Wednesday 14 July 2010
Ferns enhance our ditches and woods and are well worth looking at. Some can take a bit of effort to identify as it may depend on the colour of scales at the bases of the stems, or on the shape of the spore-bearing bodies on the leaves, but here are two straightforward ones.
Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant) has simple, unbranched leaves of two distinct types. The ones with broad leaflets are sterile and grow close to the ground, and are quite different from the more upright fertile leaves (those bearing sporing bodies) with their very narrow leaflets.
Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) looks superficially like many other ferns, with many large leaves growing out from a base. However, the leaves are softer to the touch and more delicate than other species, with the leaves coming to fine points which droop slightly downwards.