Prior to collecting my actual research data, I spent some time around Old Goginan, near Aberystwyth in North Ceredigion. The following pictures below are samples collected during a walk between Capel Bangor and Old Goginan. This was during the early stages of my ID explorations in May 2016, so if any of them are wrong please let me know! I have fine-honed my ID for my present work however, given the relatively fewer species I am examining.
The pictures aren’t nearly close-up enough for accuracy, but I hope will give a general indication…
- Athyrium filix-femina, Lady Fern
Characterised by the very dark scales along the stipe, and the shuttlecock formation of fronds. Easily confused with the Dryopteris genus, but it’s appearance is much more ‘fountain’ like than shuttlecock in habit.
2. Blechnum spicant, Hard Fern or Deer Fern
Easily identified. The picture shows both the broader sterile and much more slender ‘fertile’ (i.e. spore-bearing) fronds.
3. Dryopteris aemula, Hay-scented Buckler
The random recurvation of the pinnae and pinnules gives this fern it’s unique appearance. This was found in only one place in the area where samples were taken, with just a few specimens present.
4. Dryopteris affinis, Golden-scaled Male Fern
Characterised by a stunning architectural formation, and densely packed golden brown scales along the stipe and into the rachis.
5. Dryopteris dilatata, Broad Buckler
Fairly lax in appearance, but with often rather flamboyant and large blades in the right conditions. Its scales are golden with a dark central smudge.
6. Dryopteris filix-mas, Male fern
The classic British woodland fern, forming a fairly lax shuttlecock formation. Golden scales along the stipe and into the rachis, but much less dense than those of D. affinis.
7. Polypodium vulgare, Common Polypody
Easily confused with other members of the Polypody family as many of them are very similar! Quite commonly seen growing in a variety of situations e.g. terrestrial, epiphytic.
8. Who knows! Possibly a hybrid?
I really have no idea about this one! The picture doesn’t show it very clearly but the stipe and rachis were very red/reddish-brown in colour. I did wonder if it might be a hybrid with a garden fern as there were residential properties in close proximity to the point of collection?
Obviously in terms of identification there are many other points to note such as the exact structure of the pinnae and pinnules, the arrangement of sori and their indusia. However this is merely my early investigation into identification, and I am presenting it as such. Again, I welcome any feedback!