Category Archives: Uncategorized

Adiantum capillus-veneris found in Buriton, Hampshire

This is the first time I have found this fern in the wild in the UK although I have been shown it several times, the latest being a small colony near the top of a railway bridge in the New Forest.
I found this plant on a railway bridge at Buriton. The plant was down near the ground. It is not a large plant and I will continue to monitor its progress.

Chelsea Flower Show 24-28th May

The BPS is having a stand at Chelsea this year as part of our 125th Anniversary celebrations. If you would like to volunteer to help on the stand during the show and/or if you live in or near London and can offer a bed to potential helpers then please get in touch with me on 01302 710318, or fill out this form. Please note that BPS cannot pay your expenses.

We are also looking for suitable plants to be exhibited. The stand is divided into three sections, damp, dry and conservatory and three people have taken on the job of co-ordinating these sections. Below are the lists of plants required but if you have other plants that you think would be useful don’t hesitate to offer them. We aim to have the plants collected together in March to give time to grow them on under cover and make sure there are no pests or disease. If you can contribute any plants please contact the co-ordinator to arrange collection or use the form below. You will need to make clear on the label what the plant is, who it belongs to and also, most important, indicate if you are willing for it to be sold at the end of the show or if you would like it back.

I also need help needed to paint the conservatory structure which is being built for the stand. Could anyone able give a few hours in the week starting 11th April please contact me. I will provide lunch.

You can see a model of our exhibit here.

Dry Section – co-ordinator JUDE LAWTON

Astrolepis sinuata
Blechnum penna-marina
Arachniodes simplicior
Asplenium scolopendrium (and cvs)
Cheilanthes tomentosa
Cheilanthes (any spp found to be hardy)
Asplenium trichomanes
Cyrtomium (any spp and cvs)
Dryopteris affinis (and cvs)
Dryopteris cycadina
Dryopteris dilatata (and cvs)
Dryopteris erythrosora
Dryopteris expansa
Dryopteris filix-mas (cvs only)
Dryopteris lepidota
Dryopteris seiboldii
Dryopteris (any good-looking spp and cvs)
Dryopteris wallichiana
Pellaea rotundifolia
Polypodium vulgare
Polystichum acrosticoides
Polystichum munitum
Polystichum setiferum( and cvs)
Pteris cretica (and any hardy cvs)

Conservatory Section – co-ordinator TIM PYNER

Adiantum raddianum (and cultivars)
Adiantum reniforme
Adiantum caudatum
Adiantum pulverulentum
Adiantum polyphyllum
Aglaomorpha  coronans
Asplenium bulbiferum
Asplenium nidus (and cultivars)
Asplenium australasicum
Blechnum brasiliense
Cyathea tomentosissima
Davallia fejeensis
Davallia solida
Davallia tasmanii
Elaphoglossum (any)
Goniophlebium subauriculatum (and cultivars)
Microsorum punctatum
Microsorum scolopendria
Niphidium crassifolium
Phlebodium aureum/pseudoaureum (and cultivars)
Platycerium (any)
Polypodium formosanum
Psilotum nudum
Pteris argyraea
Pteris ensiformis
Pteris nipponica

Damp Section – co-ordinator JULIAN REED

(Strongly biased to Athyrium ff cultivars plus)
Athyrium ff clarissima
Blechnum spicant
Dryopteris cristata
Dryopteris carthusiana
Gymnocarpium dryopteris
Gymnocarpium dryopteris plumosum
Phegopteris connectilis
Oreopteris limbosperma
Osmunda regalis (and cultivars)
Osmunda (species)
Pseudothelypteris beddomei
Todea barbara

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Fern Fan visiting RBGE

A few months ago, Dr. Chad Husby visited RBGE (the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh).  Chad is a botanical horticulturalist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Florida, with a particular interest in ferns and especially Equisetum.   He was particularly interested to see the Equisetum collection at RBGE, and was able to identify an unusual horsetail that Gunnar Ovstebo had collected in California, that turned out to be Equisetum x ferrissii Clute, the hybrid between E. hyemale x E. laevigatum.

More recently, I have been reading Chad’s paper ‘Biology and Functional Ecology of Equisetum with Emphasis on the Giant Horsetails’, Botanical Review (2013) 79:147-177.  It includes a discussion of the ancient history of the Equisetum and their now extinct relatives (Sphenopsida) which were the principle vegetation of terrestrial habitats during the Upper Devonian and Carboniferous periods, when the continents were very warm and wet.  These plants became the primary components of the coal layers.  A remarkable feature of modern horsetails is the extent to which they have retained characteristics of their ancient ancestors.

Something that surprised me was that, even though these ancient horsetails grew to enormous size – up to 20 m tall and 60 cm in diameter – they were not made primarily of lignin.  I had always understood that the invention of lignin was one of the major factors that allowed plants to live on land by providing support and allowing for water transport. Incorporation of high concentrations of silicon within cells walls may have contributed to the mechanical strength of the stems, consistent with the high requirement of silicon among Equisetum.  Quite possibly, the horsetails were eventually outcompeted by other plants that had acquired lignin.

Chad’s work has focussed on the giant horsetails in Mexico and South America (see photo of Chad with the E. giganteum Lluta Valley from the Atacama Desert in Chile), of which there are two species E. giganteum and E. myriochaetum (and their hybrid E. x schaffneri).  E. giganteum reaches 5 m tall and has the broadest range, north to south and east to west, of any Equisetum in Latin America. These giant horsetails are mainly found at higher altitudes and in recently disturbed sites, apparently because they cannot compete well against a dense vegetation of angiosperms. Part of their secret to success is the massive rhizome system underground that can survive surface disturbance and can regenerate.

Well, there is a lot more fascinating information in the paper.  I am hoping that Chad will visit again and have a chance to meet more BPS members!