constitution as the parent plants, and one of the 

advantages of apomitic reproduction is that well-adapted and tried combinations of 
characters are perpetuated. Other advantages are that otherwise sterile hybrids can 
reproduce as can species at the edge of their range when environmental conditions 
may reduce and even prevent normal reproduction occurring, e.g. at high altitudes or 
in shady conditions. Apogamous life cycles have a further advantage, that of producing 
a dispersable unit, the spore. 
The disadvantage of apomixis is that the variability shown by offspring resulting from 

occur. There are obvious advantages, therefore, 

ly as well as apomictically. It should be pointed 

of random mutations, limited variability does 

in populations of plants reproducing by apomixis 

Research workers dislike the expression "apogamous ferns" and two other terms are 
preferred in the literature, namely "apomitic ferns" and "agamospory". As the expression 
"apogamous ferns" is in common usage among fern growers, it has been used in 


BRAITHWAITE, A.F. 1964. A New Type of Apogamy in Ferns, New Phytologist, 63: 293-305. 
LOVIS, J.D. 1977. Apomixis in Ferns in Evolutionary Patterns and Processes in Ferns, Advances 

in Botanical Research, 4: 229-41 5 
SHEFFIELD, E. & BELL, PR. 1987. Current studies in the Pteridophyte Life Cycle, Botanical Review, 

53<4): 442-490. 
WAGNER, W.H. 1974. Structure of Spores in relation to Fern Phylogeny, Annals of the Missouri 

Botanical Garden, 61 : 332-353. 
WALKER, T.G. 1966. Apomixis and Vegetative Reproduction in Ferns in Reproductive Biology and 
;. J.G. Hawkes (Ed.), 

WALKER, T.G. 19 


Spore Exchange* 

I would like ta thank all the people- who have helped, me since taking over as Spore 
Exehartge Organiser, but eSpectalry Mr. Cartwrigftt whose excellent etfvice and guidance 
have been invaluabte. I would also like to encourage more people to contribute to the 
scheme, particularly members growing British fern varieties. Even smaH amounts of 
i species and cultivars are particularly welcome. The spores can be sent at 
f year, but should be clearty named, with source if possible (i.e. country of 
and date of collection-, and securely packaged. 

SpomBmhange Organism, 20t Chesterton ftaext Cambridge €84 1AH 



Ormandy House, Crosthwaite, Kendal, Cumbria LA8 8BP 

This is the story of a genetic adventure - everybody else has known all about it for 

1 20 years but it astounds and delights me. 

In 1980 I organised a meet in the Lake District which was richly attended by Martin 

Rickard and Jimmy Dyce and practically no-one else. Jimmy in his report in the Bulletin 

mentions our visit to Fred Jackson's "small but very choice fern collection" in 

Stonethwaite, Borrowdale. Fred had a small plant labelled Polypodium interjectum 

Trichomanoides': as nearly as I recall, it resembled Fig. 2b on the attached photocopies. 

It had on it one fertile pinnule which Fred generously gave to me. I sowed the spores 

in two small pots and I have been watching their progress with parental pride for the 

last seven years (things move slowly in my fern house). 

Their variety of form is prodigious. About half were normal, and I record with some 

regret that I threw them out: it would have been interesting, on reflection, to breed 

from them. The photocopies show a selection of the forms produced. They can be divided 

into five groups: 

1 . Divided crest and pinnae ('Bifido-cristatum'). (Fig 1 a). 

2. Relatively foliose, progressively divided from a simple bipinnate form to tripinnate 
with quadripinnate leanings. (Fig. 1b). 

3. Pinnules very wide, richly forked and crested. No two pinnae are the same. (Fig. 1 c). 

4. Highly crisped. (Fig. 1 d). This variety is rather similar to 'Jean Taylor'. 

are covered by that description as their appearance varies considerably. (Fig. 2b). 
Subject to normal frond variation each plant is broadly consistent within itself, though 
all, I think, throw normal fronds and occasional mixed fronds. 

Most fronds are infertile, but some in forms 1 and 2 bear sporangia: time will tell if 
they are viable. 

The photocopies flatten them dreadfully. The basal pinnae on many of the fronds are 
turned upwards rather than forwards so they are very three-dimensional in appearance. 
That is particularly so of form 5 which is beautiful and symmetrical in the flesh but 
looks a mess in reproduction. Each sub-pinnule on 5 uncurls separately so there is 
an enchanted moment when the developing frond is fringed with little globules. 
Most are rather small. 2 is selected from a smaller plant but the others are representative 
(No. 1 is 15cm. long). I suspect I have not grown them very well. I will try harder in 

I am assuming that they are all in the group Polypodium interjectum 'Cornubiense'. 
Reginald Kaye in Hardy Ferns says of 'Cornubiense': "It has the odd habit of producing 
finely cut tri - to quadripinnate fronds, normal fronds, intermediate fronds, and fronds 
incorporating all forms in the one frond." 

That made me go back and look at my clump labelled 'Cornubiense', which I now find 
does not fit; it is illustrated on the front cover, and opp. p. 230. It has consistent and 
very beautiful sub-tripinnate fronds plus normal and mixed fronds which I have always 
taken as the tell-tale of the variety. No sign of the finely cut fronds. 


,i Form , . ■asd^sss-" suss?? "set* 


Of the other authors I have looked at, only Chas. T. Druery has anything useful to say. 
Choice British Ferns (1888) (the only book with an illustration, but too generalised to 
be helpful), The Book of British Ferns (1901) (given to me, I recall with gratitude, by 
Jimmy and Martin after that memorable week) and British Ferns & their Varieties (19 10) 
each contains some information. I summarise it as follows: 

1 . 'Cornubiense' was first found by Rev. C.B. Whyte (lucky man) in Cornwall in 1 867. 
It was also known as 'Elegantissimum' or Whiten'. 

2. Druery mentions the habit of "producing indiscriminately three kinds of fronds 
viz. perfectly normal ones; very finely cut ones consisting of tripinnate or even 
quadripinnate, very narrow segments; and a coarser type of these". He describes 
"the coarser type": "the pinnae subdivided into long, blunt-pointed segments". 

3. 'The spores invariably yield the same inconstant form" but "the improved forms 

4. He says that Cornubiense' and Trichomanoides' are too closely akin to be separately 
described but distinguishes them in two respects: 'Cornubiense' is the parent of 
Trichomanoides', but in Trichomanoides' the intermediate coarser type fronds do 
not appear. 

5. How was Trichomanoides' bred? 

"In this, we believe by constant suppression of the normal fronds, an almost constant 
form has been arrived at by Messrs. Backhouse of York, only showing the finest 
cut type with very little reversion; very beautiful". 

I find quite extraordinary the suggestion that by constantly removing one type of frond 

one would somehow train the plant not to produce them. The great authority is apparently 

only reporting what he was told; dare I say that I do not believe it? 

One always hopes, when sowing varieties, to grow forms other than the parent plant. 

i forms and because my experience differs 

1. Druery distinguishes three types of frond (normal, coarser type and finely cut). 
His 'Cornubiense' has all three. His Trichomanoides' has the first and the third. 
My existing 'Cornubiense' plant has only the first and the second. 

2. The progeny of my sowing, though showing the three types described, do not 
show all three on the same plant, - or not clearly and not yet. 

3. The spores do not "invariably yield the same inconstant form". In particular there 
is no mention of the simple crested form (1) nor the more elaborate foliose forms 
(3 & 4), and there is a wide 

: grow plants and | 
gift yielded. I think he would have enjoyed ii 

"Original" Polypodium interjectum Cornubiense' which is the three frond form 
found by Whyte and described by Druery and others. (This was the form grown 
by Fred Jackson, not Trichomanoides'. Ed.) 
"Common law" Cornubiense' which is what I and apparently lots of others have 





~»~7m ; *U 

Trichoma noides', which is even more finely divided than "Original" 'Cornubiense' 
(see Fig. 2a); he thinks tl 
attributed sources must 

mentioned by Druery 'Elegantissimum' or Whiten' for the original form. That I 
the question where forms B and C have come from. Having seen the range in my s 
my guess is that they were c 


Fred Jackson (1901-1987) 

As reported in last year's Bulletin, Fred Jackson (see photo opp.), one of our Vice- 
Presidents, died on the 7th of May 1987. Living most of his life in Borrowdale in the 
Lake District, in some of the best fern country in Britain, he was often lured out onto 
his native fells to study the wild flowers, rocks and, of course, ferns. Not surprisingly, 
over the years, he found several notable ferns, species and varieties, while at the same 

He was the first person to record Dryopteris submontana from the northern Lake District 
- high up on Honister Cragg, adjacent to the quarry where he worked. Unfortunately, 
the auarrying operation eventually destroyed the habitat. He was also the first to find 
Dryopteris expansa in the Lake District (and therefore possibly in England?) on the western 
slopes of Glaramara. 

His most outstanding find, however, was the fifth British record of Asplenium > 
and only the second record this century (See British Fern Gazette, 1961, Vol. 9, p.49). 
Fred was aware that Ax alternifolium had been recorded from Borrowdale and when 
ho c nnHfl H o „..,;„..„ i : «. n S p|eenwort high up on Castle Crag he hoped he had re- 

.... . . _.-_!-: u..» ^>.„o< 

the aid of his son Jim, Fred was able to collect material. He was initially disappointed 
at it not being Ax. alternifolium, but in fact he had, of course, found the much rarer 
hybrid. Subsequently, examination of old herbarium specimens revealed that Ax. 
murbeckii had earlier been recorded in Borrowdale (in 1927), the only other English 
record (See British Fern Gazette, 1963, Vol. 9, p. 110). 

Fred was also responsible for many fern variety finds, most notably his Asplenium 
scolopendrium (Cristatum group) 'Jackson' (See Pteridologist, 1987, Vol. 1. opp. p. 176). 
He was also associated with the very fine Dryopteris filix-mas 'Cristata Jackson which 
is now quite widely grown. He was also aware of the branched polypod on the wan 
at Grange in Borrowdale (See photo, opp. ), and he may have been the original finder 
This locality which still exists (See Bulletin, 1987, Vol. 3, p. 113), is very close to the 
site of W.F. Askew's old nursery, from which it is possibly an escape. 
Perhaps, living close to Askew's nursery was the trigger for Fred's interest in fern varieties 
Certainly, in his younger days, he used to spend a lot of time helping Askew. Fairly 
recently, in 1980, he took a small group of B.P.S. members back to the site ot me 
nursery, where we met Askew's daughter and toured the site. 

Over the last few years Fred spent most of his time living with his daughter, Mary^ 
on the Isle of Cumbrae, where he enjoyed the softer climate. His interest in ferns stayed 
with him and we exchanged many letters and, of course, ferns right up to with.n a 
month or two of his death. Indeed 3 days before he went into hosp.tal for the last 
time, he was feeding the roses and tidying the ferns ^^ ^^ 

232 Pteridologist 1,5 (1988) 


Scott and Richard Palmer. 468 pp. + 26 pp. maps. 1987. The Shetland times, 
Lerwick: ISBN 900662 56 5. 
Preparing any account of the flora of an ai 
is a rewarding, stimulating and valuable e 
together much i 

lists the data in an orderly way according to an accepted botanical arrangement of the 
plant groups portrayed. This is a most effective way of data retrieval from the printed 
page and makes any local Flora a useful addition to a field botanist's library. And so 
it is with this Flora, but this is not just a compilation or a bringing together, even, of 
30 years of personal fieldwork on the islands: it is also a scholarly appraisal of the 
ind distribution of the vascular plants of the Shetlands. Each species 
n of interest on its taxonomy, history, or ecology, or about the botanists 

The account of the pteridophytes is, like the rest, painstaking and very readable. Osmunda, 
now very rare and confined to islands in lochs, still survives although it is lost from 
Orkney. Bracken is local and Asplenium trichomanes has only been recorded as the 
subsp. quadrivalens. Isoetes may prove to be interesting; both /. echinospora and lacustris 
grow in the same lake in a number of localities, a situation which could lead to hybridisation 
- which we know occurs in France, and (very recently) possibly elsewhere in Scotland 
and the Lake District. In France (Pyrenees) this hybrid has doubled its chromosome number 
and formed a good sexually reproducing species which may occur here. The authors, 
true to form, are reviewing their sites with enthusiasm. Polypodium interjectum has 
not so far been found in Shetland but its hybrid with P. vulgare has. The book makes 
it clear that when we translated grid records for the BRC computer for the Atlas of 
Ferns (1 978) we were often off beam. But Scott and Palmer have set the record straight. 
This book is a classic and a must for any field botanist. For those contemplating a visit 
there is a Praegeresque "botanical itinerary through Shetland" which will give the basis 
for a fine holiday; there is something of interest to fern-lovers at almost every one of 
the 90 sites described. 


BRITISH FERNS by Ron Freethy: Crowood Press, 1987, 128pp. Price £10.95. 
Reviewing books is usually a pleasure, but in this case it was not. This in undoubtedly 
the worst modern book on ferns that I have ever read. It is a mixture of chatty prose 
and attempts at detailed descriptions that rambles and jumps from one topic to another, 
often unrelated, one. The text is riddled with misleading remarks, botanical inaccuracies 
and incorrect descriptions of species. Several Latin names are out of date, others are 
incorrect and the author has committed the most heinous crimes by constantly referring 
to Dryopteris felix-mas, Athyrium felix femina and to cryptograms. The book also includes 
outrageous remarks about the state of present knowledge in pteridology that show what 
little grasp the author has of the subject. The line drawings are of an appallingly low 
standard and the colour plates are a set of the crudest paintings of ferns that I have 

My advice is short and to the point. Do not buy this book. 



Most fern growers recognise Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum' as on 

kinds of fern variety. Equally, most realise that the differences between 1 

not always easy to p 

to simply as 'Crispums'. 

The crispum character is when the frond "remains e 

up each margin, with the undulations, in the best forms, so deep and close 

as to resemble the ruffed collar associated with the Elizabethan period of dress" 

Dyce in BPS Newsletter, No. 10, p. 20, 1972. Most first class c 

some forms are occasionally fertile. Fertile crispums differ from the variety 'I 

by not being fully fertile, having a thinner texture and by being more heavily pleated. 

There is, however, a point of transition between the two forms which can make matters 

rather difficult sometimes! 

So far as I can discover, A. scolopendrium 'Crispum' was first described as Scolopendrium 

vulgare var. crispum in A Natural Arrangement of British Plants by S.F. (or J.E.) Gray 

in 1821. Much earlier, J. Bauhin and J.M. Cherler described Phyllitis crispa in Historia 

Plantarum Universalis 1650-51. It would be very interesting to know if this is the same 

i as originally described by Gray. It was not particularly broad, 
I any other distinguishing character apart from being a very good 
\ process of elimination it might therefore be possible to 
conjecture at the identity of this variety today! It has been found several times and 
it is hard to believe that none of these finds survive. In shape, it would resemble F.g. 
1a, but the blade would be more strongly crisped. To date, this is the nearest I have 
seen to the original form. However, be aware that many named forms need to settle 
down in cultivation before they produce typical fronds; accordingly, while small, or when 
grown in unfavourable conditions, they may tend to look like this basic type. I notice 
this particularly with some of my plants of 'Crispum Bolton's nobile'. I have not seen 
the more recent wild finds by Tony Worland (1973), Peter Corbin (1974 etc.) and Bob 
Trippitt, but it seems likely that they are each similar to the original form. I hope they 

The earliest broad form was 'Crispum la 
crispum with the lower part of its broad bla< 
or depauperate interval. This variety may turn up, but there is one better Known *»"*»* 
of the broad type of crispum - 'Crispum Bolton's r.obile'. Nine years ago I was fortunate 
in being given a possible plant of this by our member Robert Bolton, a descendant of 
the original grower T. Bolton (see Brit. Fern Gaz. Vol. 2, p. 77, 1913). Today the plant 
is doing really well and a good frond is illustrated in Fig. 2a. This compares well with 
a photograph of this variety in the British Fern Gazette, Vol. 7, p. 210 in 1948. I should 
add, however, that not all fronds develop to this extent; in fact, only when grown on 

Another broad form is 'Crispum grande Wills' which is more difficult to 
A frond illustrated in Fig. 3a fits the description of "Wills' by being more ( 

Pteridologist 1,5 (1988) 

I 'Crispum Bolton's spurn', c)'Crispum 

with a more rounded apex, than Bolton's form. It also resembles Druery's 

in his The Book of British Ferns (1903), but this plant is sparingly fertile and I can 

find no reference to 'Crispum Wills' being fertile! This variety grows well in Oxford Botanic 

Of more recent origin, we have yet another broad form in cultivation, A. scolopendrium 
(Crispum group) 'Kaye's Splendour', depicted in Fig. 4b. Not only is this broad but it 
is also very tall, a marvellous new break that Reg Kaye has raised from 'Crispum Moly'. 
Fertile forms 

Some crispums are fertile when mature. As young plants they are often sterile and 
thin-textured and indistinguishable from normal crispums, but once spores start being 
produced the crispum character becomes somewhat diluted, with the goffering more 
irregular and shallow, see Fig. 1a. 'Crispum Moly' is today reckoned to be a sparingly 
fertile crispum, and it is probable that the frond in Fig. 1a is from this variety (see 
also photo opp. p.230). It is not a well documented form, but Cranfield mentioned some 
fine A. scolopendrium 'Undulatum' in Moly's collection (Brit. Fern Gaz. Vol. 1, p. 254, 
1 91 2), and maybe one of these is the plant we now know as 'Crispum Moly'. 
Some of the forms of crispum described belowarealso sometimes fertile, e.g. 'Fimbriatum', 

Tall forms 

Several old forms fit into this category, e.g. 'Crispum Stablerae', 'Crispum Keall' (with 
a very dark midrib), 'Crispum Stansfield' (= 'Crispum imbricatum' of Lowe) and 'Crispum 
speciosum Moly'. Of these only the last is known to survive today. It is illustrated in 
Fig. 2c. It is very heavily crisped and flushed with slightly variegated bars running, here 
and there, from the midrib to the edge of the frond; these do not show up in the figure^ 
In the British Fern Gazette, Vol. 1, p. 254, 1912, W.B. Cranfield refers to a robust broad 
crispum beautifully marbled with white called 'Crispum Moly's splendens ; apart from 
apparently being a broad variety, the description fits 'Speciosum', and I wonder if there 
is any connection - particularly as Cranfield makes no mention of 'Crispum spec.osum 

Once again we have modern additions to this section. Reg Kaye has raised A. 
scolopendrium (Crispum group) 'Kaye's superb' (see Fig. 4a), another magnificent form 
raised from 'Crispum Moly'. We also have a wild find to add, namely the very fine crispum 
found by Christopher and Mary Potts in Cheddar Gorge (see Pteridologist, Vol. l, p. 
Narrow forms 

Fine narrow fimbriate crispums have been raised from time to time one such being 
illustrated in the British Fern Gazette, Vol. 7, p. 210, 1948. None of these seem to 

i garden at Horning 

be in cultivation today. The 

in Fig. 1b. This form was discovered as several large c 

in Norfolk during a BPS excursion in 1979. 

Fimbriate forms (lacerated frond margins) 

Numerous fimbriate forms have been raised in the past, the best being "Crispum f imWatum 

Stansfield'; see the illustration opposite page 1 in Druery's Book of British Ferns ; 90& 

This magnificent form is never seen today; however the fimbriate character is st.ll wrth 

us as shown in Fig 4d This frond was sent from a plant grown out-of-doors by Reg 

K of Asplenium s 

) 'Crispum fimbriatum Bolton', 

oum grand Wills', 

,5(1988) 237 

Kaye; it does not seem to be comparable to Stansfield's form, but F.W. Stansfield has 
commented that as plants mature they lose the finely divided aposporous condition. 
Fresh batches can, however, be raised from spores. (F.W. Stansfield annotations in his 
copy of British Ferns and their Varieties by C.T. Druery, 1 91 0). 
Sagittate forms (winged at base) 

This is not an exciting section. The frond illustrated in Fig. 2b is fairly typical, but as 
the sagittate character is rarely visible in a strong growing plant, it tends to be a bit 
pointless - except to the purist! The frond illustrated here compares well with the 
'Sagittato-crispum' shown by Druery in British Ferns and their Varieties (1910) on page 
453. This variation is not to be confused with the many magnificent brachiate forms 
of Asplenium scolopendrium ii 

I have already mentioned 'Crispum speciosum Moly' (Fig. 2c) which is slightly variegated. 
There are, however, better examples where the frond can be almost entirely yellow. 
Crispum golden queen' is probably the best known, and the best form; it is, unfortunately, 
very scarce. My plant was divided recently and the two resulting crowns are not identical 
- one resembling 'Speciosum Moly'. Such an outcome only serves to confuse and, to 
be honest, I am hoping that next season it will revert to typical 'Crispum golden queen'. 
In its true form it does not show any marked character other than the heavy overall 

More recently, Philip Coke has raised a whole series of variegated Harts-Tongues. Many 
members will have seen them in his old garden at Stinchcombe. I was fortunate in 
that Philip gave me two plants from his crispum clones. One is a slightly variegated 
fimbriate form and the other a heavily variegated muricate form. Both are fertile. Apparently 
the variegations on Philip's plants have not been stable in some members' gardens 

distinct. At the height of summer, however, in prolonged sunny periods, the creamy 

yellow patches do tend to burn an ugly brown. 

I have not illustrated any of the variegated varie 

as the variegations do not show up in black and v 

Muricate forms (raised lumps on frond surface) 

'Crispum muricatum' was first raised by E.J. Lowe when he crossed a fertile crispum 

with 'Muricatum'. When the Society visited Lowe's garden in 1979 we found a large 

clump of 'Crispum muricatum' and, fortunately, some of us collected some frond bases 

and have, as a result, now got this variety in more general cultivation (Fig. 1c). Sadly, 

Lowe's plant is no more; when the Society revisited the garden in 1986, the area where 

it grew had been completely cleared and no sign of it could be seen anywhere else. 

This is a fertile variety and possibly more correctly classified as an 'Undulatum'. Philip 

Coke's variegated muricate crispum, mentioned above, is also fertile. 

Cristate forms 

Crested crispums are not often grown. Many consider the crispum form alone is enough, 

as it produces a marvellous symmetrical plant without the embellishment of a crest. 

I am sure this is right, but there is definitely room for crested crispums among the 

more ordinary types in my garden! 

The best form is 'Crispum fimbriatum Bolton'. This is only slightly fimbriate (Fig. 3b). 

It is a neat, uniform and sterile variety with rather narrow fronds, very attractive in 

my opinion. The other form illustrated (Fig. 3d) turned up in a local garden centre. It 

is less attractive than Bolton's form but is very distinct. I have not been able to trace 

i literature. Reg Kaye grows two other unnamed forms 
ile gardens. They are fertile with long undulate fronds 
bearing small terminal crests. At home here or in the fimbriate section is 'Crispum 
Drummondiae'. This variety was found wild in 1861 near Falmouth. Today it is possibly 
extinct but Reg Kaye still has a plant which he acquired from the Whiteside collection 
under this label; this may indeed be the variety or progeny of it (Fig. 4c). Grown out- 
of-doors, this plant does not seem to be a first-rate variety but, grown under glass, 
it might approach closer to the 'Drummondiae' character. As found originally, 
'Drummondiae' was a narrow fronded crispum with wide branching heads to the fronds. 
It was inconstant, however, with some perfectly normal fronds, while others were 
fimbriate. A good frond is illustrated on page 443 of British Ferns and their Varieties 
by C.T. Druery (1910). Slightly different forms were raised from the original by apospory 
and the plant now grown by Reg Kaye may be one of these. 


Advertisements for Ferns at the turn c 
Among old herbariums 

The Church Times, April 19, 1895 


Oeropteris, Royal Rigida, Colina Parsley, Ceterach, etc. 15 varieties, 1s.6d. 

24 extra large rockery roots, 2s.6d.; 50, 5s.; 100. 9s. Correctly named. Carriage 

WILLIAM HARRISON, Sepulchre, Kendal. 
The Church Times, October 26, 1906 Trade Notices: 

Ferns,- 33 exquisite Irish and Killarney varieties, hardy plants, 1s.6d., free. 

20 ivies (varieties), 6d, free; 30 lovely BULRUSHES and PAMPAS GRASSES, 


Miss Bennett, Prospect, Roscarbery, Cork. 
The British Weekly, April 6, 1905 Wants Column: 

Ferns,- 33 exquisite Irish and Killarney varieties, hardy plants, 1s.6d. free 

20 ivies (varieties) 6d., free. 1 5 Honeysuckle plants, 1s., free. 

Miss Bennett, Prospect, Roscarberry, Cork. 

in the original. In today's currency: 6d = 2 1 / 2 p, 1s =5p, 1s. 4d. =6.7p, 
2s. 6d. = 1 2y 2 p, 5s. = 25p, 9s = 45p). 

National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 


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 

A wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially Adiantums 

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

Sent 50p for catalogue 

'An Introduction to Fern Growing' also available, £2.50 inc. postage 


Specialising in North American and English hardy ferns 
Send two international Reply Coupons for Catalogue 


Over one hundred in-print titles and many rare 

and/or used books are available from 

Myron Kimnach 

5508 N. Astell Ave., Azusa, CA 91702, USA 

Catalogue on request 

The British Pteridological Society 



Volume 1, Part 5, 1988 

Editorial 191 

The Horticultural Nomenclature of Ferns Peter Barnes 1 92 

Rippon Lea Fernery Chris Goudey 1 96 

Ferns on a Plate Ted Munyard 1 99 

Proposals and Prospects, June 1 987 Bridget Graham 201 

My Fern Factory Tony and Enid Marriage 204 

An Old Garden in Herefordshire Martin Rickard 207 

Cultivation of Horsetails Anthony Pigott 209 

National Collections of Ferns Martin Rickard 212 

Azolla filiculoides in the Lancaster Canal LA. & P.D. Livermore 214 

Polypodium ausfra/e'Cambricum' J.W. Dyce 217 

Old Guides and Woodsias Dewi Jones 221 

Pteridophytes in the National Museum of Wales B.A. Thomas 222 

Apogamy in Ferns Jennifer Ide 223 

The Sporting Habits of Polypodium interjectum 'Cornubiense' Robert Sykes 227 

Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum' Martin Rickard 233 


Osmunda regalison Sedgemoor J.V. Morley 191 

A Success Story Margaret Rothwell 203 

Requests 213,222 

Spore Exchange Margaret Nimmo-Smith 226 

Fred Jackson Martin Rickard 231 

Advertisements for Ferns at the Turn of the Century M.J.P. Scannell 238 


Flora and Vegetation of County Durham 200 

Ferns of Malaysia in Colour 208 

Field Guide to the Ferns and other Pteridophytes of Georgia 21 1 

A Key to the Genera of New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants 21 1 

The BM Fern Crib 216 

Flowering plants and Ferns of North Lancashire 220 

The Flowering Plants and Ferns of the Shetland Islands 232 

British Ferns 232 

The Pteridologist Volume 1 Part 4 was published on 27 May, 1987 

Published by the British Pteridological Society 

Printed by METLOC, Loughton, Essex 





Edited by 

MR Richard ^ese 

=>OI— '--^E 

Officers and Committee for 1 989 

President: Dr B.A. Thomas 

President Emeritus: J.W. Dyce 

Vice-Presidents: J.A. Crabbe, Dr RE. Holttum, AC Jermy, R. Kaye, G. Tonge 

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

Editor of the Bulletin 1 6 Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry, CV4 8GD 

(Tel: Coventry 715690) 

Miss A.M. Paul, 

Department of Botany, British Museum (Natural History), 

Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD 

Dr N.J. Hards, 

184 Abingdon Road, Didcot, Oxon, 0X1 1 9BP 

AC. Pigott, 

, Hertford, Herts. SG 14 3AQ 

Assistant Secretary 


Meetings Secretary: 

Editor of the Fern Gazette: J A Crabbe 

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

Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2HP 

assisted by J.W. Dyce 

Fern Distribution Recorder: 

Spore Exchange Organiser: Mrs M. Nimmo-Smith, 201 Chesterton Road, 

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

Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 3BW 
Archivist: N A. Hall, 1 5 Mostyn Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 5HL 

Booksales Organiser: J.W Dyce, 46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1 LT 

Trustees of Greenfield Fund: A.R. Busby, Dr N.J. Hards, Dr B.A. Thomas 

The BRITISH PTERIDOLOGICAL SOCIETY was founded in 1891 and today continues as a focus 
t ferns through the n 

(address above) from whom further details can be obtained. (Remitt 

ire £1 50 extra to cover bank conversion charges). Air 

(Front cover: Asplenium trichomanes subsp. pachyrachis; left-hand fr 

; Gazette, Pteridologist and Bulletin 


The deadline for copy for the Pteridologist each year is the 31st December. This season 
there was once again a shortage of copy at this date, but too much material by March. 
Could authors, therefore, please attempt to get items for publication to the Editor by 
the 31st of December each year. The chances of publication in full are much greater! 
Please also remember the maximum length for text in any one article is four sides, 
with the occasional exception of invited papers. 


AUG 23 j 

It was in July 1980 that I received a packet of Adder's Tongue spores and without 
any hesitation I sowed some of it in various places in my garden and the remainder 
into a pot of sterilised compost which was put into a polythene bag. 
In September 1983 the pot was examined closely for the first time since the spores 
had been introduced and there was no growth of anything on the surface, so the pot 

f garden among 

; and about half left the pot 

carefully put back in the pot and when I started to remove some of the weeds which 
had grown I came across a label marked Ophioglossum vulgatum 7/80. A couple of 
months after, two fronds were produced both of which had fertile spikes - seven years 
after the spore was set. It was kept in the pot until it started to die down and then 
it was planted in open ground in my garden on a patch where rhubarb had grown 
for many years until a few months before. This year (1988) it produced three fronds 
but only one had a fertile spike. It grows in the company of a sedum and Poa seminifer 
(P. x semptlandica I believe). 

Since the original setting I have read in C. Page's Ferns of Britain and Ireland page 
67, that prothalli of this plant are subterranean and that association with an internal 
mycorrhizal fungi is necessary for the well-being of the plant, so it would appear that 
the golden rule of sterile conditions for spore planting cannot be correct with O. vulgatum 
and that the prothalli, or gametophyte generation, if it had started growing in its first 
three years in sterile conditions (spores could be washed into the soil by condensation 
drips), could not have developed had I left the pot in the polythene bag, and that it 
was only when it was exposed to the elements that some weeds grew, died, rotted 
and formed a fungus, thereby prompting the prothallus into producing its second 
(sporophyte) generation. 

Of course, this latter part is just deduction and it would be very i 
what the thoughts of the experts are regarding this r 

240 Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 



Nature Conservancy Council, Deauville, Spa Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, 
LD1 5EY 

At the request of the Radnorshire Society, I put together an account of the fern and 
fern-allies of this little known and visited mid-Wales vice county. Nine years ago, I began 
to compile information on its plants in the hope of perhaps providing Radnor with its 
first flora. The work still goes on, the account of its ferns published in the Transactions 
of the Radnorshire Society for 1987 being the first fruits or spore of this project. 
The earliest records traced appear in the Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field 
Club, an extraordinarily active Club from Herefordshire. To make the earliest record of 
all in 1 867 they hired their own train, had the railway company erect a temporary station 
and even allowed the ladies to attend "by special ticket". Having found Wilson's filmy 
fern in the "awful ravine" of the Bach Howey near Aberedw they appeared to successfully 
exterminate it, as it was never seen there again. Their excursion to Aberedw in 1871 
provided the only reasonably certain record of green spleenwort. It too was never seen 
again. So fern recording started in a style which was kept up into the Victorian age. 
In 1906 F Hodgson published for WJ and JO Bufton an "Illustrated guide to Llandrindod 
Wells". Llandod, as it is locally known had appeared like a mushroom in the late 1800s 
as a fashionable watering place. The visitors apparently took the ferns as well as the 
waters. The Burtons got the Rev Wentwort Powell to contribute a section on ferns to 
their book. Whilst conceding that Radnorshire was "well supplied with ferns" he declined 
to say where they might be found as "the destruction among ferns has of recent years 
been so great that I have thought it better not to notify their exact habitats ... there 
is something lamentable in the way ferns have disappeared from the neighbourhood 

hill, almost in sight of my house where a few years ago the parsley fern was so abundant 
that the farmer mowed it for stable litter. Now there are only a few straggling specimens 
left". Did he really mean the parsley fern? Had bracken become so rare on this farm 
that they were forced to resort to cutting parsley fern? We may never know. There 
were no other certain records for this fern in Radnor until 1988 when it was found 
twice, to the N and W of Rhayader, well out of the Rev Powell's view. Whatever the 
depredations amounted to, 9 out of the 12 species of fern noted as occurring within 
2 miles of the town in 1892 still survive and the ubiquitous sheep has taken over where 
the fern collector left off. 

Three clubmosses, five horsetails and twenty eight species of fern still occur in the 
county. Sheep seem to have significantly reduced the abundance and extent of the fir, 
stags horn and alpine clubmosses but all can still be found ifi the Elan Valley area. 
Amongst the horsetails the great horsetail has suffered a dramatic decline, being in 
the thirties frequent in the upper Ithon Valley, an area where suitable looking habitat 
persists but not so the horsetail. It survives in only three sites. The wood horsetail is 
very much a plant of unimproved upland hay meadows where it thrives with other typical 
plants such as bluebell and wood anemone. 

were discovered in 1988. Their abundance in many sites varies greatly from year to 

Royal fern occurs in four sites. Pony grazing in recent years has taken a considerable 
toll on its Rhosgoch Common population, the largest in the county. Bracken covers vast 
areas of common land, provoking regular outcries of anguish from the farmers. Large 
areas are still baled annually in the early autumn for stable litter. 

; from the Bach Howey gorge, Wilson's filmy fern keeps a tenuous hold 

but marsh fern was last seen 1 10 years ago by Miss E Armitage on Rhosgoch Common 
near Painscastle. This large raised mire with a well developed willow carr was recently 
acquired as a National Nature Reserve by the Nature Conservancy Council. The habitat 
looks ideal for the fern but the large areas of willow swamp with exciting and unpredictable 
water field holes make survey difficult. Perhaps a member of the Society might rise 
to the challenge. After all, Miss Armitage found it in her long skirts without the aid 
of Wellington boots. 

Rock outcrops and walls everywhere suit the spleenwort family but the lime loving species 
on native rock are mostly confined to the base rich mudstones of the SE and the small 
outcrops of limestone and dolerite at Dolyhir and Stanner, near Kington where the Rusty- 
back fern has its only native rock localities. These base rich rocks also suit the brittle 
bladder fern which in two sites sports its most spectacular rust fungus, Hyalopsora 

i by H N Ridley ii 
Much suitable habitat remains and a search for both it and green spleenwort i 
magnificent gorge woodlands is a high priority. 

Hard fern is ubiquitous as is polypody but much work is required to elucidate the status 
of the 3 species recorded, together with their hybrids. Polypodium cambricum is so far 
only known from Stanner Rocks, where it was seen by Peter Benoit. Perhaps the most 
interesting and significant fern appears at the end of the account - pillwort. On an 
international scale it is Radnor's rarest higher plant. And Radnor does it particularly 
well. So far 27 sites have been found, mostly in mud bottomed ephemeral pools on 
the large areas of common land in central Radnor. Taken with the sites just over the 
vice county boundary across the Wye in Brecknock, this mid-Wales population must 
be second only in extent to that of the New Forest and of international importance. 
As I hope the above account makes clear Radnor seems to be a fern-rich county and 
one well worth a look at. In trying to produce a county flora that embraces also the 
bryophytes, lichens and even the rusts and smut fungi in an area with barely a single 
resident active field botanist the critical groups have suffered. Any records of ferns from 
Radnor would be welcomed, but particularly of polypody, ssp. of maidenhair spleenwort 
and scaly male fern, together with any specimens of fern rusts, or offers of help in 
determining same. 


To the dedicated fern enthusiast a border composed entirely of ferns is a great a 
and gives much pleasure; however, it must be admitted that this form of planting lacks 
much imagination. A border of ferns will furnish the garden during the summer but 
as many British ferns are deciduous, the average fern border looks drab during the 

The experienced fern grower quickly learns that to ensure colour and interest all the 

year round, other plants must be incorporated in a planting scheme. 

Of course, ferns can be used to underplant trees and shrubs, taking advantage of any 

light or dappled shade as long as the situation is not too dry. Steps should be taken 

to incorporate plenty of humus in the form of peat, leafmould or well-rotted compost 

into the top three to four inches before planting. Even with this, watering will still be 

necessary during the driest spells, especially on light sandy soils. 

Let us consider ways of incorporating ferns with other plants to provide interest during 

For the grower who still wishes to exhibit his ferns in one border or area, then winter 
and spring flowering bulbs planted amongst the ferns will give a show when the fern 
fronds are absent. Naturalised daffodils planted in groups in the centre or at the back 
of the border will mask the bare fern root-stocks from March to early May. When the 
daffodils have finished flowering, they can be dead-headed which will tidy the border. 
During the essential six to eight weeks following flowering when the bulbs are building 
up for the next spring's flowering, the fresh greenery of the developing fern fronds 
will largely mask the untidy daffodil leaves. Around the edge of the border, other low 
growing bulbs such as Iris reticulata and its varieties, Leucojum vernum, Galanthus 
nivalis and the various forms of Narcissus species display themselves well. Do not be 
afraid to include plantings of the excellent universal pansies in the larger bare areas. 
I would avoid mixing pansies of different colours which may prove too bright and garish 
but carefully select a variety such as Sutton's 'Light Blue' or Sutton's True Blue' which 
will provide a pooi of a single pastel colour. 

Universal Pansies are easily raised from seed in May or early June and most of the 
large seed houses list several varieties. 
Ferns with Heaths and Heathers 

An alternative scheme which I have tried successfully is to plant ferns with winter- 
flowering Calluna, Erica and Daboecia. On suitably acid soils, autumn and winter flowering 
varieties of Calluna vulgaris, such as the double pink 'H E Beale' or the lavender shade 
of 'Mrs Pat' can be used. Better still are those varieties providing coloured foliage and 
I thoroughly recommend c.v. 'Beoley Gold', 'Golden Carpet', 'Golden Feather', 'Multicolor', 
'Orange Queen' and 'Wickwar Flame'. 

For those gardeners on lime, the many varieties of the lime tolerant Erica carnea are 
ideal, such as the old favourites 'King George', 'Springwood White', 'Springwood Pink', 
'Myretoun Ruby' and 'Pink Spangles'. Again, the foliage forms are favourites with me 
and I especially recommend 'January Sun', 'Vivellii' and 'Ann Sparkes'. 
There are also varieties of Erica x darleyensis, E. erigena and E. vagans that are lime 
tolerant and will provide colourful foliage during the winter months. 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 243 

No matter how thickly these heathers cover the ground, and they are the finest ground 
cover plants, our varieties of Dryopteris and Polystichum will push their way through 
into the light. I especially enjoy seeing varieties of Dryopteris affinis agg. pushing their 
yellow/bronze fronds thorough the undulating groups of heathers in the spring. 
To keep the entire planting looking neat, it is necessary to remove the old fern fronds 
during the late autumn/early winter unless they are in good condition. Wait until the 
fronds have gone completely brown before removing them. Some species such as 
Polystichum, are winter green and I tend to leave them unless they are looking particularly 

! have a shady border that displays mainly Athyrium filix-femina and its varieties during 
the summer months; however, they quickly disappear in late autumn so they are 
interplanted with various forms of Helleborus corsicus, H. niger and H. orientalis hybrids. 
The front of the border is planted with Cyclamen hederifolium. Primula verisand Galanthus 
nivalis, providing plenty of interest while the ferns are at rest. I find that the robust 
shoots of the Hellebores provide shade, support and wind protection to the ferns in 

One group of plants thai 

is the hostas. True, they too disappear r 

consisting of hostas interplanted v 

of a cool shady border on hot summer days. (When 

The final ingredient must be 'taste' and what suits one g 

I trust that these comments will encourage others to experi 

They do not always work but it's great fun trying and I lo 

growers' experiences in future editions of the Pteridologist. 


More Asplenium x sarniense in Guernsey 

During a visit to Guernsey in March 1987 I found, growing with Asplenium adiantum- 
nigrum and A.billotii on a bank in a narrow lane near Moulin de Huet, King's Mills, 
a sterile Asplenium which suggested in its morphology the hybrid between the two, 
A. x sarniense, described by Anne Sleep in 1971. Though small and juvenile, Dr Sleep 
had no hesitation in referring two fronds I took to the hybrid. They resembled A. adiantum- 
nigrum in their deltoid (though narrow) outline, but A. billotii in their obtusely rounded 
pinna tips and distinctly stalked oval pinnules. This seems an additional site for A. x. 
sarniense, though falling within the same general area of south-west Guernsey as most 
of the previous records. 



For some time two subspecies of Asplenium trichomanes L. have been recorded in Britain, 
namely subspecies trichomanes and subspecies quadrivalens D.E. Meyer emend Lovis. 
Two further subspecies of A. trichomanes (subsp. pachyrachis (Christ) Lovis & Reichstein 
and subsp. inexpectans Lovis) known in continental Europe have not so far been recorded 

One of these, subsp. pachyrachis, has recently featured in my correspondence with 
Andre Labatut and Michel Boudrie in France but I never really took more than a passing 
interest in what I guessed was an obscure subspecies that I was never likely to encounter. 
However, on holiday last year (1988) I visited Andre and Pamela Labatut at their home 
in Bergerac and among many ferny bits and pieces they showed me a frond of subsp. 
pachyrachis. It was immediately recognisable as a form I had seen before - in the Wye 
Valley in Herefordshire. In fact, I had collected a frond for my own herbarium of what, 

My 1969 find was collected from humid vertical limestone rocks on the Herefordshire 
side of the River Wye just downstream of Symonds Yat. On my return from holiday 
I revisited the site as soon as possible and easily refound subsp. pachyrachis, abundant 
on the vertical rock faces, sometimes growing near Polypodium australe. I collected fronds 
from here and sent them, or showed them, to Prof. T. Reichstein, Andre Labatut and 
Christopher Fraser-Jenkins; all confirmed that this Herefordshire material was subsp. 
pachyrachis (see Fig. 2). In the same consignment of fronds sent to Prof. Reichstein I 
included another curious form of A. trichomanes collected from among the subsp. 
pachyrachis; this he indentified as a hybrid - probably the hybrid betwee 
subsp. pachyrachis and A. trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens, known a 
nothosubspecies staufferi Lovis & Reichstein (see Fig. 6). Christopher Fraser-Jenkins 
confirmed this independently. Therefore, at one site above the banks of the River Wye 
in Herefordshire we have two taxa new to the British flora. 
Asplenium trichomanes subsp. pachyrachis 

This is usually a distinct fern; most amateur botanists would recognise it as 'different'. 
It varies somewhat from locality to locality but it should be recognised from the following 
description (see also photograph opposite p. 246). 

1. It usually grows on sheer limestone rocks or walls, often in shady niches (see 
phot. opp. p. 246). 

2. The leaves tend usually to be pressed on to the face of the rock, spreading rather 

3. Fronds often falcate or S - shaped, 2-12 (1 5)cm long x 0.5 - 2 cm wide. 

4. Pinnae frequently triangular due to the extension of the lobes at the base of the 
pinnae on either side (i.e. biauriculate), and incised (thus serrato-lobate). 

5. Pinnae attached to the midrib by the centre; in subsp. quadrivalens the attachment 
is usually by the lower corner. 

6. Pinnae often rather crowded (i.e. subimbricate). 

7. Stipe about 0.5 mm thick, brittle. 

8. Rachis and abaxial side of pinnae (particularly at the base) often densely covered 

Pteridologist 1, 6(1989) 

1989. Fig. 2 subsp. pachyrachis, Symonds 

var. subequale. Fig. 3, 4 subsp. pachyrachis, 

Fig. 5 hybrid, Gwent 1 989. probably nothosubsp. staufferi. Fig. 6 hybnd, Symonds Yat, 

(det TR &, CRFJ), probably nothosubsp. staufferi Figs. 7-1 5 subsp pachyrachis vane 

in the herbarium at Kew (K). Figs, 7, 8 var subequale, banks of River Wye, nr. 

Enys 1856. Fig. 9 var. 

, Castle at Wentwood, J. Forster 
Streatfield 1862. 
Fig. 13 var. harovi 

trogyense) Castle, Monmouth, G.S 

Castle, Monmouth, Brooke-Smith 1872. Fig. 14 var 

var. triangulares Clare, Stansfield 1863. 


with nearly colourless hairs about 0.1 - 0.2 mm long (subsp. quadrivalens is usually 

9. Chromosome number n=72, 2n=144. Tetraploid sexual. 

The only fern subsp. pachyrachis could be confused with is subsp. quadrivalens (see 
Fig.1 ) but the above characters should easily separate these two. 
Subsp. pachyrachis could, in fact, be quite widespread in Britain. Peter Edwards kindly 

i photocopies of extreme forms of A. trichomanes i 
Kew. Several of these look to be varieties of subsp. pachyrachis, e.g. specimens trom 
Black Head in County Clare, Barmouth in Wales, Knaresborough in Yorkshire, as well 
as from the Wye Valley in Herefordshire and Gwent (see Figs. 7-15). Most of these 
collections in the nineteenth century were made by variety hunters during the Fern 
Craze. This goes to show how distinct this fern can be - it also reinforces my respect 
for those Victorian fern enthusiasts who did not miss much! 

The Victorians did not group all plants of subsp. pachyrachis as one taxon, instead different 
varietal names were given, for example:- 

Asplenium harovii or A. trichomanes var. harovii Moore, first reported from France in 
1 842, see examples of British specimens in Fig. 1 0, 1 1 , 1 3 & 1 4. 

A. trichomanes var trogyense Lowe, found by Lowe 1 882, see Fig 1 2 which was collected 
as var. harovii 1 7 years before Lowe named var. trogyense. 

A. trichomanes var. subequale Moore, found by Enys 1855, see Figs. 7 & 8, probably 
typical subsp. pachyrachis. Identical to most modern collections - see Figs. 2, 3 & 4. 

. imbricatum Clapham, found by Clapham 1863, see Fig 9. 

. velum Lowe, found by Lowe 1 890. 
A. trichomanesvar . triangulare Lowe, found by Stansfield 1863, see Fig. 15. This specimen 
at Kew appears to be the type specimen of var. triangulare but it is named var. harovii. 
In addition I did think var Moulei Moore (see photograph opposite p. 279) might be 
a form of subsp. pachyrachis but Prof. Reichstein has checked it and determined that 
it is subsp. quadrivalens. All of these varieties are described in British Ferns by E.J. 
Lowe 1 891 , pp. 37-39, and many tally with the specimens in the Kew herbarium. 
Clearly subsp. pachyrachis, in the form described as var. subequale, is fairly common 
in the region of the lower Wye Valley. Last autumn (1 988) I also found it in Gloucestershire, 
while my son Edward found it nearby in Gwent, each time just above the River Wye. 
I also believe I might have seen it back in 1967 on the limestone at Smoo Cave on 
the coast near Durness in the far north of Scotland, but unfortunately I do not have 
a specimen. Confirmation by a local botanist would be very welcome! Limestone rocks 
occur in many parts of the country and lime mortar walls are common, therefore subsp. 
pachyrachis may well be found to be quite widely distributed. 

More recently, this winter, armed with Lowe's book and the details of the Kew specimens 
it has been possible already to refind some of the Victorian forms of subsp. pachyrachis, 
although allocating the correct name is very difficult! A good form of var. harovii is 
common on the walls of Caldicot Castle in Gwent and a similar form occurs on nearby 
Chepstow Castle. In the same general area var. harovii thrives along with var. trogyense 
(see outside of front cover - confirmed as a form of subsp. pachyrachis by M. Boudrie). 
Var. trogyense is a beauty, but as its best site is at risk from overcollection, I cannot 
reveal the locality. Our original finds in the Wye Valley are var. subequale with some 
var. imbricatum. This only leaves var. triangulare, recorded from County Clare, and var. 
velum which have not yet been refound. It seems that var. velum is a more developed 

The cut 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 

Photograph by Clive 

ridologist 1,6(1989) 

Pteridologist 1 , 6 (1 989) 247 

Recent records for subsp. pachyrachis: 

Vc 34 (W. Gloucester). Opposite Biblins, 1988, 1989 MHR - var. subequale. 

Downstream of Symonds Yat East, 1989 MHR - var. subequale. 
Vc 35 (Monmouth). Opposite Biblins, 1988 E. Rickard - var subequale. 

Chepstow Castle, 1989 MHR - some approaching var. harovii. 

Caldicot Castle, 1989 MHR - var. harovii. 

'Gwent', 1989 MHR - vars. harovii and trogyense. 
Vc 36 (Hereford). Doward Hill, 1969, 1988 MHR (det. TR, CRFJ & AL) - probably var. 

. subequale plus some approaching 

3 Caldicot Castle (see photograph opposite). 

Subsp. pachyrachis is widely distributed in central southern Europe including France 
(Boudrie, 1988) and Luxembourg (Fraser-Jenkins, pers. comm.). It has been described 
as Asplenium csikii from Albania (e.g. see Tutin et al, 1964). 

The above list of records poses some problems. Why does subsp. pachyrachis vary from 
site to site but remain fairly constant within sites? For example, the distinctive form, 
var. trogyense, occurs in the complete absence of normal subsp. pachyrachis. Also, why 
does subsp. pachyrachis grow on Chepstow and Caldicot Castles? These localities are 
sometimes sunny and relatively windswept - nothing like the humid rocks of the Wye 
Valley. Admittedly, the castle forms tend to differ from those in the valley. Are these 
two types of populations, therefore, simply ecotypes or are the differences more significant? 
nothosubspecies staufferi (subsp. pachyrachis x subsp. 

The hybrid is more difficult to identify in the field, but useful characters are: 

1 . It is a vigorous plant with a more upright habit than subsp. pachyrachis. 

2. It is distinctly intermediate between the parents with some slightly triangular pinnae, 
most of these pinnae attached to the midrib by the centre as in subsp. pachyrachis. 

3. Fronds 1 5 - 30 cm long x 1 .5 - 2.0 cm wide. 

4. It is usually a darker green than subsp. pachyrachis, more like subsp. quadrivalens. 

5. It has mainly aborted spores - the most reliable character. 

6. Chromosome number 2n = 144. 

I am surprised that Lowe and others did not recognise this hybrid as a distinct nameable 
form. Indeed, my initial field determinations based on its striking morphology have 
subsequently all been confirmed by the presence of mainly aborted spores. Lovis and 
Reichstein (1985) have shown that this hybrid may not be completely sterile as some 
apparently good spores are formed. Certainly, field evidence would confirm this theory 
as, at the site where var. trogyense grows, there are perhaps 20 plants of this hybrid 
(see Fig. 5). Most are thick textured like the subsp. quadrivalens parent but some plants 
are noticeably thinner in texture with crisped pinnae - although of equal frond length. 
Perhaps these plants are divergent forms of second generation hybrids? 


Vc 35 (Monmouth). 'Gwent', 1989 MHR - about 20 plants (see Fig. 5). 

Vc 36 (Hereford). Doward Hill near Symonds Yat West, 1988 MHR - one plant, det. 

as hybrid by TR and CRFJ (see Fig. 6). 

Biblins, 1989 MHR - 2 plants (see photograph opposite). 

I have not uncovered any old records for this hybrid in Britain although I am suspicious 
that var. majus Lowe may include large forms of it. Var majus was found in the Wye 
Valley near Chepstow. This hybrid is also known in Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, 
West Germany, East Germany and Czechoslovakia. 

if the discovery of these two taxa in the British 
fuller account will be published including the 
necessary cytological data on British plants and fuller distribution records. Any specimens 
f possible subsp. pachyrachis, or the hybrid, from additional localities would, therefore, 
it collect plants. This applies particularly to the localities 
. These colonies are long established but many are small and 
r collecting. 

-om many people while preparing this account. In particular, 
Reichstein, Christopher Fraser-Jenkins, Andre Labatut, 
Michel Boudrie, Stefan Jessen, Peter Edwards, Clive Jermy, Jimmy Dyce and Shaun 
Brewer at Caldicot Castle. 

notosubsp. staufferi sur les marges occidentals calcaires du Massif Central (France), Bull. 

de la Soc. Bot. du Centre-ouest, Nouvelle Serie, 19; 35-38. 
LOVIS, J.D. & REICHSTEIN, T. 1985. Asplemum trichomanes subsp. pachyrachis and a note on 

the typificai 
LOWE, E.J. 1891 British Ferns and where found. London 
TUTIN, T.G. et al. 1964. Flora Europaea, 1; 15. 

Centenary Year - 1991 

The Society will reach its one hundredth year in 1991, so your Committee is actively 
considering various ways of celebrating the occasion and bringing the study of 
pteridophytes to a wider audience. There will, of course, be the usual programme of 
events during the year, but additional meetings are also being planned. There will be 
an international meeting on propagating and growing ferns at the Royal Botanic Gardens, 
Kew in July, 1991, which will attract pteridologists from around the world. This will 
be followed by a tour of some gardens with important collections of ferns. First circulars 
of both are included with this issue for you to register your interest. 

3 Royal Horticultural Society for the 1991 Chelsea 
our stand at the Southport Show and we expect 
to have an even larger number of fern exhibitors than usual. 

An anniversary meeting might be possible at the same venue as the Society's inaugural 
meeting in the Lake District in 1891. 

A special publication is also being planned to highlight the main aspects of the Society's 
work over the last hundred years. 

Any suggestions from the membership covering the centenary year are most welcome, 
as indeed they are on any aspect of the Society. Your President and Committee try 
their best to give you the best Society they can, but they have precious little feedback 
from the membership as a whole. 


Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 


iave always attracted me. I have childhood memories of Lady Ferns growing 
the edge of a concreted London backyard, and their distinctive ferny smell when 
I against. I wasn't very high then. Perhaps it is the beautiful three-dimensional 

At Achnashellach, with its high humidity and even higher rainfall, ferns grow prolifically 

about the garden, even to the extent of becoming an endearing nuisance. But it took 

ten years of frustration in other fields of gardening before I realised that I was overlooking 

a wonderful asset. Why not grow ferns? 

Inevitably the urge to extend the range of varieties led to thoughts of raising them from 

fern spores. Ferns in local garden centres were, in any case, non-existent. A few kinds 

of spores were offered in the seed exchange of the Scottisl 

not give them a try? In particular I remember Adiantum , 

munitum, which were just sprinkled on my usual unsterilised 

coarse gritty sand from the river. I was lucky, spores germir 

hours weeding with tweezers. Prothalli came and later the first tiny Tronas. 

This, by the way, took place in the propagating case in which I start my plant s 

It consists of a Dutch light (2 1 / 2 ft. x 5 ft.) over an insulated box with a 75 

heating cable in sand and a 4 ft. daylight balanced fluorescent tube under the g 

There was a little surprise in store - most of the first ferns potted up turm 

be our common Dryopteris! 

The need for sterilising the compost was obvious and the need for a much wid 

of spores to choose from. Hence a subscription to the B.P.S. at 

a whole new gardening world (and friends as well, more recently). 

Out of 20 packets of spores sown in spring '85 on boiled earth-based compost, covered 

with clear plastic sheet in my propagating case, only three kinds came up. Ptens cretica 

'Albol.neata', Athyrium filix-femina 'Victonae' and two plants of Lygodium japomcum 

(which went pale and slowly died). Later in the year one or two more plants each of 

three more species appeared, and in the wrong pots. With a couple of lovely mystery 

It seemed I had a lot to learn. 

The next year I tried baking the compost in the oven. A Plantpak container was used 
with 24 compartments. This was stood in a plastic-lined seed-box with a pad of capillary 
matting, kept wet, in between. The surface of the compost, rather rough (I learned to 
Beds long ago - everything goes through a 1 / 2 " sieve) was kept 

and 1 sand as used for seeds with a pH i 

around 6.5. 

Sadly, according to my records, 15 of the 20 species sown have 
against them. A number of Male and Lady Ferns appeared. Lo 
the baking didn't work. Lots of tweezy weeding again. 


3 "no germ." 
iss. Evidently 

In 1987 the 

compost \ 

was boiled again 

and topped with coarse, 

unwashed sand from 

this, coming deep out of the ground. But I 
wasn't prepared to see nothing at all, not even a weed, and a tuft of prothalli transferred 
as a test died after a fortnight. The sand proved to be extremely acid and was dark 
brown in colour. Suspected iron or aluminium toxicity. 

In desperation I phoned the spore exchange manager who very kindly sent a second 
batch. These were sown at the end of April, on boiled compost again. Germination 
was extraordinary. Green in every pot. Too good to be true; in fact, six turned out to 
be weed Dryopteris again. But the other 15 were true, plus weeds. During the summer 
lots of the prothalli died away, often leaving just two or three around the edges of 
the pot. Suspected overheating. On several sunny days, even with shading it was 90F 
in the case and probably more under the plastic sheet. The propagating case is close 
under the roof of my workshop which is covered with transparent corrugated fibreglass 
sheet. In these latitudes it is difficult to find all day shac 

Certain things grew fast. Athyrium filix-femina varieties, Dryopteris wallichiana ar 
marginalis, Polystichum setiferum and P. braunii were pricked out by mid-August 
most others by mid-September. 

One thing was fairly obvious, spores germinate much better in the warmth and 
of April than the cold dark days of February. I have since found that most spores se 
germinate at all below 60F. Though, I have sometimes wondered if the spores of £ 
hardy species are like the seeds of many hardy plants and need a spell of winter chi 
Fresh spores of Asplenium viride and Polypodium vulgare, August sown, di 
until February and March although conditions appeared to be much better in August. 
Results in 1988 were also good, sown in mid-February but otherwise similar conditions, 
nearly all pots germinating at various times in April. From the speed of development 
of some of the prothalli I became increasingly suspicious that all was not as it should 
be and awaited the first fronds with interest. When they came they all had hairy stalks 
and despite the labels, looked very much like those in the overcrowded compartment 
labelled Hypolepis punctata. These were carefully extracted so as not to disturb the 
other prothalli, and indeed H. punctata they all proved to be. And I swear I didn't breathe 
at all during sowing. This must surely be the fastest growing fern on earth - by September 
the plants had fronds up to 18" long and many were planted out in the garden. Fairly 
deeply in leaf-mould in the hope that frost will not find them. 

A lot of prothalli disappeared during the summer and again I suspect overheating. Next 
year I shall put them in another place for the summer - but it has to be somewhere 
where they will not get overlooked for a day, and with a large garden that is not as 
simple as it sounds. There is always too much going on in early summer for my overloaded 
memory to cope! 

An operation which I am having second thoughts about is the frequent overhead misting 
I have been giving the spores. They are so small and delicate that I felt they must 
have constant saturation to survive when germinating and kept them glistening moist. 
After no germination for five weeks (but with the temperature around 50F) I wondered 
if they were being drowned and stopped it. Sure enough, they were up in 3 weeks 
lis occasion. Another thing more to the 
i have suddenly greatly reduced in numbers for 
i I sprayed them a few days earlier. It seemed 
just possible that a sudden coating of fresh water might burst their delicate cells by 
osmosis. Another thought is that misting might be depriving the spores of mineral 
nutrients. Having negligible stores they must in some way absorb them very quickly. 
In nature their favourite places for germination are in cave mouths, wall and cliff crevices, 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 251 

under large rocks and tree stumps, where there is relatively even temperature and humidity 
and moist substrate - but little if any overhead wetting. Under these conditions there 
will be a slow accumulation of mineral salts on the surface by the evaporation of soil 
water. A similar process to the more dramatic efflorescence on damp walls. Thus, a 
spore, if it is lucky, germinates in the midst of plenty. Rain or misting would nullify 
this. So in future we'll see what no spraying and only subsurface watering will do. 
Can anyone advise me? 

When all else fails read the instructions (or go back to Nature). But the instructions 
in books generally are not comprehensive or consistent, and worse, do not tell us why. 
Having a somewhat scientific outlook, everything has to have a reason and if the 
instructions don't give one, and I can't see one, I believe they are suspect and don't 
follow them. Usually with benefit. Therefore I was very pleased to read fairly 
comprehensive details in the Encyclopaedia of Ferns by David L. Jones which came 
out last year, including a useful list of materials for making spore composts. Boiled 
mud seemed unsatisfactory from an aeration point of view. (But does aeration matter 
much at the spore stage? We are dealing with very small volumes anyway which soon 
stabilise). So I have been experimenting with peat sand mixes. I have my own peat 
bog from which I dig, dry and sieve my own peat, just the top fibrous 6". Although 
it is very acid, spores seem to like to germinate on it. This is sterilised in a large, flat, 
coarse food sieve, which just fits over a saucepan, so that steam is forced through 
it for 1 5 minutes with the saucepan lid on. There has been no trouble with weed Dryopteris 

The appearance of moss has always been a puzzle, usually in late sun- 
whole patch or even pot erupts in mossy shoots. As though, like couch grass, it had 
been busy spreading underground before sprouting. Time to read up the moss s life 
history. A moss, I discovered, develops from a spore as a filamentous alga, colonising 
a patch and then, when it is ready, sends up shoots at random all over the patch. Problem 
solved. Dark green and black gelatinous algal skins on the compost were largely cured 
by sterilising the water containing vessels with bleach (well rinsed afterwards). The 
water itself comes from a constantly flowing deep spring in the garden and is not suspect. 
Another little mystery is that some batches of prothalli are very slow to (or even never) 
send out a leaf. They get plenty of misting. Damage through overheating is a poss.b.l.ty. 
There is a batch labelled Polystichum makinoi with prothalli now over %" across, but 
only three reluctant leaves have appeared and not from the large ones. Is the sexually 
active stage a fairly brief affair not repeated? Is it precipitated by the size of the prothallus, 
time from germination or external conditions? Perhaps, contrary to tradition, overhead 
misting should stop here too. Condensation of moisture is often clearly v.s.ble on the 
undersides and should be more than sufficient. But condensation would depend on there 
being at least some temperature fluctuation. 

Feeding of prothalli and young sporelings seems an obvious thing to do and almost 
homeopathic doses seem to work. I use Vitax Cucumber Feed which conta.ns trace 
elements as well as the major ones, all of which could be short in a peat sand compost. 
A match head size heap in a half-pint mist sprayer seems effective. The feed made 
from seaweed might be even better. Young ferns, when rooted, get a feed at about 
half strength. They don't seem to need much. As a friend of mine put it "I don't know 
what they live on". 

252 Pteridologist 1,6 (1989) 

While a weak feed works wonders I lost a lot of sporelings from time to time, with 
dead roots, and tracked it down to the use of John Innes Base fertilizer. Evidently too 
strong for them. Ammonia toxicity, no doubt, from the hoof and horn meal therein. 
A good mix, I found, was one part soil, one of garden compost and one of coarse sand. 
Well aerated, nourishing but not intoxicating. When they get to the potting stage they 
go into the standard 2:1:1 mix with about 4 "pills" of slow release (6 month) fertiliser 
around the edge of the pot halfway down. The hope being that the roots would take 
it or leave it as they need it, rather than being totally and unavoidably immersed in 
fertiliser. In practice it seems to keep them going indefinitely. 

Impatient to get these plants to maturity I keep them growing all through the first winter 
with 1 5 hours artificial light daily. Natural light here can be discounted for three months. 
The temperature fluctuates rather wildly between 40-60F according to outside conditions. 
I am hopeful that a bit of extra insulation will improve this and even-out the humidity 
too. Even Athyriums, normally quick to die off in autumn keep going and by April growth 
starts to speed up again. I am sure one gains the equivalent of a season's growth like 

In spring the youngsters are ejected to the greenhouse where they sit on capilliary 
matting over concrete slabs. They are shaded if need be by a milky white plastic sheet 
which can be dropped in front of them, and in summer a grapevine overhead gives 
them the sort of shade they need. 
Now you know at least as much as I do. Has anyone else any thoughts to add on ferns 


Polpey, Par, Cornwall PL24 2TW 

The giant pharmaceutical manufacturers continue to pour out new wonder drugs in 
ever increasing quantity. But despite the claims made for their performance, there is 
a growing disquiet in the mind of the public, that research into the after effects is not 
as thorough as it should be, and that all too often the patient is saddled with another 
problem. As more and more G.Ps turn to a prescription for tablets as the quickest way 
of diminishing the glum-faced crowd in his waiting-room, the voice of another lobby 
is heard increasingly loud in the land. It is that of the 'back to Nature' group. They 
cover a wide field of interests and concerns, as wide as Nature herself, animal rights, 
protecters of threatened species and rain forests etc, and believers in herbs and plants 
as safer medicine than synthetic and chemical products. 

The argument that the old remedies in herbals and Materia Medica just do not work, 
can never be effectively settled until there is agreement on the reaction between the 
phyche and the soma. We are left with the proof of the herb or tablet to be in the 
swallowing. There are a great many books, ancient and modern on natural medicines, 
but ferns have been grossly neglected, often not even mentioned. Yet for about two 
millenia they have supported and comforted the human race in all manner of sickness, 
and are still used by many unsophisticated peoples in these last years of the twentieth 

I invite members with any of the following complaints to give the appropriate pteridophyte 
a chance, before reverting to taking a pill of unknown antecedents. The ferns were 
usually prepared as infusions or decoctions, when taken by mouth, as lotions to be 
applied externally, or made into an ointment or paste, which latter could be spread 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 253 

Dryopteris filix-mas has always been associated with its use as a vermifuge in Europe 
since pre-historic times. It is still used as such in Scandinavia but so also is D. carthusiana 
and bracken. In each case it is the rhizome which is prepared, though in the instance 
of Huperzia selago, (also still used in Europe), it is the spores that are suspended in 

Together with the above four pteridophytes, three of which are used to-day in the U.S.A. 
there are another eight species used in South Soto (South Africa) and they are widely 
favoured still in India and China. Among the species taken in Soto are Asplenium adiantum- 
nigrum, Cystopteris fragilis, and various species of Polystichum. 

There is a wide choice of ferns to relieve dysentery and diarrhoea. In South Soto there 
are two species of Cheilanthes , elsewhere, the Encyclopaedia of Ferns lists Asplenium 
adiantum-nigrum (truly a fern of great versatility), A. trichomanes, and also Adiantum 
capillus-veneris. The last named is another fern that appears to have great healing 
potential. Two clubmosses are also reputed to be effective in controlling diarrhoea, 

Should you be suffering from head or chest complaints, there are several remedies 
to hand, Ceterach officinarum, Cheilanthes hirta, and the creeping root of the common 
Polypody; once again the black spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum-nigrum) is included. 
It might be as well to take a daily dose of this old friend throughout the winter as 
a phrophylactic. A lip-fern is also prescribed for the common cold and for sore throats. 
To prevent the onset of bronchitis, many African tribes make a syrup of sugar with 
one of three species of maiden-hair. I have tried this, using Adiantum capillus-veneris; 
it is perfectly inocuous and, so far, I am quite well. Spores of Lycopodium may be sniffed 
up, after the manner of snuff. The fronds of two spleenworts are smoked in South 
Soto to relieve asthma, and those of Pellaea calomelanos are inhaled. There is no 
whether these habits could become addictive. 

Urinary complaints as ubiquitous as the ferns themselves. There may be a link between 
)-be-found remedy. The people of South Soto again, 
d the root of the polypody. The Encyclopaedia of 

Ferns includes the inevitable black spleenwort once again, together with seven other 


indeed, it was he who bestowed the name 'Asplenium', not on our 'adiantum-nigrum', 
but on what is now rechristened as Ceterach officinarum. The taxonomy was corrected 
by de Candolle, around the middle of the last century. It means 'without spleen', which 
is puzzling. I don't know what is the active principle, or the action on the liver. Malaria 
was, of course, rampant in the Mediterranean in the past. One symptom was an enlarged 

Lycopodium cernuum can also help in cases of under nourishment. Though the Chinese 
prefer L clavatum, in mediaeval Europe Osmunda regalis was the first choice. Two 
3 brewed as tea, all were said to alleviate the pangs of hunger. 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 

laid on a mattress of the green fronds. 
There is 

Pellaea calomelanos grows in Africa, Madagascar and India, and also in Spain. Hence 
there is a chance, should any member be afflicted with boils or pimples while on holiday 
in that country, of finding the natural remedy. The alternative is Ophiglossum polyphyllum, 
a small Adder's Tongue, which could be hard to locate. The Pellaea is also given to 
children, crushed in milk as a tranquiliser. 

There is sound sense in linking the clubmosses with respiratory troubles, since they 
do contain three alkaloids which stimulate breathing, but paralyse the nervous system. 
Ferns have been resorted to over the centuries to relieve the effects of sprains and 
bruises. The most easily come by for those at home, is Asplenium marinum. Four tropical 
species are listed, which are said to numb the pain. One is still used frequently in 
Java and Sumatra, and is also effective as a blood coagulant. The mild anaesthesia 
is produced by chewing the pinnae. Both the clubmosses and Ophioglossum vulgatum 
have a reputation of causing the blood to congeal. But if bitten by hostile insects, it 
is suggested that the sufferer chew the stipe of Lygodium circinatum, drink a decoction 
of Oleandra neriformis, or, back to our panacea, sip a tumblerful of maidenhair tea. 
Both the scales of Cyathea and Dicksonia are held to be coagulants. Other natural 
anthisans are the rhizomes of two exotic ferns, or the juices of Equisetum. This claim 
can be tested by even the most timid members; another anti-irritant is the juice of young 
bracken tips rubbed on the bite. 

Pteridophytes are also used in veterinary work. The Zulus insert a rather long lip-fern 
into a cow to help free the placenta. Horses with worms or parasites are given enemas 
made from a decoction of the rhizomes of a species of Polystichum. 
There is but one survivor used in the products of the giant chemical companies to- 
day. Lycopodium clavatum is a component of the water-proof coating of pills. The spores 
are ground to a yellowish powder, which contains nearly 50% oil, and resists moisture. 
The familiar white sugar covering is applied to that surface. It is a clubmoss again, 
which is represented in the cosmetic trade. Lcernuum, native of the Antilles and Surinam, 
is an ingredient in bath scents. In the latter country this clubmoss is said 'to be able 
to charm'. This is all too tantalising. Whether the charm works if the bathwater be 
only mildly impregnated, or whether the charm is favourable or hostile, or even of its 
powers of duration, there seems to be no information. 

For all members, be they curious, hypochondriacs, or courageous trend-setters, there 
is an open invitation to experiment, even to escape from the doubtful tyranny of the 

d the very good health of you all. 

JACOBSEN, W.B.G. 1986. Ferns as healers, past and present. Supplement to Newsletter of S.W.A. 

Wissenschaftliche gesellschaft. 
JONES, D.L 1987. Encyclopaedia of Ferns. London. 
WATT, J.M. and BRANDWIJK, M.G.B. Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of Southern and Eastern 


71 Abingdon Road, Oxford, 0X1 4PR 

Hang the pressing - tonight I write! So, sitting at a large open window with the tropical 
night air, the breathing of the sea, just outside, here I am having supper in the local 
restaurant, pen in hand, thinking over the findings of the last few days I've spent on 
the beautiful island of Maui. The silhouette of the coast and mountains of west Maui 
lies just opposite across the bay, cut off above, as always, by dense cloud, and seen 
through waving palm-leaves. But the table-top decor before me happens to be a map 
of the world seen from the Pacific, Hawai'i in the centre; and between, during and 
around my oh-too-American meal I am lost in thought on the world-wide distribution 
patterns of ferns, of Dryoptehs, the genus I have studied for almost as long as I can 
remember. How can it be, how can it possibly have occurred that a form of the hay- 
scented fern (European - not Dennstaedtia, the American one), Dryopteris aemula, so 
well-known to me from the Canary Islands to Scotland, is here in Hawai'i, large as 
life and abundant everywhere in the cloud-zone of the volcanoes at about 4000 feet 
up? Its affinities have been unrecognised for a hundred years under the local name 
Dryopteris glabra, and though I had known some time ago that D. glabra looked similar 
to D. aemula, I never dared suggest it was really related when I prepared a monographic 
classification of the world's Dryopteris a few years ago in case it was only a superficial 
resemblance. But now, for the last three days, I've been up in the forest on Maui (which 
is the richest Hawai'ian island for ferns), and I've seen what I could hardly believe - 
abundant stands of superb and well-developed D. aemula-Uke plants growing in the 
masses of thick moss-clumps anywhere the light penetrates the misty, tangled branches 
of the "fairy moss-forest" around the middle altitudes of the dripping-wet northern slopes 
of the island. Here, at a latitude of 21 °N, just within the tropic of Cancer, roughly level 
with Hong Kong and Taiwan to the west, south-central Mexico, Jamaica, and across 
the Atlantic to the Cape Verdes and ultimately to the same level as central India to 
the east, all places with more tropical floras - it's almost incomprehensible! But D. glabra 
really is basically the same thing as D. aemula, from the same blackish-purple stipe 
(on mature fronds), with shaggy, concolorous, red-brown scales at its base, to the thin 
covering of lanate (woolly) scale-debris over the stipe and rhachis in larger plants, the 
pale-yellow-green, when exposed, or darker-green, when shaded, slightly-crispy, crimped- 
up lamina, the same segment-shape and the same small sori with smaller indusia, the 
same obvious mealy covering of blunt-headed glands scattered over the axes and lamina, 
particularly in young fronds, and even the same precociously fertile baby plants. Highly 
significantly at least the majority of plants even have the give-away scent of recently- 
dried hay, just detectable in living plants on occasions, but clearly smellable in the newly- 
dried pressed specimens - said to be due to the presence of a chemical known as 
'coumarin', though I don't know if that relates to modern phytochemical studies. Anyhow 
it's more or less my same most favourite fern - I'd know it anywhere! Some of the 
larger specimens have more dissect fronds than our D. aemula, with rather less-crowded 
and more acute segments, so there is just a slightly different range of variation, which 
one should expect right over here - and especially as the Hawai'ian flora (including 
the flowering plants) is renowned for its exceptional and baffling ranges of variation 
within species. But comparing these plants with the highly-dissect Madeiran population, 
or with certain rather similar north-Spanish populations, one can hardly see much 
distinction, and a number of specimens match almost exactly some of our British plants. 
I am quite clear in my mind that this D. glabra is what is called a vicariant (or geographically 
separated equivalent) of our D. aemula because of its very closely similar morphology 
and, I presume, relationship. To investigate this, Prof. Widen of Helsinki will soon compare 
the two chemically from dried rhizomes I collect. 

Pteridologist 1,6 (1989) 

of the Pacific on the other ! 

believe in random, and especially world-v 

perhaps a handful of tropical adventives, "weedy" Nephrolepis 

have we; and from the distribution patterns I know it just clearly hasn't 

Dryopteris as far as modern-day ranges indicate. Even in the remarkable c 

Central-American D. patula, which I recently discovered to be in West Africa, to r 

as Prof. Pichi Sermolli 

>plate movement ("continental drift") separating Africa and America, than to 
recent long-distance spore-dispersal, though a study of this discovery is now being 
prepared (by Fraser-Jenkins, Pichi Sermolii & Viane). Of course long-distance dispersal 
must have been involved at some stage in the past history of every single living organism 
on Hawai'i as the islands are oceanic and arose volcanically out of the sea - but the 
jumps were from nearby continents and islands, not from right around the world, and 
most of them appear to have happened a long time ago in the past (i.e. as infrequent 
events). A recent wind-blown jump from Europe around the world just to Hawai'i? I 
don't believe it. Anyway the Hawai'ian plant is just that little bit different from the European. 
So let's look at the adjacent land-masses across the ocean from Hawai'i. To the distant 
south-west and south-east into the southern hemisphere one is looking into an area 
where Dryopteris generally doesn't occur except for a few invaders from the north (this 
is excluding only Africa, which contains no species related to D. aemula or its Section). 
To the north there's almost nothing except for two unrelated Siberian to North American, 
circumboreal or circumpolar species, D. expansa and D. fragrans, so that area is irrelevant 
unless one postulates a north-pole situated in central-Asia or -Europe during tertiary 
times and a migration route around the north Siberian coast, for which there is no 
evidence at all and which would be preposterously out-of-keeping with all other fern 
distribution patterns - a far-fetched idea! To the east is the rather Dryopteris-poor area 
of North America with no D. aemula relatives (mind you, a close relative of the 
Mediterranean and Asian D. pallida is there on the west coast, D. arguta, again hard 
to explain), or alternatively there's Mexico and Central-America with no close relatives 
again except for the quite distinct D. nubigena (D. futura is another, distinct but closely 
similar species) which I believe is in the same Section (not in subgenus Nephrocystis 
as I thought in my classification paper when I did not know that species so well), but 
it is too distantly related to D. aemula to be relevant. To the west are the south-east- 
Asian flora and the eastern fringe of the Sino-Himalayan fern flora, both with no species 
in Section Aemulae, and there's also the Japanese Dryopteris group. I 
a sort of connection, though not as close as one needs to explain tl 
comes in the form of a species called D. gymnophylla (and also tr 
distant D. chinensis, again in Section Aemulae, of Japan, E. Chine 
parts of east Siberia). D. gymnophylla is a species close to D. aemula - actually I 
I could go and see it on my way back from Hawai'i, but I'm sure my tickets cannot 
now be altered reasonably cheaply! But, though close, they are not the same and may 
only indicate some split off in the distant past. The connection is probably significant 
though, and elsewhere in the world there is just one possible hint of what might have 
happened, long, long ago in the early or mid tertiary period, and that is the presence 
of D. aemula in north-east Turkey (see Fraser-Jenkins in the Bulletin 1975) in a strongly 
oceanic or "Atlantic" area influenced by the Black Sea. This suggests that D. aemula 
may once have been right across Europe before the drying up of the Mediterranean 
regions; and there is even a nineteenth century record of it which I found in Basel 
herbarium, where it was unidentified, from near Seravezza in the Alpi Apuane in a 
small, highly Atlantic area of north-western Italy, where Trichomanes and Hymenophyllum 
have been rather recently discovered and where it may yet turn up if the label on the 
specimen is really genuine, which I'm inclined to think it is. So could it once have been 

,6(1989) 257 

right across Asia too, long before the present Sino-Himalayan fern flora occupied and 
evolved in the newly arising Himalayan ranges? Could it perhaps have spread all along 
the erstwhile temperate and oceanic shores of what is now Central Asia, along the 
coast of the Tethys Sea when India was a separate island and before the mightly Himalaya, 
carrying the Tibetan plateau up with it, arose to obliterate the Tibetan-Mongolian flora 
in desolate rain shadow locked in the bitter cold grip of its ever increasing altitude? 
To me this seems the only plausible explanation even if it does strain belief - indeed 
I think one should really be looking from Asia westwards towards the European and 
Atlantic populations, which probably represent the ultimate extreme of migration of the 
species from an ancient centre of distribution in China, as appears to be the case with 
a great majority of Dryopteris species, rather than the other way around, which, as 
Europeans, we think of at first. D. aemula is probably our most direct link with tertiary 
period China. It's our own pre-Ming Dryopteris! There are other such examples - the 

a, or between D. affinis and D. wallichiana. But all of these are possibly 
t or at least more obvious as the relevant vicariant species still survive 
, and in this case only D. gymnophylla really shows any reasonably close 
) D. aemula. But like D. wallichiana, it seems the ancient D. aemula reached 
1 eastern Asia, due 
f being markedly oceanic - only the two 
extremes of migration are left, in the Atlantic region and in the central Pacific, plus 
that exciting little remnant in Turkey. The cold coast of temperate eastern Asia must 
have been too much for it. If so this is an even more spectacular disjunction of range, 
due to extinction, than the well-known case of Adiantum reniforme in Macaronesia 
with its close relatives across the other side of Africa in Reunion and Madagascar, 
and in Szechuan in west China. But I wonder if anyone else can come up with any 
alternatives or pertinent observations? I'm offering a plant each of two superb Hawai'ian 
Polystichum species and of the magnificent Sadleria cyatheoides (see below) for the 
best (shortish) suggestion or comment anyone can send me (serious or not) on this 
extraordinary situation - the editor of the Pteridologist will also try to include it in a 
forthcoming issue - so thinking-caps on! 

It is relevant here to comment on the antiquity of some of the species in Hawai'i. From 
its unspecialised morphology it certainly seems that the D. aemula group along with 
all its Section is perhaps the most ancient group in the subgenus Dryopteris (other, 
possibly equal, contenders being the D. wallichiana/D. hirtipes Sections and the D. patula 
Section). This was first postulated by Prof. G. Vida some twenty years ago and I remember 
being impressed with his idea, based on the morphology being intermediate between 
D. pallida and D. dilatata, when I first visited him and we sat on his terrace overlooking 
Budapest discussing it in 1969. Since then, knowing the wider ranges of the genus, 
I can see that Section Aemulae also shows some morphological similarities to subgenus 
Nephrocystis Sect. Purpurascentes (e.g. D. purpurascens and D. pulvinuhfera) as well 
as to subgenus Dryopteris Sects. Pallidae, Splendentes, Margmatae and Lophodium, 
while subgenus Nephrocystis is itself slightly towards some of the compound Polyst.cho.d 
ferns such as Arachniodes, which appear to be ancient in the family Dryoptendaceae. 

i anywhere 

presumed t 

extinct on the mainland a long time ag. 

i million years old, and still 

that such young islands (Hawai'i, Big Island, i 

erupting), which recently emerged from the sea, can contain very ancient endemic species 

- there is really no problem. Apparently there is a volcanic "hot-spot" in the earth < 

crust below the bed of the ocean, which has stayed s 

plate above floated, and still floats, slowly towards t 

even a new one forming under the sea east of the Big Island today. But as the islands 
age, by then carried beyond the "hot-spot", they weather rather rapidly and are eroded 
away as they continue, so as one looks to the north-west the islands generally get 
lower and smaller until they disappear and leave only a line of tiny fragments and atolls 
above larger under-sea plateaux where they once were. These are of course much older 
- so going north-westwards, Kaua'i is about 5 million years old and Midway Island 
(about 1 200 miles from Big Island) is about 28 million years old - and the line of submarine 
stumps extends virtually to the Asian mainland near Kamschatka, where the Pacific 
plate dips down into a deep trench. Once plants had blown to the islands, a long time 
ago, they could hop from island to island as each new one appeared, before they were 
extinguished by the previous island's disappearance. In the meantime the original 
mainland populations became extinct. As examples of these very ancient remnant species, 
in Dryopteris there is a superb, seven foot, up to five-times pinnate, impressively scaly 
species called D. acutidens C.Chr., whose massive fronds engulfed me (and with 
excitement too!) a couple of days ago in the dense forest on the north side of Haleakala 
volcano, where I was shown it by Dr Bob Hobdy of the Forestry Division, here on Maui. 
It has no close relatives, unless perhaps it is remotely connected to Section Aemulae, 
but as such a very distinctive member of it that I cannot be at all sure. It is interesting 
too for its large range of variation, from coarse fronded plants (perhaps taxonomically 
recognisable) to ones with superb finely-cut ultimate segments. There is also a tiny 
species on Kaua'i, D. parvula Robinson, with sori at the distal margins of the segments 
and the fronds no more than about six inches long (see Wagner in Fiddlehead Forum 
1 988); this is in Section Aemulae, though again very distinct, and I had previously thought 
it was in subgenus Nephrocystis in my classification. Another odd one, too, the delicate 
little D. crinalis, hanging off cliffs in the "fairy moss-forest" looks close to Ctenitis at 
first, but I feel pretty sure it must be a rather isolated member of the Japanese subgenus 
Erythrovariae as it has wide-based scales under the costae and a segment-shape like 
D. championii or D. varia in that group. Curiously a number of Hawai'ian Dryopteris 
species are exindusiate (never have an indusium), including D. acutidens, D. crinalis, 
D. unidentata and the huge, deltate-fronded D. sandwicensis (synomyn: D. maniensis 
C.Chr; this latter species being an endemic member of Section Marginatae), which makes 
for difficulty at first in recognising them as Dryopteris species, though this phenomenon 
also occurs in a few other Dryopteris species in various parts of the world. I am very 
pleased that Prof. Wagner, of Ann Arbor, and I are going to pool our efforts to study 
these complicated Dryopteris species. 

Of course I cannot go around Hawai'i seeing only Dryopteris - there is a multitude 
of superb species here from tall, stiff, narrow-fronded Polypodium pellucidum var. 
vulcanicum, among rocks and grass in the high-altitude lava fields, to superb epiphytic 
miniatures like the feathery Adenophorus tamariscinus and large but delicate filmy ferns 
such as the hairy-stemmed Callistopteris baldwinii. But before I stop I must mention 
the three superb Hawai'ian Polystichum species and the magnificient Sadleria - all four 
endemics. The Polystichums are P. haleakalense, with narrow fronds covered in long 
teeth and white scales, growing at high altitudes in the grassland gulleys, P. bonseyi. 
Prof. Wagner's new species, a bit similar to P. braunii, and the magnificent, stiff-fronded, 
glossy dark-green P. hillebrandii, whose stipe and rhachis are densely covered in large, 
rounded, reddish scales. But the king of all is Sadleria cyatheoides the commonest of 
several species in an endemic genus related to Blechnum. It reaches high altitudes 
as a smaller plant, but grows at its best at about 7000 ft in sheltered gulleys where 
it gets to be ten feet or more tall with vast, immensely stiff, bipinnate fronds arising 
from a shaggy, tree-fern like trunk up to three feet high. The lamina is thick, deep- 
green and glossy above and is markedly glaucous-white below, with linear sori running 

up the middle of each pinnule. As if this were not spectacular 
are bright pink with superb brick-red stipes. It is a truly 
everywhere, even in the frost zone - I hope it will be hardy 
There are also three other smaller endemic Sadleria species. 
Anyhow there are heaps of other ferns I could 
of ferns still to press(useful things, baths!)and 

The spores of a fern from Hawai'i 
Must have blown round the work 
When they flew over Spain 
They dropped in the rain, 



46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

Ferns can be very strange in their behaviour at times, doing the most surprising and 

unusual things, quite outside their normal character and quite mystifying to the grower. 

acceptable garden plants, but I am concerned here with other 
are not very common, either in the normal species or in varieti 
Division, much of it multiple, at both frond and pinna tips, 
pinnule tips, is common in many of our ferns and we accept this, although at times 
we wonder why ferns do it. The answer lies in some gene abnormality in the plant 
chromosomes. Many of the more unusua/changes must be the result of similar mutations; 
others result from other causes. Still on the subject of cresting, the name given to this 
kind of frond division, why should some ferns, chiefly hart's-tongues (Asplemum 
scolopendrium), develop magnif icient crests one year and be completely devoid of them 
in other years, particularly if they have been moved into gardens from the wild? How 
often have we brought home a most magnificently crested "scollie" from the wild, only 
to find it turns out to be completely normal the next year and all following years! Is 
it something to do with soil or weather conditions which stimulates or inhibits such 


Then there is the kind of behaviour occurring ii 

in their varietal development which causes p 

whole plant, to revert to the normal species form, either temporarily or permanently. 

Such plants must have a very unstable complement of genes, particularly in the case 

of highly developed kinds of variation reverting permanently to the species normal form, 

as in the case of Polystichum setiferum 'Pulcherrimum'. 

*/ere ever found in the wild, over a limited period around 

i south-west of England, 

Only 1 6 plants of this variety were ever fou 
the 1880s, all from the same part of the c 
of them by the same hunter, J Moly. They were fertile and several similar 
were produced in cultivation. They were most remarkable ferns - the lower pinnules 
on the pinnae, and sometimes the upper ones, were falcate, curled and very elongated, 
deeply and finely divided along their lengths to resemble small feathers, the tips on 
most of these were extended into long slender threads, often bearing prothalh at their 
ends (apical apospory). But one and all of them were completely unstable and very, 


Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 

very rarely did any of them ever display the varietal form throughout the whole plant 
- a frond sometimes or, more often, part of a frond, or parts of one or a few pinnae 
was all they would condescend to show. Those bred in cultivation behaved in the same 
way, and in the course of some years all of them, except one, had reverted permanently 
to normal P. setiferum, and no others have ever been found. The exception, named 
'Moly's Green Pulcherrimum', is still grown today by a few of us, but very rarely does 
it deign to show its real character although its normal fronds have a subtle difference 
in their looks which proclaims its identity to the informed grower. 

Another reverting variety is Polypodium australe 'Cornubiense', along with its progeny; 
an inherent instability appears in all of them. Its effect is to produce the occasional 
frond of normal polypody shape with the pinnae narrow and entire instead of being 
very wide and deeply divided. The appearance of these normal fronds makes a good 
identification character to distinguish this variety from the very similar 'Pulcherrimum', 
both of them fertile, and from the sterile 'Cambricum' which also looks very similar. 
(Note - don't get confused between Pulcherrimum in this species and the similarly named 
varieties in Polystichum setiferum, referred to in the previous paragraph). 
There is still another first-rate fern variety marred by instability - Athyrium filix-femina 
'Frizelliae'. The original plant, found in Ireland over 100 years ago, has passed on the 
fault to its numerous progency - an unfortunate propensity for the occasional tightly 
curled up pinna to burst out into normal growth, spoiling the symmetry of the very 
narrow fronds which look like rows of tiny curled green shells or beads up each side 

A type of variation which occurs in some ferns, chiefly Polystichum sertiferum and 
Asplenium scolopendrium, is brachiatum where, in the former species, the basal pinnae 
develop excessively and become, in the best examples, completely separate fronds. In 
the latter, the basal lobes develop in a similar way. The general effect is to give the 
fronds a deltoid appearance. Whilst this in itself is unusual behaviour in ferns, it is 
an accepted form of variation which adds much to our fern riches. But, an irregular 
form of this variation, which is not acceptable, can be, at times, induced by external 
causes, such as drought 

During the 1970s we had two successive exceedingly dry summers when constant 
watering was necessary to keep ferns alive. My ground became so dried out that, for 
some years afterwards, in some places I could dig up, literally, dust from more than 
a spit down. Being on sloping ground, the rain of the following years drained off down 
the hill before it could penetrate the dusty subsoil. In the year following the two dry 
ones I noticed some of my ferns behaving a bit strangely, but not exceptionally so, apart 
from one plant, Polystichum setiferum 'Plumosum Green'. Never before or since has 
this fern ever shown any sign of abnormality or any change from its varietal form, but 
this year it produced on some of its fronds, not from the base but randomly throughout 
their length, the odd pinna growing out to two or three times the normal length to 
become, in effect, separate small fronds. This has been my only experience of this kind 
of behaviour, but the old literature depicts many such plants as named varieties. It appears 
also in the Jones Nature Prints, the history of which appears in this issue, but such 
development cannot be regarded seriously as acceptable variation, all of it, no doubt, 
as evanescent as it was with me, induced by some temporary stimulus outside the 
plants themselves. 

We regard Dryopteris dilatata as a species of individual plants with erect rootstocks 
and tall fronds in shuttlecock formation, but it can adapt in an unusual and interesting 
way when it is growing in woodland or in other places where there is a shallow layer 
of humus over a compacted subsoil which its roots car.not penetrate. In such conditions 
it can appear as a colony of quite dwarf plants extending at times to some yards across. 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 261 

Dig up carefully a crown and it will be seen to be connected to other crowns by means 
of thin copper-coloured underground rhizomes or runners - rather like the way strawberry 
plants spread, except that the strawberry runners are not growing beneath the surface 
of the soil. This development is obviously a survival precaution on the part of the fern 
growing in difficult conditions. 
Back in the pre-war years before I knew very much about ferns I made a find which 

ravine running up the slopes of a Scottish mountain I found a very unusual plant of 
Asplenium viride. It was growing in a small recess among the wet sphagnum moss 
which draped the vertical rock face. It consisted of two crowns dangling from the "roof" 
of the recess at the end of a 1 2 inch long green stem about a sixteenth-inch in thickness. 

suspended from the end of each. In the lush humid conditions of this protected habitat 
the plant's growth must have been greatly speeded up but, even so, how many years 
would be needed to develop a stem that length? It was obviously not an extended root 
since the growth continued for a further 6 inches after the two crowns became separated. 
I have visited the ravine again more than once in the post-war years hoping to repeat 
this find but with no success. With increased knowledge of ferns I very much regretted, 
and still regret, that I did not preserve the plant in my herbarium. Without the material 
evidence it is asking a lot from my botanist friends to give me a satisfactory answer 
to this phenomenon. It would be most interesting to hear if similar finds, in this or 
any other fern species, have ever been made. 

Bulbil formation on the fronds of some fern species is quite normal, particularly on 
some of the foreign species we grow, such as Asplenium bulbiferum and Cystoptens 
bulbifera. In the British ferns it is fairly common only in some of the more developed 
varieties of Polystichum setiferum which, in a good growing year, can have their fronds 
' 3 secondary ones, with a dense growth 
r on some varieties of Athyrium filix- 

I be found, but rarely, on the upper frond surfaces of some 

..... ^jolopendrium plants. Another unusual place is on the very long and thin 
stipes of Osmunda regalis sporelings, with the addition of long fine hair roots extending 

: tiny plantlets. More unusually, they ( 

include Depauperatum in this article, although i 

i means be regarded as 

a gene abnormality. In the worst 
cases the plants seem to go berserk - the fronds are malformed, pinnae are missing 
or truncate, or otherwise deformed, and pinnules are missing, appear as fine spines, 
or are contorted into strange and ragged shapes. Such plants often appear in the wild, 
and in cultivation in spore sowings. But there are some depauperate plants which have 
not gone berserk - the irregularities are controlled and in many cases are so regular 
in their pattern that they become quite acceptable variations. I grow such a variety 
a wild find of a lady fern made very many years ago, with very simple but regular and 
acceptable deficiencies. The top basal pinnule on every pinna is missing ana rep acea 
by a fine spine and the top basal lobe on every pinnule is similarly m.ssing and replaced 
by a minute spine. The whole plant is completely regular in this way and presents a 
very beautiful and open lacey appearance. It has only once presented me with two seir- 
sown sporelings; although the parent has no trace of cresting in its make-up_ one iof 
the sporelings was cristate and the other percristate. Both are very acceptable bonuses 
and, like the parent, are very strong-growing and continue to flourish in my garden. 
Finally, we have to consider damage variation. This is induced by many causes which, 
as the name implies are the result of damage of one kind or another to fern plants. 
A common cause is the plant being dislodged from the ground and hanging on by only 
a few of its roots. Plants can be trampled on by human or animal feet, run over by 

262 Pteridologist 1 , 6 (1 989) 

vehicle wheels and, in country lanes, slashed by hedge trimmers. Crowns can be damaged 
by frost or partially rotted by excessive moisture. The result is that, in striving to continue 
alive, the plants throw up the odd new frond and where fronds have been slashed, 
secondary ones, but seem to have become so disorganised that their efforts can produce 
many unusual frond shapes, some really bizarre and very deformed. Some can even 
present the appearance of first-class varieties! Beware of these - they are a trap for 
the unwary hunter who carries the plant home, exculting in his prize, only to find that 
later fronds and the following year's ones come up in the normal species shape! 



46 Sedley Rise, Loughton, Essex IG10 1LT 

Most of our members who take an active interest in the working of our Society and 
in its literature will have come across references to the Jones Nature Prints, but know 
little or nothing about what they are. They are not alone in this lack of knowledge about 
this remarkable collection of nature-printed impressions of fern fronds. Several mysteries 
surround them, and had it not been for the writings of two men at the turn of the 
century, E J Lowe in 1895 and W H Phillips in 1905, all of us would have been equally 
ignorant. It was almost as if there was a conspiracy of silence about them, all the more 
surprising since many people were involved in the task of making them. Although there 
were only 48 subscribers willing to purchase them they must have been very well known 
among fern-men at the time of their publication over a period of five years from 1876 
to 1880. Several years ago, J A Crabbe of the British Museum (Natural History) and 
I devoted much time in an effort to solve the mystery, particularly concerning the methods 
used to produce them, but found not a scrap of information anywhere which could 
help us. 

My main source of information for this article is the then President of our Society, W 
H Phillips, who in 1 905 gave his presidential address to the Society at the Annual Meeting 
in the Lake District in the north of England. His subject was his personal reminiscences 
of his life among ferns and it was published later in the Society's Annual Report. By 
great good fortune he included the story of his involvement in the making of the Nature 
Prints, and the following sentence stands out - "The history (of the Prints) is perhaps 
not known to many of our members, and it may be read with interest by our successors". 
A far-seeing man was friend Phillips! 

In the early 1870s Phillips was invited to join the West of England Pteridological Society 
which had just been formed. Living in Ireland, too far away to attend its meetings, he 
elected not to join - a decision he regretted later. Col A M Jones was a founder member 
of this Society and possibly had something to do with the decision to publish a series 
of nature-printed fern fronds, entitled Nature-printed Impressions of the Varieties of the 
British Species of Ferns, (an impressive mouthful!), to its members at a small cost. Before 
the first of this series was issued the society ceased to exist. After only a very few 
years in existence it seems to have disappeared without trace. There is a complete 
lack of any information concerning its founding and demise. All the literature we have 
is a leaflet listing its officials and the prominent fern-men of the time who belonged 
to it. Also, all the information we have about its nature-print issue is that a set was 
in the possession of Dr Allchin, one of the well-known fern-men of the time, who showed 
this, beautifully coloured, to Phillips some time later. It was the sight of this which 
led to Phillips' regrets. 

What happened to those prints? There is a mystery here. Although, according to Lowe, 
they were not issued, we must assume that some were printed since Dr Allchin had 
a set. There is confusion because the report of Lowe in his Fern Growing, published 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 263 

in 1895 by Nimmo, London, page 173, and Phillips' version to our Society in 1905, 
do not agree. If we understand Lowe correctly, the original project was the brain-child 
of the Rev Charles Padley, begun some time before 1 876 when Col Jones, on the collapse 
of the society, took over the work from Padley and completed the task in 1880. Padley 
is said to have had an exceptional mastery of nature-printing and he entrusted the work 
of printing to Thomas Smith and "had caused him to be instructed in the best system 
of Nature Printing then in vogue". Smith developed processes never before employed 
in this kind of work and to which much of the excellence of the Prints were credited. 
(We have endeavoured - in vain - to find out anything about those processes). It was 
when Padley abandoned the project that Jones took it over after securing the services 
of Thomas Smith. Later, through pressure of business, Smith had to resign from the 
work which was then continued by Jones himself, assisted by his sister and daughters. 

the efforts of Col Jones who was possibly stimulated into action after the origir 

publication collapsed. In 1875 he invited Phillips and many other fern-r 

for a series of fern prints he planned to produce. Altogether 

cost of the production. There were many teething difficulties, among them 1 

of paper to be used and the method of reproduction. The task of printing was e 

to Thomas Smith. No mention is made by Phillips of the later. difficulties whe 

resigned and the Colonel, assisted by his family, completed 


Since Phillips, according to his report, was involved in the Jones' project from its beginning. 

i this uncertainly. But, if we 1 
t the original prints of the earlier 

a member of the defunct society and must have known an tnax was, yu.ny u... v,, «"»~« 
both men were writing many years after the events and, with advancing years - 20 
years later, their recollection of the facts would probably have got somewhat dimmed, 
leading to their differing accounts. We a 
to "marry" the two stories, it could be as 
society were not lost - possibly one series 
the society collapsed, and Jones took this over after Padley backed out, and contmued 
the project to its end in 1880. 

The first series of the Prints which were of full-sized fronds on folio paper, was published 
in May 1876, the second in March 1877, the third in December 1877^ the fourth m 
1 878, the fifth in December 1 879 and the sixth in October 1 880. 

I there were 323 sheets - (up-t 

3 added within brackets) 

1 Asplenium lanceolatum (A. billotii) 
9 Asplenium marinum 
7 Asplenium t 

50 Athyrium filix-femina 

1 8 Blechnum spicant 

3 Cystopteris fragilis 

1 Lastrea alpina (Dryopteris expansa) 

1 3 Lastrea filix-mas (D. filix-mas) 

1 2 Lastrea pseudomas (D.affinis) 

1 Lastrea propinqua (D. oreades) 

1 2 Lastrea montana (Oreopteris limbosperma) 

8 Lastrea dilatata (D. dilatata) 

1 Osmunda regalis 

22 Polypodium vulgare 
1 Polypodium phegopteris (Phegopteris connectilis) 
7 Pteris aquilina (Pteridium aquilinum) 
4 Polystichum aculeatum 

97 Polystichum angulare (Polystichum setiferum) 
48 Scolopendrium vulgare (Asplenium scolopendrium) 

red around the country, in museums, university 
some are still in private hands. Along with each 
series information sheets were published, listing the names of all the varieties depicted. 
Although it would have made much more work it would have been more satisfactory 
to have had each sheet labelled with its fern name, since some sets have become separated 
from their information sheets, making identification in many cases very difficult. I am 
the proud possessor of the set which belonged to Dr F W Stansfield; it came to me 
through his son-in-law, Percy Greenfield, my old mentor in all fern matters. This set 
was properly labelled by its first owner. 

A large number of spare sheets of the Nature Prints, numbering hundreds, were gifted 
to our Society soon after the end of the Second World War by Miss Jones, a daughter 
of Col Jones. They are lodged in the British Museum (Natural History). Several years 
ago we endeavoured to build them up into sets but discovered that none of the ferns 
depicted in them agreed with the published set. Many looked very similar to the named 
ones but in the absence of labels we could not give them definite names. I think they 
must be trial or experimental sheets used by the Jones family when learning how to 
nature-print. Many of the sheets are a series of about a dozen of the same frond and 
it is interesting to note that with each copy some of the pinnae moved progressively 
further away from the first position. 

It is a strange fact that many of those fern men, if not all, living 100 years ago, seemed 
to be lacking in aesthetic taste where ferns were concerned and one notes this very 
clearly in the Jones Nature Prints. The majority of those depicted are of beautiful shapely 
varieties, completely regular in all their parts, but quite a number are literally depauperate 
rubbish. It is most surprising that time and paper were wasted in reproducing them. 
Of course, in those days, "name" collecting was common - the object seems to have 
been to boost numbers in collections by naming every single variety found or bred, 
good or bad, which differed in any way from each other. But I would not have thought 
that Col Jones was in that category - unless he left the selection of the fronds to be 
depicted in the Prints to others who had lower standards of perfection. We associate 
the Colonel, in collaboration with Dr E F Fox, with the sensational break-through in 
Polystichum setiferum - the plumoso-divisilobums, beautiful forms of perfect and elaborate 

C T Druery included in his British Ferns and their Varieties an Appendix depict 
colour 96 of the Nature Prints. For a long time our Society has been considerir 
possibilty of publishing the Prints in a bound volume. Whether or not we shal 
be affluent enough to do so is another matter! Perhaps we should do as Col . 
did and invite subscriptions for its publication! 

Finally, I am much indebted to our Editor for his valuable help in writing this a 
His researches have added greatly to what I originally planned to write and to its in1 



Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh EH3 5LR 

Recent research at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh into the variation of Bracken 

in Britain has recently made some striking taxonomic advances. For it has become clear 

that there is not just one kind of Bracken in Britain, but at least three. These different 

Brackens are now recognised as distinctive subspecies. 

The two new Brackens, Northern Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum (L) Kuhn subsp. 

latiusculum (Und.) Desv.) and White-haired Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum(L) Kuhn subsp. 

atlanticum C.N. Page), can be easily recognised apart from common Bracken (Pteridium 

aquilinum (L) Kuhn. subsp. aquilinum) by a number of detailed features of frond 

morphology, but can most easily be first spotted in the field when their fronds are expanding 

throughout the spring and early summer. A synoptic outline of their differences, including 

those of the crozier stages, is thus given below. A fuller description of the two additional 

subspecies is currently in-press (Page, 1 989). 

Northern Bracken is especially distinctive in spring or early summer by having fronds: 

1 . which complete their expansion rapidly and very much earlier than Common Bracken 
(usually at least 2-4 weeks earlier) 

2. in which all the pinnae unroll nearly simultaneously (unlike the sequenced unrolling 
of successive pinna-pairs of Common Bracken) 

3. which have their croziers covered in a fairly dense mass of predominantly cinnamon- 
coloured hairs when unrolling, the expanding frond and pinna-tips thus appearing 
of an overall notably bronzed colour, making them distinctive and recognisable 
even at a distance, from the merely tawny croziers of Common Bracken (which 
contain a blended mix of about equally abundant red and white hairs). 
Additionally, the fully expanded fronds are relatively small and usually lower-growing 
than those of Common Bracken in the same environment. They have much thinner, 
more wiry stipes, and more leathery blades held stiffly at an angle to the stipe 
and form an especially broad-based triangle in outline. Most of the hairs are rapidly 
lost following frond expansion from all surfaces, leaving a and glabrous 
upper leaf surface and stipe. 

5 also at its most distinctive in spring or early summer by having 

which complete their expansion siov 

(by at least several weeks, and, in 

at their tips in late summer!) 

in which there is a very highly sequenced succession of pinna 

progressively up the frond (even moi 

i Common Bracken). 

i their croziers covered in < 


hairs only, making them distinctive and recognisable ev 

mixed red and white haired croziers of Common Bracken 

Additionally, the fully expanded fronds are relatively ^»M^^^ 

than those of Common Bracken in the same en 

thicker and more succulent stipes, and soft-texti 

tips, the whole frond being strongly upright and ot ovate ouinne wun ««. 

pair separately rotated into a horizontal plane ^*J£*£^^ 

white hairs are usually long-persistent, during the 

They have very much 
dropping pinna- 
each pinna- 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 

Both these two new Brackens appear to be less vigorous and less aggressive than Common 
Bracken. Each is most likely to occur either as isolated, small stands or as small patches 

Northern Bracken, as its name suggests, is likely to be mostly northerly in its range 
in Britain and possibly Ireland, although exact knowledge of its total distribution is as 
yet scanty and it could well have local enclaves even in the south. By contrast. White- 
haired Bracken is likely to be more southern and western in its overall pattern of 
distribution, but like Northern Bracken, there is, so far, little exact detail of its overall 

Herbarium information about Bracken helps only a 

localities. For Bracken, as a whole, must be the w 

and most herbarium Bracken specimens consist of 

lacking evidence of both the overall growth habit ar 

phases, which are the most helpful stages in the ready separation of the subspecies. 

Records of suspected material of either of these Brackens can best be authenticated 

by pressing a few fronds, or by taking close-up colour photographs of them, especially 

Page, C.N. 1 989. Two additi 


FERNS OF NEW ZEALAND By Susan, Martyn and Elizabeth Firth with 
photographs by Robin Morrison, 80 pp. 1986. Hodder & Stoughton, Auckland. 
ISBN 340 401 214 (limp). Price £14.95. 

This beautifully illustrated book was written by three bush-lovers who have grown all 
the 59 species portrayed and who can therefore give hints, as they do, about cultivation 
based on experience. Obviously not all New Zealand species are discussed; they are 
particularly thin on Hymenophyllaceae - species not easy to grow. They have chosen 
to team up with a professional photographer who has taken some very beautiful portraits 
of the ferns in question. In some, the blues appear enhanced, but those who photograph 
plants in deep shade will appreciate the need for fast film and also know that the blue 
end of the spectrum is dominant in wet shady forests. Some pictures make one want 
to take the next flight to New Zealand, e.g. the banks of Leptopteris superba (but it 
would have been nice to contrast it with L hymenophylloides!). Some are very explicit, 
e.g. Loxoma cunninghamii; other like Lygodium articulatum are difficult to interpret if 
one does not know the growth form and habit of this climbing fern. 
But on the whole this is a book that one would be pleased to own. It makes an ideal 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 


Many years ago, before so much was known about the many poisonous properties in 
plants, and the hidden dangers in animal food, I was heard to say that it is safest to 
treat all food as potential poison. Even the 'safest' substance may cause anything from 
a mild allergy to a severe illness in some people. It is also many years ago, when working 
on a Cornish farm, that I followed the recommended practice of placing bracken on 
the heads of horses to ward off flies, and I have seen bracken placed on fish slabs 
in Cornwall for the same purpose. The bliss of ignorance is replaced by the painful 
awareness that many unsuspected plants have deadly devices to protect themselves. 

more than one and a half million acres - and increasing - there is some cause for 
concern. Indeed, an International Bracken Group has been formed to monitor its spread 
and study methods for its control. This handsome fern can grow to two metres high 
and is a conspicuous feature of the Cornish landscape, flourishing on the light acid 
soil of cliffs and heaths as well as woodland glades: it becomes scarce in denser wood 
cover and indeed it is deforestation which has encouraged its growth. It is significant 
that very few native insects feed on it, and now two species of South African caterpillars 
are being tested in quarantine rooms of Imperial College, London. One of these is 
"incredibly voracious" and shows interest only in bracken, so hopefully it will help to 
control this fern without causing any of the problems that have been associated with 

According to Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man, a 
comprehensive book produced by MAFF in 1 984, every part of the bracken plant "contains 
toxic constituents, at least some of which remain after cutting and drying". Because 
several different poisons are present, and their concentration is somewhat variable, their 
effects cannot always be anticipated. Cattle, horses, deer and sheep are especially at 
risk in drought conditions, and many cases of poisoning were attributed to bracken in 
1976. Two cancer-inducing substances are known to be present, and grazing animals 
frequently develop tumours after feeding on bracken. Animals and humans alike can 
develop a taste for this dangerous plant, and it is eaten by people, especially in Japan, 
America and Canada. The uncurled fronds - aptly known as "fiddleheads in America 
- are favoured, and these contain high concentrations of carcinogenic agents. In Japan 
this food has now been associated with oesophageal and stomach tumours. Recent 
research shows that even the spores can be dangerous and as these can be inhaled 
or ingested, it is important that control cutting should be undertaken before the spores 
start to ripen in June: it is said that cutting twice a year can reduce growth by yb/o 

f bracken destroys 

i controlliri 

Quite apart from danger to animals a 

the diversity of many habitats, so conservationists may well f 

its spread. Chemical control has been found to be moderately effective but probably 

regular cutting in early summer, before the spores are mature, is the safest and most 

effective method. 

Life is full of hazards, even for civilised humans living in idyllic conditions in the Cornish 

countryside. Why should we expect it to be otherwise? 

(This note first appeared in The West Briton) 

268 Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 


Since 1800 there has been an enormous loss of lowland heath in North East Hampshire: 

some 88% has been lost and a quarter of that remaining is in an impoverished condition 

(Hall, 1 988) This represents a rate of loss which is substantially greater than the national 

average. It may be inferred that species which are dependent upon heathland habitat 

will also have declined severely. There is a strong body of < 

suggest that losses of wet heath and bogs has been still greater. 

One group of plants reliant on lowland heath in the South East 

Three species have been recorded from the heaths of Hart District and Rushmoor Borough. 

One of these is now extinct, a second is confined to a single site, and the third is 

much declined though still widespread. This paper reviews the historical records, then 

describes the present status of the two extant species based on observations by the 

author during the years 1 983-87. 

Huperzia selago{L) Bernh. ex Schrank & Mart. 

A species which seems never to have been common in South East England, though 

during the 19th century it was widespread in discreet colonies on North East Hampshire 

heaths. Changes in land use, drainage and general loss of lowland heath have led to 

its near extinction in Southern England. Huperzia was last seen in Surrey in 1 91 5 (Lousley, 

1 976) and in the New Forest part of Hampshire in 1 906 (Rayner, 1 929). It is not impossible 

that it survived in North Hampshire until the turn of the century, but there are no published 

records. Victorian botanists seeking heathland specialities usually visited known New 

Forest localities, leaving the North East of the county poorly explored. 

In the middle of the 1 9th century Huperzia selago grew in two parts of the region on 

Eversley Upper Common and on the heaths west of Aldershot. All records date from 

1840-70, though one account (Kingsley, 1918) hints that the species persisted until 

There are several references to the Farnborough or Aldershot area (Broomfield, 1850; 
Townsend, 1883), all probably indicating the same places. Broomfield gives two sites: 
"heaths near Aldershot; near Caesar's Camp", both in c.1845. Watson, quoted by 
Townsend, states "near Farnborough", but as he was in the habit of walking as far 
as Fleet and Aldershot his record is possibly one of Broomfield's sites. It can be dated 
only approximately, to the early 1860s, a time when there were numerous low lying 
wet heaths in the district. One other locality is given by Broomfield, with some precision: 
"drawing a line NNW of Caesar's Camp, by the canal", where the plants were "very 
fine". This he regarded as the best site. The location must have been in Gelvert Bottom, 
probably on Pondtail Heath or Pyestock Common (sometimes called Fleet Heath), in 
kilometre square SU 82.53. 

To the north of the region was another group of records. R. S. Hill of Basingstoke collected 
plants on Hazeley Heath in 1863 (Townsend, 1883). The central or southern part of 
the Heath, to the east of the Reading road, would seem the more probable location. 
Across the valley of the River Hart is Eversley Upper Common (nowadays called Bramshill 
Forest by the Forestry Commission, or erroneously Warren Heath by Ordnance Survey). 
Here, in about 1870, Rose Kingsley was finding, "In the bogs ... here and there the 
rarer Fir Clubmoss" (Kingsley, 1918). Clearly she knew it from more than one place. 
At the time the bogs were extensive: "Each spring h 
f these \ 

of the increasing colonisation by fir trees (sic) and man's demand for water. There were 
four main areas of bog: Castle Bottom, Birch Bottom, Bracknell's Bottom and Warren 
Heath Bottom. Only the first of these survives today as bog; the others were drained 
and Eversley Upper Common has long been a conifer forest. 

Aldershot Common, c.1845; possibly same area, c 1 860 (84.50); Caesar's Camp, c.1845 
(83.50.); Gelvert Bottom, c.1845, "very fine" (82.53.); Hazeley Heath, 1863(75.58.); bogs 
on Eversley Upper Common, c.1 870 (78.58.; 78.60.). Now extinct. (Suggested km. squares 
for the localities are given in brackets). 

actually fewer records for Stagshorn Clubmoss, though 

by Caesar's Camp in c.1845 (Broomfield, 1850), but there are not later records, though 
suitable habitat still exists. R. S. Hill collected it somewhere near Fleet Pond and apparently 
knew it there from 1862-70 (Townsend, 1883), but there is little heath in the vicinity 

Rose Kingsley knew L clavatum from two places near Eversley in about 1870, until 
1909. She records. "It grew freely above the old sandpit on the way up to Bramshill 
Park, and clothed the line of ruts among the heather of the ancient pack horse way 
on the Flats with its long trails as well grown as any that ever came from Scotland. 
In vain I have sought for a plant in either place since the great fires of 1909". It was 
evidently common enough to delight young children, who would "gather it when the 
antlers were ripe and full of powder, then they would make sham lightning by shaking 
the yellow dust into a lighted candle". 

"The Flats" would be Hartfordbridge Flats, at the south east extremity of Eversley Upper 
Common; the ancient trackway is almost certainly the Welsh Drive. The area indicated 
is likely to be what is now Blackbushe Airfield. The sandpit which identifies the other 
site is not marked on any old map which I have consulted. However, it was by the 
track which led up over the Common from Eversley Rectory to Park. This 
still exists, though since 1920 the Common has been coniferised, felled, dug for gravel 
and replanted. 

After apparently being present for about 40 years. 

7 was certainly not seen 

_."soon after" conifer planting began. Gravel quarrying took place around 

1970, followed by replanting in 1974 (Forestry Commission information). As a part of 
the restoration a pond was created on the high ground above Bramshill Pa^ It is 
the old track which Rose Kingsley must have walked. By 1 985 the new pond had developed 
a remarkable flora. The banks are red with thousands of Drosera rotundifolia each summer. 
Myriophyllum alterniflorum and Pilularia globulifera are plentiful. Beside e 

drains into the pond are Hydrocotyle vulgaris, 

Carex binervis, Oreopteris limbosperma. 

Osmunda regalis, Lycopodiella inundata ... and Lycopodium clavatum. 
The L clavatum was discovered on 2nd December, 198E 
plants growing on gravel beneath birch scrub on the bank 
persisted, a group of ten or so plants and one outlier. On a 
there were twelve plants, but in a 

noticed about 

, in March, 1988, 
jme across another 15 growing a little 
pond, also under birch scrub, but some 

amongst Toly^Zh u rn^corn m une a\mosX at the water's edge. These plants may well have 

been present in 1 985 as I did not search the pond banks for more. 

The Eversley Common plants may be the only L clavatum in VC 12 now (A colony 

in Chawton Park Wood near Alton was reported in 1973 {Watsoma, 1977); I am not 

270 Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 

aware of it being confirmed recently). It is remarkable that the species should reappear 
after an apparent absence of some 75 years so close to where Rose Kingsley knew 
it, and after such upheaval and changes to the Common. However, in all probability 
no botanist visited the area for many years after the conifer planting; Lycopodium may 
have thrived unobserved (perhaps as a result of dormant spores disturbed during the 
planting in the 1920s?). 

Caesar's Camp, c.1845 (83.50); near Fleet Pond, 1862-70 (82.55.); Hartfordbridge Flats, 

c. 1 870- 1 909 (80.58); Eversley Upper common, c. 1 870-1 909 (76.59.) refound 1 985, 1 987, 


Lycopodieila inundata (L) Holub 

Townsend (1904) was able to describe this species as "rather common", though he 

only listed four sites on the North East Hampshire heathlands. This is a plant of bare 

peat on wet heathland, a habitat which was formerly locally plentiful in the region. 

It is not improbable that Lycopodieila was widespread and relatively common in suitable 

Kingsley (1918) reported it from the bogs of Eversley Common, where she regarded 
it as common. Perhaps it formerly grew in association with all of the main areas of 
bog. (She actually gives the name "Common club moss Lycopodium selaginoides", an 
obvious error of nomenclature.) Her article recalled the 1870s, but in it she made no 
comment about disappearance after the 1 909 heath fires. It is likely she knew the species 
at Eversley for 40 years. There is also a record from Hazeley Heath by Miss Palmer 
for 1886 (Townsend, 1904). In the herbarium at Reading University there are plants 
collected by Monckton in 1921, labelled "Hardfordbridge Flats, Yateley". It has not been 
seen either here or at Hazeley recently. 

One of Townsend's localities which is still extant is Hawley Common. He cites "NE 
margin of Hawley Pond, 1879". Monckton collected it on Hawley Common in 1921 
(Herb. Reading) and there is a further record from near Hawley Lake in 1955 (Lady 
Anne Brewis, personal communication). There are still several colonies on Hawley 

by Caesar's Camp, c.1845 (Broomfield, 1850) and i 
site), reported by Tate (Townsend, 1 883). Dr. Tate's i 
72, but records are not ascribed to any particular year. 

Lycopodieila inundata: Modern Records 

In July 1 983, I was told, somewhat frivolously, to look out for Lycopodieila on the heaths 
at Fleet. Not, at that time, appreciating the rarity of the species, I did not take the remark 
as at all improbable, and within the week had found a hundred plants at Crookham. 
More colonies quickly followed: near Caesar's Camp, another at Crookham and several 
at Hawley. These and subsequ 

1 850. Flora Hantoniensis, Phytologist IV, | 
nMi_L, v-. i »oe. A Survey of Heathland in North East h 

Council, South Region 
KINGSLEY, ROSE 1918. The Flora of Eversley and Bramshill Fifty Years Ago, Proceedings ( 

Hampshire Field Club, Vol. 8, p.132 
LOUSLEY, J.E 1976. Flora of Surrey, David and Charles 
RAYNER, J.F. 1929. Supplement to Townsends Flora of Hampshire 
TOWNSEND, F. 1 883, 1 904. Flora ' 

Pteridologist 1,6 (1989) 271 

The Fern Gazette 

Because the Fern Gazette is a journal specialising in the scientific aspects of pteridology 
quite a few gardening members of the BPS have, quite understandably, opted not to 

Abstract of 1 988 Fern Gazette 
Main articles: 

A chromosome count from Azolla filiculoides by You-Xing Lin and Anne Sleep. 

Cytological and anatomical observations on Tmesipteris species from New Caledonia 

byA.F. Braithwaite. 

Shoot temperature measurements of montane Cyathea species in Papua New Guinea 

by M.J. Earnshaw, T.C. Gunn & J.R. Croft. 

A very interesting article drawing attention to night temperatures experienced by montane 

tree-ferns (Cyathea gleichenioides & C.atrox) at altitudes of 3500 metres above sea level 

in Papua New Guinea. Apparently overnight sub-zero temperatures occur occasionally 

within the tissue of the croziers and fronds; however, the apical growing point at the 

trunk apex is protected by leaf bases etc. and rarely, if ever, falls below freezing. The 

lowest ground temperature recorded was -9.1°C (15.6.°F). Tree-ferns occur up to 3800 

clear evidence that these Papua New Guinea species of tree-fern (and others) are relatively 
cold tolerant and well worth trying out-of-doors in sheltered areas of Britain. 
Pteridophytes of Zarate, a forest on the western side of the Peruvian Andes by Blanca 
Leon & Niels Valencia. 

i survey Pteridium aquilinum mycorrhiz 

> & E. Sheffield. 

Adaptive strategies of Marsilea in the Lake Chad basin of N.E. Nigeria by Jan Kornas. 

Shorter notes: 

Dryoptehs villarii a new high mountain species in the Carpathians by Hahna Piekos- 

Mirkowa & Zbigniew Mirek. 

The range of this species is extended into the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe. 

Lygodium japonicum in Singapore by Y.C. Wee & L.L. Chua. 

Dryopteris x gomerica new for Europe by R. Viane. 

Dryopteris x gomerica (D.aemula x D.guanchica) has been recorded from Northern Spain 

- the first record for Europe. Characteristics of the hybrid and both parents are g.ven. 


Liebmanns Mexican Ferns by J.T. Mickel. 
Ferns of Malaysia in colour by A.G. Piggott. 

272 Pteridologist 1 , 6 (1 989) 


In the past many varieties of Mountain Fern (Oreopteris limbospermafhave been described. 
A glance through British Ferns by E.J. Lowe (1891) reveals that he recognised 77 types. 
It is clear that a lot of these were of little garden value but there is no doubt that 
there were also many gems on this list. I suspect, however, that they were never widely 
circulated among growers; even Lowe had seen only half of these plants. Birkenhead's 
catalogue, about 1888, reveals only one variety on offer, viz 'Cristata', while Stansfield's 
catalogue of about 1900-1910 (reprinted by the BPS in 1979) includes 10 varieties - 
and all were rather expensive. Perhaps Stansfield's prices put buyers off, or maybe 
the plants went to the wrong gardens where they could not survive without special 
attention? Either way, it is particularly galling to think that as late as 1910 such first 
class varieties of O.limbosperma as 'Angustifrons', 'Barnesii', 'Congesta', 'Coronans', 
'Cristata', 'Cristata-gracilis', 'Grandiceps' and 'Ramo-coronans' were available 
commercially. Today original clones of all have been lost - or if you know different, 
please let me know! 
Of course in recent years we have kept an eye open for varieties of Mountain Fern 

fern species; such habitats do not get searched very frequently, perhaps they should! 
Looking back to Lowe's list of 77 varieties, only 4 were raised, while over 70 were 
wild finds - there is a moral here somewhere! 

Anyway, the cupboard is not completely bare. A few varieties have been found lately. 
Those known to me are:- 

1. Angustifrons type. A narrow leaved form with a tapering, caudate tip to the frond 
(see Fig 1). I found this as a young plant by the side of a forestry ride in the Radnor 
Forest in Powys in 1985. It is presumably similar to the original 'Angustifrons 
Wollaston' found by G. Whitwell in Patterdale many years ago. 

2. Cristata-gracilis type. Pinnules confluent, frond apex and pinnae minutely crested 
(see Fig 2). The tips of many upper pinnae are gently curved towards the tip of 
the frond, reminiscent of Dryopteris filix-mas 'Martindale'. I found this, again as 
a young plant by a forestry ride, in the aptly named Fernworthy Forest on Dartmoor 
in Devon in 1978. Druery found his famous 'Cristata-gracilis Druery' at Sticklepath 
in 1888 only about 6 miles away - I sometimes wonder if my plant shares some 
ot the same blood! I have been unable to find an illustration of Druery's plant to 

3. Revolvens type. Pinnae concave, with all edges turned down, otherwise normal (see 
Fig 3). Not a great find but nevertheless quite eye-catchingly different among a 
large stand of normal Mountain Ferns. I found this on the BPS Meeting at Brampton 
in the Eastern Lake District in 1984. Its discovery was not greeted with much 
enthusiasm, then or since, but I like it! W.H. Phillips found a 'Revolvens' at Newcastle, 
County Down, probably a better form than the one depicted here. 

4. Cristata type. Recently found as a young plant in West Scotland in 1 987 by Anthony 
Pigott. The plant was apparently heavily crested on all terminals but it is sadly not 
in cultivation, nor does a herbarium specimen exist. 

5. Crispata type. The finding of this plant by John Barnett was reported in the Bulletin 
in 1980, p 78. I have not seen a plant but it is perhaps similar to 'Crispata Jones' 
found on Clougha Fell in Lancashire many years ago. 

6. Dwarf form. Found near Ludlow in 1 985, apparently constant after 3 s 

1,6(1989) 273 

For the record, types 1, 2, 3 & 6 plus, of course, the normal species, make up the 
Oreopteris limbosperma part of the NCCPG (National Council for the Conservation of 
Plants and Gardens) National Collection of Thelypteroid' ferns (also includes 
Gymnocarpium, Thelypteris, Phegopteris etc.). I hope one day that it will be possible 
to distribute these clones more widely and also that new forms will be added to the 
collection. I certainly intend to keep hunting, I hope others will too! 

274 Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 


Christopher N. Page. Pp. 430, 21 colour photographs and over 1 60 photographs 
and diagrams in black and white. Collins, London in the New Naturalist series. 
1 988. ISBN 00021 9382 5. (limpback edition), 00021 9383 3 (hardback edition). 
Price £10.95 (limpback). 

At last, after a wait of 40 plus years, a volume on ferns has been added to the New 
Naturalist library. While the wait has been inordinately long, it is tempting to say it 
has been worth it! Although, in the preface, Dr Page apologies to those who have passed- 
on waiting! This book is, of course, an ecological survey of the ferns of these islands. 
It is in the best traditions of the series and I doubt if anyone could be better qualified 
to tackle this subject than Dr Chris Page. Certainly, I found the book very readable and 

Unlike other fern books the format is not a systematic list of entries on each of our 
native British pteridophytes. Instead, the book works through all the fern-rich habitats 
of these islands discussing them one by one in great detail, explaining interactions between 
species and, where appropriate, including hybrids and associated flowering plants. I 
particularly liked the section on man-made landscapes - it is fascinating to contemplate 
how rare many of our ferns would be without banks, walls, railways, canals and even 
castles. Dr Page points out that Polypodium australe is nowhere so frequent as on our 

In a book of this scope there are many points which invite comment. First of all the 
nomenclature will not be accepted by all. I applaud the continued use of Polypodium 
australe (instead of the hopelessly misleading P. cambricum) and also the continued 
inference that Cystopteris dickieana is really confined to the Scottish east coast. However, 
I suspect there will be hotter comment on the names given to the subspecies of Dryopteris 
affinis. Perhaps this book went to press before the subspecific name stillupensis was 
sunk in favour of cambrensis, and the hybrid D. X tavelii sunk in favour of D. X complexa, 
but this cannot be the reason for including subsp. robusta. For quite a while now this 
taxon has been reduced to varietal status within D. affinis subsp. borreri (see Jesson, 
1985 Brit. Fern Gaz: 13, 1). Overall, I think the coverage given here to" this complex 
species is perhaps a little out-of-date and therefore best treated with caution. 
Two new hybrid horsetails included here will be new to most readers; these are Equisetum 
X bowmanii (E. telmateia X E. sylvaticum) and E. mildeanum (E. pratenseXE. sylvaticum). 
I think all the other taxa included have been documented in other recent books e.g. 
The Ferns of Britain and Ireland, Page (1982), and The BM Fern crib, Camus & Jermy 

Some statements have surprised me, e.g. Dryopteris submontana is described as endemic, 
yet similar tetraploids are recorded from southern Europe. Is Dr Page suggesting our 
plant is different from continental material? Also, is the occurrence of Adiantum capillus- 
veneris in Cardigan Bay a misprint? Finally, the founding of our Society is given as 
1 892 - the year, of course, was 1 891 . 
Throughout the book Dr Page allows himself to conjecture freely. This adds greatly to 

to see Woodsia ilvensis described as a pine-wood plant but on reflection I can see some 
logic in this. Certainly, in what I believe is its only station in France it is on a rock 
outcrop shaded by conifers. 

The clarity of all the illustrations is very good. They include habitat studies and close- 
ups of most of our British species. The black and white photographs could have been 

r quality paper, but the colour plates are excellent. 

I brought out above, all round I think this 
a very valuable addition to our library of books on British pteridophytes. At £10.95 
it is almost unbelievably realistically priced! Every home should have one! 


THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT by Christopher R. Eraser- Jenkins. Pp. 154, 79 
black and white photographs. Botany series, 18, 5 in the Bulletin of the British 
Museum (Natural History). 1988. Price £30. ISBN 565 08023 7. 
Over the last ten or so years Christopher Fraser-Jenkins has been publishing a formidable 
stock of reference works on the genus Dryopteris. Several of these have appeared in 
the Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) but this is by far the most 
comprehensive account to date. It is a complete monograph recognising 57 species of 
Dryopteris from the Indian subcontinent. Seven new species are described, i.e. Dryopteris 
austro-indica, D. caroli-hopei, D. darjeelingensis, D. himachalensis, D. khullam, D. 
madrasensis and D. sledgei together with eight new hybrids. Inevitably in a work like 
t mercifully only seven! 

j classification outlined in Fraser- 

The species are arranged in sections according 1 

i information is given. Each 
synonymous names, full description, cytology (where known), ecology 
distribution worldwide and in the Indian subcontinent, as supported by herbarium 
i photograph of at least two pinnae from a mature frond 
complete the account of each taxon. 

The uses of this book are many but to the fern grower the greatest value will be attached 
to the illustrations, the comprehensive notes on each species and, particularly, the altitude 
range - and hence hardiness Of the 57 species of Dryopteris included, 27 occur naturally 
at 2700 metres or higher (up to 5000 metres in the case of D. serrato-dentata) and 
therefore are almost certainly hardy. Most of these are additional to the list given in 
Rush (1984) and several appear to be handsome species likely to make good garden 
plants, e.g. D. pulcherrima and especially D. sikkimensis. Of course, it is highly likely 
that many species only recorded at altitudes lower than 2700 metres will also prove 
hardy. There is clearly much room for experimentation here! 

i summary, this is a mammoth work completed to 
nd no doubt the Editors, are to be congratulated < 
is expensive but reasonably priced in view of th 

t £30 

FRASER-JENKINS, C.R. 1986. A classification of the genus Dryopteris, Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. is. 

<Bot.)-\4(3). , . 

RUSH, R. 1984. A Guide to Hardy Ferns, British Ptendological Society, London. 


RANGES by Paul Gullan & Neville Walsh, illustrated by Anita p <*^"™- 
Pp. 102, 1986. Dept. of Conservation, Forest & Lands, Melbourne. ISBN O u*i 
5947 9. Price A$8.95 + $4.35 p & p (c. £6.00). 

This little book has just reached us and is certainly worth to the attention 
of members. The first 20 pages contain interesting notes about the natural- vegeta .on 
communities and habitats of ferns in this attractive hilly country ,n SE Austral*. w.t .n 
a day's excurs.on of Melbourne. The rest of the book is of some 54 sp P . 

i illustrated key to these species. Each description 
wings and for each species there are two maps; 
i State of Victoria; the other a more detailed one 



Museums Officer and Curator, 

Museum of North Devon, The Square, Barnstaple, Devon EX32 8LN 

I importance but one will be unique in the manner 

i exist between natural science, garden 

i decorative arts, and include a living element that is unusual 

It is FERNS as plants for scientific study and cultivation and as subjects of fashion and 
displays and include both herbarium and fernery. 

Objectives of the Museum relating to Ferns argue that Ferns, Pteridology and the history 
of Pteridomania should receive special attention because of:- 

(a) the significance of ferns as a conspicuous element of the natural history of northern 

(b) the importance of the Fern Herbaria (collections of pressed ferns) already in the 

(c) the importance of Fern Fossils in the collections; 

(d) the significance of pteridophytes in the geological history of Devon where Devonian, 
Carboniferous, Jurassic and Tertiary rocks yield fern and other pteridophyte remains; 

(e) the special role that Devon played as a focus for Pteridomania in Victorian times 
(an aspect of the social history of Devon); 

(f) the involvement of several notable North Devon personalities with Pteridomania; 

(g) the presence of specialist collectors and fern nurseries in northern Devon in Victorian 

Devon origin of numerous fern cultivars recognized in Victorian times. 

i building (see photograph opp. p.278) was vacated by the libraries in 
April 1988 and purchased by North Devon District Council. The building is now called 
the Museum of North Devon and is undergoing the first phase of conversion during 
the period January to May 1989. The work is being funded by North Devon District 
Council, Museums and Galleries Commission and the Area Museum Council for the 
South West. The first phase will cost about £1 80,000 (in addition to the cost of purchase). 
Ferns, Pteridology and Pteridomania will be served in a number of ways to cater for 
every type of visitor whether he or she has a particular specialist interest in ferns, the 
decorative arts or garden history - or a complete lack of awareness of ferns prior to 
visiting the museum:- 

Jologist 1.6(1989) 277 

This will house an unheated fernery that will form part of the main circulation 

of the Ground Floor and hold a collection of British fern species, cultivars and 

hybrids planted in fern beds and rock-work with special facilities for those species 

requiring constantly high humidity. 

Plans for the Fernery have been approved by the Council and the doors to and 

from it will be provided in the first phase. However the main work on it will probably 

commence in autumn 1989 to enable it to open in spring/early summer 1990. 

It will cover approximately 1 00 square yards but have a larger planting area because 

soil and rockwork will rise up the solid re-inforced sides of the conservatory and 

within it to a height of about 9 ft. The cost will be approximately £50,000. 

The Fernery will not only allow people to see British ferns at close-quarters (even 

play a part in preserving old varieties (including those, but not exclusively those, 

first collected or raised in Devon); 

Displays on the Natural History of Ferns 

The Fernery will be linked to displays, within the main building, explaining the 

biology and ecology of ferns; 

Displays on the Social History of Ferns 

These displays will consider the relationship of man with ferns including myths, 

magic and pteridomania. 

A fairly large collection of ferny artefacts will be displayed in the first phase with 

has been possible to build up a sizeable collection of Victorian objects employing 
jrns as the dominant motif. The objects range from chairs to tea-pots and utilize 
materials including glass, pottery, cast-iron, silver, silver-plate, wood, paper, papier- 
lache, stone, jet (see Brooch phot. opp. p.278), lace and other textiles, 
is the intention that this will ultimately form, in effect, a 'National Collection 
f Pteridomania'. 

Displays on the Geological History of Pteridophytes and 
Fern Fossils 

The displays will include fern fossils in their various guises b 
microscopic, describe the place of ferns in the history of plant evol 
commercial significance as contributors to coal and in the dating ol 
will be a reference collection of fossil material in addition to the displays 

i macroscopic and 

rocks. There 

aside to house the pressed plant collections and some 
ects eggs, shells, coins and other material stored in cabinets 
n permanent display. It will therefore be possible for bona 
/ material under discrete supervision. 
The herbaria originally donated to the Barnstaple Literary and Scientific Institution 
or North Devon Athenaeum were placed in the care of North Devon Museums 
Service in April 1988. The Fern Herbaria comprise several thousand herbarium 
sheets some bound together and some loose, including British, European and 
non-European material originating from many of the most significant amateur and 
professional scientists of last century. They date predominantly from between oou 
and 1 880 with just a few from early this century. A detailed account of the collect.ons 
is in preparation. 

These herbaria are of considerable historic importance and provide, i 
the only evidence for the former occurrence of particular species in ce 


Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 

there is a need for a modern herbarium collection of ferns. This new 
has been started and will be developed by collecting fresh material in 
d further afield with special emphasis upon variation within British species, 
md garden cultivars. Microscope slide material will be prepared in 
s to supplement the pressed fronds. Fresh material will not be 
collected from species at risk (which are in any case well represented in the historic 
collections). Old collections of pressed ferns will still be acquired whenever possible, 
particularly if they contain Devon specimens. 

Some albums of ferns have great social history interest which may outweigh their 
scientific value (e.g. nineteenth century albums of artistically arranged New Zealand 
Ferns acquired recently - the Victorian version of a "coffee-table" book"). 

North Devon Museums Service will be involved with biological and envir 
recording of several types. Ferns and other pteridophytes will be one of the groups 
concentrated upon with emphasis on certain key habitats and localities as well 
as mapping of the distribution of taxa. Records will be linked to specimens collected 
for the herbarium and, on some occasions, if appropriate, to living material collected 
for display in the Fernery where changes in habit or morphology under cultivation 
maybe studied. 

The database will also include information on people associated with ferns, old 
fern collections, old fern nurseries and so on (particularly relating to Devon but 
not exclusively so). 
Records relating to rare specie 
if it is thought necessary or \ 

A good start has been made in building up a first class specialist collection of 
books and other printed material relating to ferns embracing technical monographs 
and popular works on taxonomy, ecology and cultivation back to Bolton 1785. The 
collection already amounts to several dozen items. 

Strangely enough, the North Devon Athenaeum had only Lowe's British Ferns 
and a volume of Jones' Nature Prints of Ferns (part of the set). Unfortunately 
these were sent (with a large number of fine illustrated antiquarian books) to auction 
at Phillips in London in 1988 as surplus to the requirements of the Rock Trust. 
The Museums Officer had to bid in open auction to "save" Jones' Nature Prints 

I Publication on Devon Ferns 

jseums Officer is not only gathering information and material fc 
-nuseum but also for a well-illustrated book on "Devon Ferns - 
:ial history" which will complement the displays and Fernery. 

It should not be thought that the Museum of North Devon will be a museum d 


to Ferns. That is very far from the truth but when the planned developments de; 


here come to fruition there will be no other museum in the country that will t 

,e able 

to reflect such a range of aspects of the study of ferns and their social histo 

ry and 

give people the opportunity not only to learn about them but enjoy them. 

Pteridologist 1,6(1989) 

jilding, Barnstaple 

1 895 - now the Museum of North Devc 

lan Jet Fern Brooch c 1840, 5cm x 

f North Devon (Photograph by Peter Boyd) 

(Photograph by Chi 

Pteridologist 1,6 (1989) 


Osmunda regalis, past and present 

e I last reconnoitered i 

Whilst looking up f 

to see a small colony of Osmunda regalis sporelings growing ( 

of the rock facing. On further inspection there was no doubt t 

regalis, growing in little more than half decomposed rock. To m 

only a few O. regalis plants growing in the area and these are about a mile away inland 

as the crow flies. Wind is unlikely to carry spores to the cliff area which is, of course, 

facing the sea and open to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean; sea gulls would appear 

to be the most probable means of spore transport. I cannot imagine a long life for the 

Osmunda sporelings in their present home - I must return in due course to observe 

I remember as a young fern enthusiast during the twenties in the Gweek district, walking 
through quite large areas of O. regalis, growing in boggy, undrained soil under light 
tree cover; on a recent visit I saw no signs of the fern, doubtless due to drainage and 
other modern cultivations. I do not believe Osmunda regalis was ever removed on a 
large scale for commercial sale reasons in Cornwall, as was Adiantum capillus-venens. 
Memory also brings back wonderful specimens of O. regalis growing along-side a wide 
stream running down to the sea behind Kennack Sands on the Lizard peninsula. Kennack 
Sands is now a well-known holiday resort with a caravan park behind the sands - time 
marches on! 


(For a reminder of O. regalis as a garden plant see photograph opposite. Ed.) 

The Centenary Fund 

The Society is taking advantage of the coming Centenary to launch an appeal for 

new fund - The Centenary Fund. Money from this fund will be used to promo te th 

study of all aspects of pteridophytes: horticultural, scientifc e d ucat,ona ■ whe^heM h 

by amateurs, students or professional pteridologists. As such is use will be much 

and more flexible than the other fund - The Greenfield Fund. Naturally, ne.ther of thes 

funds will be used for the general running costs of the Society. 

Application for support will be invited from the Centenary year onwards and detail 

of how to do this will be published near that time. 

We have received a substantial donation to start the I 

dig deep in your pockets for a donation. However larc 

all will help to establish the viability of this Fund and ensure its succe„ ... u-u. ^ y 

our interest in the subject. 

There ,s an insert in this issue of the Pteridologist which will enable you to make your 

donation to our Treasurer with relative ease. 

BARRY A. THOMAS, President 

280 Pteridologist 1,6 (1989) 


In Volume 1, Part 3 of the Pteridologist I reported on the appearance of a population 
of crested Adiantum pedatum. Since then I've had notes and comments from many 
BPS members around the world wondering what has happened with this extraordinary 
strain which Jimmy Dyce and I dubbed Adiantum pedatum Tasselatum'. 
My initial reaction to the cresting was that we had somehow received spore contamination 
from some tropical crested Maidenhair. But such contamination was a mystery in itself 
as we do not even grow any tropical ferns nor do we handle the spore of such. Then 
after two winters, albeit mild ones, when the number of plants went from over fifty 
to less then ten, it seemed most likely that somehow this tasselled Five-Finger Maidenhair 
must have tropical parentage mixed with its cold hardy genes. 

Luckily, throwing out the deceased crowns was not the last possible avenue of inquiry 
left to pursue. The purchase of a wild collected plant of Adiantum pedatum subsp. 
aleuticum from an Oregon nurseryman gave me a new direction to pursue when it 
produced a few crested fronds this summer. The plant was bought in June of 1987 
and did not exhibit any abnormalties during that season's growth. We had had a specimen 
of A. pedatum subsp. aleuticum collected in Eastern Washington sitting with our Western 
Washington spore stock. In a greenhouse environment with controlled feeding and 
watering the A. pedatum subsp. aleuticum lost its characteristic strongly ascending fronds 
of obliquely angled pinnules. When the spore is harvested, fronds are cut from all the 
stock plants and mixed together. This is a possible explanation for a parentage of A. 
pedatum subsp. aleuticum although that particular specimen had not exhibited any 
cresting tendencies to my knowledge. 

Given this new lead as to the possible lineage behind A. pedatum 'Tasselatum' I began 
to look closely at the few remaining plants we had left. Considering the unique proclivity 
of A. pedatum subsp. aleuticum for an exposed situation on high magnesium, low calcium 
soils derived from ultramafic rock (that is peridotite, dunite, and serpentine), being plunked 
into peat laced with nutritional "goodies" and nestled into a shaded greenhouse was 
not the sort of pampered life that suited this rugged mountain inhabitant. 
The Oregon plant of A. pedatum subsp. aleuticum is in an open sunny position at the 
top of a lava waterfall with its "toes" tucked under an adjacent piece of lava. Although 
no ultramafic rubble has been added to the surrounding soil this specimen is flourishing 
and steadily increasing in girth. I suspect that if our remaining A. pedatum Tasselatum' 
are to flourish we need to expose them to more light and replant them in a mix laced 

Although spore was sown of the A. pedatum Tasselatum' in late 1986 and 1987 none 
of the spore flats (trays) had produced any crested plants until this year, but now I 
see that of the almost two dozen plants one has a crest. It seems that it takes at least 
two years for the sporelings to mature enough to exhibit crested tendencies. 
We have selected another Adiantum pedatum strain not for its radical departure from 
the norm but for its greater reliability as a commercial product. In the process of sowing 
and growing two to four thousand A. pedatum subsp. subpumilum per year we have 
experienced a 1% reversion rate. The great attraction of these throwbacks to normal 
is that the stipes tend to be sturdier and produce a greater quantity of fronds. We are 
in our second season of offering this robust "frondiferous" strain to our customers, 
; who require uniform fully developed 

We used to pick our spore from a small selection of varied Western Washington Five- 
Finger Maidenhair. Not surprisingly, the progeny were varied along the normal speciation 
lines, from tight fully billowed specimens through to tall scraggly ones which became 
hopelessly entangled in close nursery growing conditions. It is obvious that the more 
fronds a fern has the greater its appeal to the customer. The further advantage of the 
thicker stipes also means that we have less breakage when pulling stock for sale and 
therefore less time and space wasted on recuperating damaged stock in space needed 
for growing on. 

I realize that part of the fun of being a hobby grower is to experiment with highly variable 
species and to take the time to grow on those which seem the most exciting. But in 
nursery situation a high degree of variability can spell financial loss. So 
pleased with the low degree of variability from spore that our reverted 
t/vn after three years of successive sowing, growing, and selling. 

A crested form of Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans (see Fig.1) 

Of the fifteen species and subspecies of Polystichum listed for the continental United 
States and Alaska fourteen are located in the western region. Ten of these are found 
in the Pacific Northwest, which includes Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and 
Southern British Columbia in Canada. One of these species is a dominant coastal feature 
of overwhelming abundance leaving the remainder ranging from frequent to exceedingly 
rare occurence in localized areas. One can have thoughts of blase indifference to those 
which are thoroughly underfoot, as is the case of Polystichum munitum, to covetous 
cravings for the elusive and sublime alpine treasure Polystichum kruckebergii. 
Extreme and distinctive variation, even among the massive populations of Polystichum 

of a crested Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans. Boyd Kline and Jerry Cobb Colley 
of Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery in Medford, Oregon found a mature crested plant near 
the headwaters of Footes Creek in south-western Oregon. They had been asked by the 
owner of the property to go in to rescue a population of Cypripedium montanum as 
the area was due to be sprayed with defoliant by the lumber company in preparation 
for logging. Boyd spotted the fern down in a dark ravine under a heavy canopy of pine. 

other Polystichum populations. When first collected it was almost 

and due to the shady situation did not exhibit strong P. imbricans c 

garden situation with bright indirect sun it became apparent that this find was that 
of the less abundant P. imbricans rather than P. munitum. 

Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans occurs from southern British Columbia to 
Southern California, mostly along the Sierra-Cascade mountain range axis in rather dry 
rocky woods. It is a medium sized fern rarely exceeding 1 5 inches in height by 4 inches 
in width. The linear-lanceolate fronds are narrowed further as the pinnae fold inward 
and twist horitzontally in a unique non-planar venetian-blind fashion. The greatest width 
is at the centre as the frond is almost truncate at the base while the acuminate apex 
evenly tapers off. When pressed flat the pinnae are generally imbricate or 

f the original find about four years ago. 

small, about 4-5 inches, and produced 

I was fortunate enough to receive a division c 

The first two years I had it it remained quite 

less than half a dozen fronds per season. The next two years it was 1 

outcropping on the southeasterly side of an e 

spore the last two years and despite a few 

than enough fronds to make it a valued addition to the alpine s 

t has produced 

V crested form of Polystichum imbricans subsp. 

The fronds range in height from 6-10 inches and in width from V/ 2 to 2 1 / 2 inches. The 
pinnae margins are pungently spinulose and when viewed horizontally with a hand lens 
curve upward from the pinnae surface. There is a decidedly pronounced rigid spine 
on the upper pinnae auricle. The pinnae tips are neatly flaired and pleated fan fashion. 
Towards the upper third of the frond the rachis begins to fasciate in preparation for 
the twisting, transversely crossed multiple cristulate terminals. I find the whole plant 
one cf symmetrical restrained elegance despite one local grower's slur about "that hideous 
crested Polystichum imbricans from Siskiyou (Rare Plant Nursery)". 

I don't know if this crested form will prove as elusive from spore as its parent but I 
intend to keep trying even though last year's spore culture met with a fungicide overdose. 
There is always this year to begin again, and to hedge my bets I have two spore packets 
ready for Ray and Rita Coughlin and Martin Rickard to try their hand at. Far be it from 
me to selfishly accept all the responsibility for a thorny challenge! 

1 . As of yet this form has not been designated with a varietal appellation. I have 
submitted the frond to Jimmy Dyce along with my suggestions. 

2. Boyd Kline is one of the founders, along with Lawrence Crocker, of Siskiyou Rare 
Plant Nursery. Jerry Cobb Colley and Baldassare Mineo took over the reins some 
years ago and are maintaining the prestigious reputation of this internationally 
known nursery by expanding the selections of alpines and other dwarf, hardy plants 

i Rock garden. The most exciting ferns to be had were produced 
1 1 first became interested in temperate ferns. 


Pteridophytes on stamps 

The Botany Department of the National Museum of Wales has a small collection of 

stamps on botanical subjects which we are actively seeking to increase. Within our 

collection there are a number of recent sets of stamps that depict pteridophytes. A list 

is given here for the interest of anyone who might wish to obtain them. It is not claimed 

to be complete. Where the sets are mixed, only pteriodophyte stamps are listed. 

ASCENSION ISLAND (1980) - 6 stamps: 3p Anogramma ascensionis, 6p Xiphopteris 

ascensionense, 1 8p Dryopteris ascensionis, 24p Marattia purpurascense. 

BELIZE (1978) - 6 Christmas stamps: 15c Lygodium polymorphum, 45c Adiantum 

tetraphyllum, $1 Thelypteris obliterata. 

DEUTSCHE DEMOKRATISCHE REPUBLIK (1984) - 6 fossils (3 plants, 3 animals): 25p 

Botryopteris (Permian). 

EIRE (1987) - 24p Phyllitis scolopendrium, 28p Ceterach officinarum, 46p Trichomanes 


GUERNSEY (1975) - 3 1 / 2 p Asplenium x sarniense, 4p Isoetes hystrix, 8p Asplenophyliitis 

microdon, 1 0p Ophioglossum lusitanicum. 

POLYNESIE FRANCAISE (1986) - 6 Medicinal plants: 40F Phymatosorus, 53F 

Ophioglossum reticulatum. 

TUVALU (1987) - 15c Nephrolepis saligna, 40c Asplenium nidus, 50c Microsorum 

scolopendria, 60c Pfen's tripartita. 

USSR (1 987) - 4K Scolopendrium vulgare, 5K Ceterach officinarum, 10K Salvinia natans, 

1 5K Matteuccia struthiopteris, 50K Adiantum pedatum. 

VENDA (1985) - 12c Pellaea dura, 25c Actiniopteris radiata, 30c Adiantum hispidulum, 

50c Polypodium polypodioides. 



BRITISH FERNS - a video made by M.H. Rickard and B.A. Thomas. 1989. 
25 mins. VHS recording system. Please send stamped addressed envelope for 
details to A.R. Busby, 16Kirby Corner Road, Canley, Coventry CV4 8GD 
This interesting venture generously supported by Schering Agriculture, as part of their 
Green Science programme, and the National Museum of Wales, is not usual material 
to review in our journals. However, as copies of the tape are being lodged with the 
B.P.S. for loan to interested groups it is worth giving some comment on the programme's 

some 47 species mentioned. Most were shown in portrait, some with close-ups of the 
significant parts, and for the most part the camera work is competent, the zooming 
smooth and I found nothing to irritate me or divert my whole-hearted attention from 
the ferny content. Even the commentary, delightfully spoken in a soft Welsh accent 
(not fully appreciated by our Scottish members!), was well written and music was totally 
absent. It can therefore be said to be successful. 

I am sure the makers would not edit it the same way, or shoot some of the same 
frames, should they be asked to do it again. Much will have been learnt, and it is not 
fair to be critical of this 'film', especially by one who has limited experience of cine- 
photography, and none whatsoever of shooting video-tape. I did, however, feel that the 
introductory shots introducing fern habitats, could have contained more ferns rather 
than sequences of open moorland, devoid even of bracken, it seemed. But one appreciates 
that woodland is dark and not easy to record. The old problem of subject merging with 
background reared its head with Moonwort and Adder's Tongue but, to compensate, 
the shots of both Woodsias were outstanding. I would have liked more comparative 
shots, e.g. both Woodland and Alpine Lady ferns, and perhaps the Buckler ferns together 
rather than separated on ecological grounds. 

Cameras and lenses are also a limiting factor in such ventures and equipment normally 
available to a professional crew might well have produced better close-ups and smoother 
camera pans. All in all, the makers of this tape are to be congratulated. To anyone 
who wants to encourage other botanists, naturalists or gardeners to get interested in 
ferns, I say, "Borrow this tape and put on a show". I think you will get a high number 


Anthony. Pp. vx, 292 + 96 full page figures and 241 distribution maps. 1986. 
Department of Agriculture, Pretoria. ISBN 621 08877 3. Price in South Africa 
R46.30; other countries R55.60 (post free). 

Only three years after publication of The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa by 
W.B.G. Jacobsen (1983) we have this new account of the pteridophytes of broadly the 
same region. This book attacks the subject in the manner established for other African 
fern floras by Dr Schelpe, i.e. Zambesiaca (1970), Angolensis (1977) and Mozambique 
(1 979). There are a few introductory pages which lead straight into the systematic section. 
Here each genus and species is described in concise scientific language, with the majority 
of taxa illustrated by line drawings. A new venture for this series of Floras is the inclusion 
of very clear distribution maps. Altitude ranges for most species are included but are 
sometimes confusing, e.g. Cyathea capensis is given for the range 1370 - 18C0 metres. 
I have only seen it at less than 1000m. 
There has been a conscious decision to use nomenclature as established in Dr Schelpe's 

other floras. Inevitably this has led to some problems. For example, some authors would 
argue that, within Cheilanthes, Dryopteris and Polystichum, species have been split too 
much, while in Hymenophyllaceae and Aspleniaceae, species accepted elsewhere have 
been grouped together. Such problems are, however, for the specialist taxonomist and 
do not detract materially from the value of the book. 

Inevitably, comparisons with Dr Jacobsen's 1983 flora will be made. Jacob-sen's book 
is more than just a flora, containing much of the information missing here, including 
full accounts of ecology and plant communities; it is a book to read and enjoy. Schelpe 
and Anthony's book is more a book for reference. 

In summary, any serious student of Southern African ferns would need both these books, 
but where a choice must be made I feel the Jacobsen book will give a more rounded 
understanding of the ecology and identity of the ferns of Southern Africa. 

J. Goudey. Pp vii, 2 12, 98 photographs including 25 in colour. Lothian Publishing 
Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. Hopefully, available from BPS Booksales in 
the near future for about £10, or $19.95 from Australia. 

Fern growing in Australia really is booming. Hot on the heels of the Fern Encyclopaedia 
(reviewed in 1988), here we have a book listing ferns suitable for culture in Australia 
and New Zealand. Of course, the information will also be of great value in other parts 
of the world although, as ever, we in the United Kingdom must be cautious about 
interpreting Australian hardiness. As a rough guide I guess that a plant hardy in Australia 
would probably do well in favoured Cornish gardens but not necessarily elsewhere in 

The body of the book is an alphabetical catalogue of fern species plus sc 
with instructions on their cultivation. There are some illustrations, eithei 
in black and white. I particularly admired a large colour plate of Polystichw 
- the Mountain Shield Fern from New Zealand, and a view of a suburb 
Melbourne dominated by tree-ferns. 
A very useful feature at the 
Australia and New Zealand, both in ga 
indispensible to me if I am ever fortunate e 

The book also includes other standard t 

propagation and fern pests and diseases. All round it is a good book produced 

price which I think will be of greatest value to anyone v 

facilities to grow 
i sheltered conditions or in favoured c 


THE FERNS AND FERN ALLIES OF RADNOR by R.G. Woods in The Radnorshire 
Society Transaction, 1987, p1 0-2 1 . 

Although not a book, I think this excellent article deserves to be brought to the attention 
of members. It is in fact the first account of the ferns of Radnorshire. Each species 
is treated in detail often with a distribution map and an historical account of its discovery. 
/ and Pillularia globuhfera, 

t interesting species occur e.g. Hymenophyllum wils 
he author admits the area is still underworked. Thi 
timulus to attract more pteridologists to explore the 

article will perhaps provide 
wonderfully wild country of 



FERN NAMES AND THEIR MEANINGS by J. W. Dyce. Pp iv, 31, 1988. British 

Pteridological Society. ISBN 9509806 1 7. Price £3 post free from BPS 

Booksales. Americans ordering single copies of this book can save time and 

postage by enclosing US $5.50 with their orders 

At long last, at the age of 83 and after writing hundreds of first rate articles on ferns, 

Jimmy Dyce has written his first fern book! Inevitably, it is a book for the fern grower 

and one which is sorely needed. In a few years' time I suspect we will wonder how 

we ever managed without this information in such an easily accessible form. 

The book begins with an introduction in which Jimmy's love of Latin varietal names 

is made clear. This is followed by the body of the book which is split into several sections, 

all based on a tabular format. The etymology of British fern genera names (their derivation) 

is followed by two chapters on the meanings of Latin and Greek word elements appearing 

at the beginning and end of fern names. Finally there is the glossary, the main section 

of the book. This is introduced by a very brief lesson in Latin. The table here runs to 

18 sides and over seven hundred varietal names, with each entry very clearly defined. 

To take some examples, Timbriatum' is explained as 'margins of the frond deeply and 

finely fringed' or 'Laxum' as 'parts distinct and apart from one another, or in an open 

loose arrangement'. Varieties named after people, such as the Lady Fern 'Frizelliae' 

after Mrs Frizell, are also included. 

The more one scans this list the more one agrees v 

perpetuated. It is indeed difficult to accept that such a li 

1 50 years through the peak of the Fern Craze can not be a 

in the future, or legally since 1959. However, fortunately, 1 

and for the foreseeable future, will be predominantly ol 

following the scheme explained here by Jimmy Dyce. 

For the future this book should be the key to a wider appreciation of ferns - and their 

names. Every grower of fern varieties will surely want a copy. 


AND ASSYNT by Colin Scouller OBE, with an APPENDIX ON GAIRLOCH by 
Peter Clough. 33 pp., 1 map. Lochbroom Field Club. 1988. Available from Peter 
Harrison, Upper Bridge Cottage, Leckmelm, Ullapool, for £1.65 including postage. 
About half the vascular plants recorded for the parishes of Assynt, Lochbroom and Gairloch 
are covered in this account of the flora. As the booklet title suggests it is only an 
introduction, but a very good one. Over 40 species of fern and fern ally are mentioned, 
often with clues for separating critical species. Arctic-alpine species of ferns feature 
strongly, e.g. Polystichum lonchitis, Athyrium distentifolium and Dryopteris expansa but 
the lowland flora is also of great interest with Osmunda regalis and Lycopodiella inundata. 
Furthermore, Asplenium billotii occurs here in its most northerly locality. Unfortunately, 
hybrids are outside the scope of this handbook, hence Polystichum X illyricum (P.lonchitis 
X P. aculeatum) which grows in the Inchnadamph National Nature Reserve is not included. 
Altogether this is a most welcome publication which will be particularly useful to botanists 



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 
A wide range of hardy and greenhouse ferns, especially Adiant 
Culag, Green lane, Nafferton, Nr. Driffield, East Yorks. 
Sent 50p for catalogue 
'An Introduction to Fern Growing' also available, £2.50 inc. pos 


Specialising in North American and English hardy ferns 

Send two international Reply Coupons for Catalogue 

Judith Jones 

191 1 4th Avenue West, Seattle, Washington 981 19, USA 


Over one hundred in-print titles and many rare 

and/or used books are available from 

Myron Kimnach 

5508 N. Asteli Ave., Azusa, CA 91702, USA 

Catalogue on request 

The British Pteridological Society 



Volume 1, Part 6, 1989 

Editorial ^ 

Ophioglossum vulgatum from Spores Jack Bouckley 2 

The Pteridophytes of Radnor - small Mid-Wales Vice-county R.G. Woods 2 

Ferns with other Plants A.R. Busby 2 

Two Spleenworts new to Britain Asplenium trichomanes subsp. pachyrachis 

and A. trichomanes nothosubsp. staufferi Martin Rickard 2 

Trials and Errors on Ferns from Spores Peter Hainsworth 2 

Ferns in Medicine Bridget Graham 2 

Letter from Hawai'i Christopher Fraser-Jenkins 2 

Unusual Fern Behaviour Jimmy Dyce 2 

The Jones Nature Prints Jimmy Dyce 2 

Three sub-species of Bracken in Britain C.N. Page and Y.C. Golding 2 

Bracken Stella Maris Turk J 

Lycopodiaceae in North East Hampshire Chris Hall ^ 

Variation in the Mountain Fern Martin Rickard ^ 

The New Museum of North Devon - A Commitment to Ferns, 

Pteridology and Pteridomania Peter Boyd ^ 

New Fern Variation - USA Judith I. Jones ^ 


More Asplenium X sarniense in Guernsey R.C. Palmer ^ 

Centenary Year 1991 B.A.Thomas - 

The Fern Gazette Martin Rickard - 

Osmunda regalis, past and present Kenneth Adlam - 

The Centenary Fund B.A. Thomas - 

Pteridophytes on Stamps B.A. Thomas - 


Ferns of New Zealand '• 

Ferns and their Habitats in the British and Irish Landscape 
Monograph of Dryopteris in the Indian Subcontinent 
Ferns and Fern Allies of Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges 
British Ferns - a Video 
Flora of Southern Africa : Pteridophyta 
Handbook of Ferns for Australia and New Zealand 
Ferns and Fern Allies of Radnor 
Fern Names and their Meanings 
An Introduction to the Flowering Plants and 

Ferns of Lochbroom and Assynt 

The Pteridologist Volume 1 Part 5 was published on 31 May, 1 988 

Published by the British Pteridological Society