All posts by Andrew Leonard

Asplenium ceterach

On our way from one Dryopteris aemula site to another, we stopped off to see the progress of Asplenium ceterach on this railway bridge. This bridge was renovated by the Railway Authority and in the process all the plants were removed and the pointing redone. We were pleased to see that despite the best efforts of the Railways, Asplenium ceterach seems to be able to cope with this treatment and even created new sporeling

Dryopteris aemula sites in the New Forest

Following new sightings by Alison Bolton and Mike Rowe, Ashley & Jo Basil and myself went to see 2 new sites for Dryopteris aemula in the New Forest
The first site was in Brately Inclosure which, at first sight, seemed an unlikely place
However we found, within an area of some 200 x 200 yards, about 200 plants looking very healthy

The next site we went to was Norley Inclosure, where we found possibly 10 plants

This brings the number of sites for Dryopteris aemula in the New Forest, known to us, to 6

Botrychium lunaria in May in the New Forest 2020

Ashley & Jo Basil and myself, went back to check out the Botrychiums at Appleslade Bottom

We found about 50 plants
They grow in an “open” field amongst bracken
A lot of the bracken seemed to be suffering from a late frost, which helped us find the Botrychiums
It is not probable that we found them all. This is around the same number for previous years but they seem to moving lower down the slight hill
I have included a picture that I hope explains our numbering methodology
These are bamboo kebab spears, 12 inches long, to which I added some red sticky tape at the top to make them more visible
We put one of these next to each plant and then when we have had enough of searching, we collect the “spears” and count them

We also found about 12 distinct colonies of Ophioglossum azoricum in 3 different areas

See previous posts:

Lygodium japonicum

My Lygodium japonicum often looks a bit tatty with all its leaves turning brown, so I assumed it was effectively deciduous and would regrow from the ground each year. It has been my habit to cut the plant right back to the ground each spring. This year, the bottom half of the leaves have died back but the top half of the plant is still green, if a little “battle-weary”. I noticed that there are a few small “shoots” starting off on the “old” wood. The one in the picture is right at the top of the plant. The plant is also putting up fronds from the ground. We had a relatively mild winter this year for the plants with the coldest tempreature I recorded being -4C

Todea barbara

I inherited this plant from the estate of Graham Ackers. I have had it for about 10 years but I don’t know how old it was before I got it. As far as I remember this is the first time it has produced spores

Asplenium sagittatum in Hampshire

The first picture shows the retaining wall of my patio with my neighbours garage wall behind it
The second picture shows the gap (about 7 inches) between my retaining wall and the garage
As you can see from the debris that has fallen down this gap, I don’t look down it very often. However, I did look a few months ago and noticed that several Asplenium scolopendriums and one plant that could be Asplenium adiantum-nigrum had spored themselves in this gap
In 2008 I had the whole garden rebuilt and the retaining wall was raised by about 18 inches. The plants seem to be growing at the base of where the addition to the retaining wall was built
Having a further look more recently, I realised that one of the “scolopendriums” looked odd. On closer examination, I began to suspect this plant was actually Asplenium sagittatum
Asplenium sagittatum is a fern that has a Mediterranean distribution, and I have seen it in Mallorca and Menorca. I have had a small plant growing unhappily in my conservatory for several years and I have to suppose that its spores made it outside. The outside plant is doing much better than the sad thing living in my conservatory.
The forth picture shows the sori and how they continue down into the lobe, which is typical of this species but not of A. scolopendrium
There are about 5 A. scolopendriums growing in the gap and possibly 3 A. sagittatums
I have sent these pictures to Fred Rumsey and he agrees with me that these plants look like Asplenium sagittatum
For the record, we get winter temperatures of -8C
I have some pictures of A. sagittatums from Menorca on my website

New Forest June 2019

I reported on the annual Moonwort monitoring previously. Sadly I was unable to attend as I had hurt my back, but we rearranged the date for 4th June and myself, Steve Munyard, Ashley and Jo Basil went back to Linwood

Here is a picture of the most handsome Botrychium lunaria. I have included a picture of our counting methodology. These are bamboo barbecue skewers (from Lidl, £2.99 for 125) with red tape (Wilkinsons £1.25). This proved to be the most successful methodology and we accurately counted 33 distinct plants. We found 3 or 4 colonies of Ophioglossum (possibly azoricum)

In the afternoon we decided to see if we could find some marsh fern, Thelypteris palustris sites that had been given to Ashley by Mike Rowe
We started at the well known but small site at Holmsley and then moved on to a site we had recently refound at Dibden Bottom. This latter site has a colony about 20 x 100 metres and was looking very good. Bouyed up with enthusiasm we moved on to Longdown Inclosure and found and equally impressive patch. Our last site of the day was Mately Bog, which is a different habitat from the previous 3 sites. We began to doubt the site but as we walked through it we found bigger and bigger colonies

This was a thoroughly rewarding day and we would like to extend our thanks to Mike Rowe for informing us of these wonderful Marsh fern sites