All posts by Andrew Leonard

Botrychium lunaria in May in the New Forest

We went back to check out the Botrychiums at Appleslade Bottom

We found about 40 plants in 4 distinct colonies. They are not much advanced from April but quite a few seem to be in “pairs”
The Ophioglossums looked much worse with almost no fertile spikes visible. There has been almost no rain since we last visited this site

Botrychium lunaria in April in the New Forest

Ashley Basil and myself went to see if we could find Botrychium lunaria in the known site at Appleslade Bottom.

We found about 15 small plants

We also found some colonies of Ophioglossum vulgatum

We were a little surprised that both these ferns could be seen at this time of year. We will go back at the end of April and see what they look like and how many we can find

Ashford Hangers

Ashford Hangers is a steep sided open access woodland, with a good selection of ferns

Asplenium scolopendrium is the most abundant fern

Both Polystichum setiferum and P. aculeatum are common in the hangars. There are several good candidates for their hybrid Polystichum x bicknellii

Dryopteris dilatata is beginning to lie down but the new croziers are also appearing

Asplenium ruta-muraria

I found this very healthy example of Asplenium ruta-muraria trying to crowd out an Asplenium scolopendrium. Photo taken in Meonstoke, Hampshire.

What is this Fern?

This fern has a long history in our family and was described as a rarity by my father but we don’t know what it is.
It was given to my father as a division in the 1950s when he lived in the village of Warton nr Carnforth, Lancashire. It was given to him by an older gardener in the village who would have known both Robert Bolton (past president of the BPS) and fern enthusiast Henry Bolton (who I guess was Robert’s father or uncle). We assume that the fern was either discovered in the wild by Henry Bolton or bred by Robert Bolton in his Warton nursery.
The fern has no spores. It has been replanted 3 times in different gardens since my father first planted it.

Stephen Fawcett

Holly Hill Woodland Park

I recently re-visited Holly Hill Woodland Park after a gap of nearly 20 years. The Dicksonia antarctica are looking pretty good even in mid-February

They are growing on islands in a lake and I have come to the conclusion that it is not cold but lack of water that kills these beautiful plants
There are other native ferns in this area, Dryopteris dilatata, D. filix-mas, D. affinis, Blechnum spicant, Polystichum setiferum, Asplenium scolopendrium
The park is also interesting as it is considered to have the best known examples in Hampshire of Pulhamite Stonework and Groto

Strange Hart’s Tongue Fern

I found this strange form of Asplenium scolopendrium at the back of the churchyard of All Saints Church in Botley, Hampshire. It was growing in a low wall just beside a dustbin. The frond is very thick and it has this raised ridge that runs down the middle of the underneath of the frond. The sori are much reduced, only being formed in the part of the frond which is not raised.

I sent these pictures to our cultivar expert, Julian Reed and this is what he says:

it’s a cultivar
The ridge under the frond is what called sub lineate, if it was on top of the frond it would be supra lineate and I think if well grown it would be ramose

I will try to grow on the spores and see what happens


I found this patch of Polypodiums opposite the entrance to the Whiteley Golf Club, Whitely, Hampshire SU53720834. I am sure it must be a hybrid because of its vigour. There are several other patches in the same vicinity. I think the spores are not yet ripe.
I have been informed by the Vice County Recorder that it is Polypodium x mantoniae

Asplenium ceterach in Hampshire

With the help of the vice county recorders in North and South Hampshire, I have been trying to track down all the locations for Asplenium ceterach in Hampshire. So far I have found (mostly re-found) 50 locations.
I would say that A. ceterach is relatively rare in Hampshire and from this adventure, it seems to be hanging in, in most of the the known locations.

The best location, in quantity and quality, is in Lower Farringdon
There are 2 hot-spots for A. ceterach, St Mary Bourne and Whitchurch, which both have 4 distinct locations
Churches and railway bridges are good locations for wall ferns in general and occasionally, A. ceterach. However both are vulnerable, railway bridges from maintenance (re-pointing) and churches from over enthusiastic volunteer gardeners who see ferns as destructive to the fabric of the churchyard
I have not seen A. ceterach in any natural locations in Hampshire. It seems to require walls that are old, maybe well over 100 years.
The fern seems to tolerated and even appreciated by the owners of the properties where the fern exists

See the locations on Google Maps

My thanks to Tony Mundell and Martin Rand

Polystichum x bicknellii bulbils

Polystichum x bicknellii growing in my garden has developed bulbils. These bulbils look rather like the damage that sometimes occurs on ferns when they suffer from drought or insect attack but they are developing new fronds. I have had the plant for a few years and I have not noticed this before, nor have I seen it in the wild.
Strangely, it is growing near a Polystichum x dycei which regularly creates bulbils