Friday, 20 January 2012

Fern learning, Lesson 1

The most common fern is bracken.  It is so common it is in fact a global weed.  It's the one that grows a stem with leaves branching off all the way up.  It can be 2 metres tall.  I should really say "fronds" not "leaves" for a fern.  I posted a picture on 2nd January of what it looks like in winter, brown and crispy.  This is what it looks like in spring.

Most other ferns either grow in rosettes or "shuttlecocks", or they grow individual fronds along a creeping stem or rhizome.  The next photo shows several HartsTongue ferns.  Their fronds are quite undivided.  Do you think they are in rosetttes or on a creeping rhizome?

The fronds of Polypody Fern below are divided into pinnae  ( the plural of 'pinna').  Polypody often grows on walls or, here in Filnore, on the bark of a tree.  It has a rhizome, not a rosette.

If the pinnae are divided again into simple pinnules, i.e not frilly pinnules, then it is Male Fern - see below.   

All these ferns are growing at Filnore and also two more frilly ones which I shall describe in lesson two, coming soon.

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