Whats that Fern? (Previous version)

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  1. Any idea what this is? saw lots of these tiny ferns on a mossy bank in our local woods.

    Wasn’t sure if they’re just young ferns but they all seemed to be about this size, with much bigger ferns nearby so wondered if they stay this sort of size?

    1. Almost certainly young Dryopteris plants. Could be D.filix-mas or more probably D.dilatata but the picture is not very sharp. Young ferns are notoriously difficult to identify. It can be helpful to look at the mature ferns nearby, Your plants will almost certainly be one of those species.

    2. Horsetail ID please?
      Growing by freshwater, very tall, close together and in profusion
      Fence prevented me getting closer/ taking a stem section

  2. What we really need are pictures showing a close up of the front and back of the frond.
    But most likely they are young Male Ferns, (Dryopteris filix-mas) and if so, they get to be about 3 feet tall

  3. Got some more photo’s today, not the easiest thing to get a close up of but hopefully these are good enough.

    They don’t seem to have grown at all.


  4. Tried to get a slightly wider shot of them, there are loads clustered together.

  5. These are what we call “sporelings” of the common Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas). They do not have any sori on the back of the frond because they are immature. They will get bigger.

    1. Cool, Thanks for the response. I’ve been watching them and they’re still tiny, should be interesting to see them grow!

      Thanks again.

  6. This is a fern grown from a spore. According to my notes it should be 994, Onoclea sensibilis, but it doesn’t look as expected. (It doesn’t look like any of the other ferns that I have grown through the spore exchange.) Thanks in advance for any help.

  7. This looks like a Pellaea species. Sporelings can look very different from adults but when it it matures it should be identifiable to species.

  8. What Tim means by “adult” is when the plant starts to produce spores.
    The spores can be produced from anywhere but usually they can be found on the underside of the frond(leaf) in something called a sorus (plural sori).
    It is the look of the sori that gives the most clues as to the species of the plant.
    If you can, you should try to get a photograph of the sori

  9. Hello,

    This fern was growing on a colliery spoil heap near Pontypridd. I wonder if it might possibly be Lanceolate Spleenwort, or if it is just an immature specimen of one of the more common species?

    Many thanks

  10. The big one on the left looks like the common male fern, Dryopteris filix-mas. I am not sure what the sporelings on the right are, possibly the same

  11. I haven’t seen this fern in real life and I can’t find any reliable information online. A challenging one for the pro’s.

  12. Several families of ferns include species that have young fronds covered in mucilage such as Blechnaceae, Plagiogyriaceae and Thelypteridaceae. They are mostly found in wet, tropical areas. I am not sure what the function of the mucilage is, maybe protection from desication or from herbivores. The thin white aerophores or pneumatophores are clearly visible poking through the mucilage. These enable gas exchange in the young frond.

  13. Anyone know what Fern is this?

    Found half light / shade and half dry / damp, clinging to the corner of a wall.

    Much appreciated


  14. It is Asplenium scolopendrium, the heart’s tongue fern. This fern is capable of many forms and this is quite a common variant, being forked.
    Try googling it

    1. I have grown the fern below for a number of years have tried to id it and think it is a Davallia though now on seeing the spores I am not so sure

  15. We only got one picture – did you mean to attach 2?
    If so can you try again
    Also can you try to get as close a picture of the sori as possible (but in focus) and attach that

    1. sorry about that I will try again , If I am not sucesful I am happy to put a piece in the post to you

  16. What is the best ID books you would recommend to somebody wanting to get into the field (more for wild growing species in the UK than cultivated varieties)

  17. While recording in the village of Fulbeck, Lincolnshire I came across a fern I didn’t recognise, growing towards the top of a limestone wall, quite near a gutter. I took some photographs, though as it was quite high, it’s not easy to see the characters. I managed to take a leaf, which had a very tough texture.

    1. Dear Sarah
      It is Dryopteris filix-mas ‘Linearis Polydactyla’ a cultivar of Male Fern it is easily grown. I suspect there must be a plant of this in a near by garden.
      Take care Julian

  18. This is a difficult one
    It looks like a “variety” or “cultivar” or “monstrosity” but of what I am not sure
    I think it is likely to be a Dryopteris
    I will ask around but another (better) picture would help
    If you can detach a leaf and photograph or scan it, that would help

  19. I have had this fern for around 45 yrs.My late wife often divided the plane.I think it needs dividing again,and I have bought 2 large plastic pots to accommodate.Could you give me some advice re dividing and repotting,I.e. What compost etc etc.I would like to know its name/species.It is housed over winter in a non heated conservatory,and put outside in the summer (north east facing).
    Your help/advices greatly appreciated.
    Tim Dempsey

    1. It is really a house plant i think
      Nephrolepsis in the trade it would be cordifolia but would need a close up of the base of the fronds and would be good to have a picture of the the un shed spore bodies under the frond (sori)
      take care Julian

    2. Dear Tim
      I was on auto pilot and went for the identification
      I would split it now and I would pull it out of the pot lie it on its side and get to garden hand forks and put them back to back push them between the crowns as best you can and then pull them apart and together so you work it through the plant and you should end up with 2 pieces. and then do it again for quarters
      Then repot into a good multi-purpose compost leaving the crowns of the plant just at compost level, do not worry if you find what look like tubers this is normal
      Water in thoroughly after this just keep damp but not wet if it feals heavy it is wet enough. This is easily spotted if the fronds are lush green its fine if they go slightly blue green they need water
      also i would cut back the fronds by half to one third it will soon regrow
      take care Julian

  20. Please identify my fern.Have had for 45 years.My late wife used to divide,feel it needs doing again.Have bought 2 large black plastic pots.Tips and suggestions to repot appreciated.i.e. what compost,feed etc. Fern house in unheated conservatory over winter.Outside during summer,north east location.

  21. Could anyone please advise what type of fern this is?
    The picture was taken on a trip to China recently; and I would like to buy one or two of these in UK (if they are available here).

  22. I don’t think this is a fern. Note the central upright stem. It looks like a conifer-possibly Cunninghamia or something from the Yew family.

  23. I bought this in a gaden store in The Netherlands a year ago. It outgrew its pot and I potted it on. It flourished and we went away with our irrigatia system set up but were away for the hottes part of August and when we returned the palest of pale greel leaves were in many caes looking rusty .

    I thought it wasa Hares Foot Fern but I am no longer sure and I am lost for advice as to whether I should prune the rusty fronds to allow the new curled up fronds to come through. It hacually dropped two fronds only – I have a younger one nearby whic is just pale green!

    We love it! But what is it and what to do?


  24. It used to be called Phlebodium aureum, but it may have been renamed. It looks very healthy so I would carry on doing whatever you are doing. You will notice that the new rhizomes are scaly but the old ones loose their scales and have a blue colour. They can start to grow out of the pot. The old fronds will turn brown and they also do this if the plant suffers from periods of drought. You can cut these leaves off, if they annoy you.

  25. I’m trying to identify a plant in my Nottinghamshire garden. We only moved here in October, but it has stayed green over winter. There are two plants, one slightly larger than the other, and they are both quite flat. (compared to the upright shape of the deciduous ferns that grow nearby) The spread of the largest one is at least one and a half metres at its widest point.

    Close-ups to follow.

      1. Most of the leaves have nothing on the underside at all, but two of the very longest fronds have these brown spots (spori?) covering the wider part of the frond, but not all the way along.

        Many thanks for your help.

  26. It is Polystichum setiferum, the soft shield fern. This is a native of the UK. The leaves can fall flat in the winter but they are still useful to the plant, doing photosynthesis.
    This might be a cultivar or garden variety but it is quite close to the standard. I will ask our cultivar experts for their opinion

    1. That’s very helpful. Thank you!

      I had looked at pictures of the soft shield fern on the internet, but because the photos showed more upright-looking plants that didn’t seem to match with my flat ones, and being a bit of a garden novice, I wasn’t confident in making the identification.

  27. The first and last images show it is clearly a cultivar. There are literally hundreds of named Polystichum setiferum cultivars, although only a handful are commonly available. I’m no expert on them, but it looks to me like it belongs to the Multilobum group of cultivars. Equally, it could be a form (commonly available in nurseries) called ‘Herrenhausen’, although that’s supposed to belong to the Divisilobum group. Come on, you cultivar experts!

  28. Julian thinks it is Polystichum setiferum “Divisilobum” and Martin classes this plant as a minor cultivar and puts it in the Tripinnatum Group. However Julian feels that the fertile frond is too divided for a “Tripinnatum”.
    So there you have it, a measure of disagreement between our experts!

  29. Hi,

    I went on a field trip to Tenerife with my uni and took 3 ferns for a taxonomic collection, could you help with identification as I can’t find any keys for ferns from Tenerife? They were found in the laurel (cloud) forest. I’ve attached photos of them.

    Many thanks.

  30. Hi,
    I am a newly signed up member to the society. Last weekend I tried identifying ferns for the first time. I think the attached is Dryopteris carthusiana. Can someone please confirm? I’ll try and add more photos for confirmation.

  31. Sorry for the repeat posts. It was telling me the photo was too big without stating that the post had been made. I add another photo to help with identifying.

  32. Hi

    I was wondering if anyone could identifying the fern in the attached image please?

    Thanks in anticipation…


  33. This is a Polypodium
    You can look here and try to decide which of the 3 native species it is, or take some more pictures showing the frond shape

  34. Hi, found this fern in a slate quarry in North Wales – any ideas please?
    Much obliged.

  35. I am not sure
    To be honest, it is not a great picture
    With ferns, it is always a good idea to photograph both the front and and back of the frond. The shape of the sori is very useful in identifying the fern
    The glossiness of the frond suggests Asplenium adiantum-nigrum but I would prefer to see some more pictures

  36. Hi,

    I have a few ferns that have come up in my garden and I’ve been slowly moving them to try and make more of a stumpery kind of area.

    I have no idea what most of them are though! And there’s possibly a houseplant in there somewhere so I’d like to label them all up and do some reading if anyone can identify them.

    Here’s the first one.


  37. It is Dryopteris erythrosora
    This is a very common fern and often for sale in garden centres. It is also sold as an indoor plant but it is very hardy. It may be a “group” of plants that look similar but have not been fully investigated. Young fronds are often redish and then turn green as they mature

    1. Cool, thanks Andrew.

      That would’ve been the houseplant then! I think the rest are native but I’ll get some photos.


    1. I’m hoping this is a native species and not another houseplant that’s made it’s way into the garden!

  38. This is probably Dryopteris dilatata, but a young one. When I say that it is important to show the underside of the fern, I meant a photograph that shows the shape of the sori, so you need to pick a fertile frond. It may be this plant has not yet produced fertile fronds.
    See here for an excellent guide to British Native Ferns

  39. I’ve been looking through that link, still a bit baffled!

    I had no idea Maidenhair was native though, amazing.

    I’ve only got a couple more I’m not sure on now.

  40. Slightly embarrassed that I didn’t work that one out myself!

    Thanks Andrew, this must be another houseplant that’s been put outside.

  41. I’ve been trying to work this one out myself, bit confused between 2 and 3 times divided fronds at the moment.

    there’s a more pronounced split than Dryopteris erythrosora (and the colour is different).

    I was leaning towards Dryopteris filix mas but the leafy part of the frond doesn’t seem to have the correct shape for that.

    So I’m wondering is this is another Dryopteris dilatata?

  42. This fern I believe to be Blechnum Montanum.
    They are a recent addition to my collection.
    Having never seen both ferns before I would appreciate any help with identification.
    To me they both look identical.

  43. The first is probably not B. minus. The 2nd maybe B. montanum.
    It is useful with this group of Blechnums to have a photo of the complete frond laid flat especially showing the basal pinnae.

  44. As I said previously a photo of the complete frond showing its outline would be very helpful. From what I can see both these photos are possibly B. montanum

  45. Looking for identification for 3 ferns 1st grows in the garden I’ve had it for years 2nd and 3rd newly acquired as unmarked bargains from the garden centre

    1. Thanks Andrew,
      It was a garden centre barging so will give it a bit of tlc and see how we go.

      Last one to identify, grows well in my garden had it years I’m sure you will be able to identify straight away

  46. I think this is Cyrtomium fortunei var. clivicola rather than C. falcatum. The fronds are less shiny and the toothing is much smaller in the former species.

  47. Hi me again, been to the garden centre (again) and hand a rummage through the barging trolley (again) and found this, I suspect it’s a crytomium but not sure which one, your expert opinion would be much appreciated

  48. Is this a fern? I’ve never seen spores, but it does have a crozier. Also what’s the red thing? It seems to be attached to the rhizome.

    1. There is a fern there but not a lot to go on to identify it
      However, if it is a British native fern, I would say Dryopteris dilatata, the Broad Buckler fern
      I don’t know what the red thing is, it is not part of the fern

      1. Thanks, Tim. I’ve looked up Woodwardia fimbriata and I’m sure you’re right. I can see the chains now I know what to look for. Goodness knows what the red thing is, which I’ve now managed to detach. I would guess that the rhizome has grown through some unidentified organic object.

        1. Interesting!
          I attach a scan of my Woodwardia fimbriata. It has a similar outline but it is a lot more “leathery”
          I think your fern is Onoclea sensiblis
          The common name for this fern is the sensitive fern because it is the first fern to die off. It is strictly dimorphic and will produce strange fertile fronds which do not look anything like these fronds. It is a spreading fern

  49. I am guessing it is some kind of Pteris
    Could you try to take a picture that is in focus?
    Also if you can find any sori on the back of the fronds and take a picture

    1. I agree with Andrew. It looks like a Pteris.

      If possible a photo of a complete mature frond laid flat will be helpful. The frond outline is important when identifying Pteris

  50. We are trying to accurately record fauna on our small woodland site in West Sussex. From your native species guide it looks as though this might be a scaly male fern. Would that be correct please? The following picture shows the stalks.

    1. The scaly Male fern has a dark spot where the stalks join. This does not appear to have the dark mark so I am guessing it is Dryopteris filix-mas, the common male fern

  51. Also there are some very small delicate ferns growing on fallen oaks. Are these just young ferns or another type please? They do not appear to have sori on the underside of the fronds.

    1. These mostly look like Dryopteris filix-mas but there might be a small Polystichum setiferum in there as well (circled in red)

  52. Thank you for identifying both photos as Dryopteris filix-mas. Very helpful! I can take a better picture of the potential Polytichum setiferum tomorrow. Meanwhile there is another type of fern I have found (I think!), photo attached, that was close by. Is this an older Polytichum setiferum or something else please?

  53. That would make sense, I know it has been recorded in the woodland adjacent to our area. Thank you very much.

  54. Hi
    This, and the next photo are close ups of the little fern that is the potential Polytichum setiferum. Does this help with id please?

  55. Also, this time I went out better informed to find a scaly male fern! Is this one right please?

    1. I think this is a scaly male fern. The rachis is quite dark but I think I can see an even darker spot where the rachis meet
      This fern is quite a problem as there are various different varities or even species hiding under this name!
      It is part of the Dryopteris affinis group. You can see them here

  56. Thank you so much for the identifications and the pointers! I only understood today what mitten-shaped means in relation to the soft shield fern! im so much further forward than two days ago!
    The picture of the underside where you said ‘I think this is Dryopteris dilatata again’ belongs to the yellowish fern that could be lady fern. I thought the sori were more a more regular pattern than on the male ferns I’ve seen, but they don’t look J shaped to me. Could they belong to lady fern please?
    Thanks again

    1. I think you may be right
      When the sori get old they tend to “blur” a bit but they do look more “J” shape then round. So I would say that it is Athyrium filix-femina

  57. Thank you so much! I will put them all in iRecord with a credit to you, Andrew, if I may.
    All the best

  58. Can anyone identify this fern? It was found on the path up a steep limestone cliff on an island in Lake Prespa Albania. Thes is my only photo

  59. Thanks
    It was much larger than the tiny specimens of rusty back fern I have seen in the past.
    Are these ferns both Woodsia ilvensis – found in SE greenland-rimer fjord near hot springs withOphioglossum azoricum and moonwort

    1. Does look like some kind of Woodsia, but there’s not quite enough detail to be sure. Woodsia ilvensis has quite hairy fronds, which I would expect to be visible, and I’m not seeing that. W. alpina is less hairy so it could be that; W. glabella is hairless. I’m not familiar with the flora of Greenland but it seems both of the latter have been recorded there, although W. ilvensis is much more common.

  60. I do not know
    When photographing ferns for identification purposes, the underside, the side with the sporangia, is as important as the top side. Woodsia has very distinctive sporangia.
    Roger has a picture here

  61. This is a “form” of Polystichum setiferum (soft-shield fern). The victorians were very keen on these things and dug them up. It is most likely it is a garden escape but it is also possible it is “natural”
    I will ask our cultivar experts for a name
    In the meantime, you can look here for some examples of Polystichum setiferum cultivars

    1. Hi Kelly
      Andrew asked me to have a look at this cultivar of Polystichum setiferum as he said it could be a spore escape but they were originally found in the wild so it could be what I would call a happy accident of nature. I.D. wise it would be put under Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum Group
      Take care Julian

  62. Hi ! Can you help me to identify this fern, found in New Zealand on February ? I think it’s a Pteridaceae. Thanks for your answer.

  63. We are wondering if it could be Paesia scaberula
    see here
    What do you think?
    I grow this outside in Hampshire UK and it is strongly deciduous
    In the summer it has a strong musty kind of smell

  64. It is indeed Paesia scaberula. It is endemic to New Zealand and relatively common and weedy. In New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants it specifically mentions that the sticky glandular hairs (visible in the photos) are strongly scented in warm weather. Paesia is in the Dennstaedtiaceae family, which includes bracken.

    1. Yes, it looks like Paesia scaberula. Thank you. The pinnae seem to be variable in forms. I could send you other photos taken in same place.

  65. I have 2 forms of this fern
    One is more finely dissected than the other
    I think the “fatter” one is more beautiful (and with a more powerful smell)
    It seems it is a quite variable fern
    You can see them here (and if you page forward)

    1. Wow you’re lucky to be able to grow them !!!
      What do you think about this one ?

    1. Ok, thank you Andrew. It were a plenty species in this area (Abel Tasman, New Zealand). There are so much ferns over there, i’ve some difficulties to identify them all !

  66. Hi!

    I bought this a couple of weeks ago, but I really don’t know the species. I appreciate any help 🙂

    Best regards Jonny

  67. Hi everybody

    I have this other fern from New Zealand. I’ve found it on the Taranaki Mount. The frond is around 50cm length. I think it’s a Blechnaceae. What’s your opinion ? Thanks

    1. Hi William – it looks like Blechnum nova-zealandiae to me – though it probably has a new name since the recent re-classification!

      1. Hi Alison ! I ‘m not sure for B. novae-zelandiae. I think i’ve found B. novae-zelandiae and his biotope seems to be different : it grow in damp situation. And it’s bigger. But i’m not an expert ! 🙂

        Hi Andrew ! Yes, i know they are renamed, and it’s a bit difficult. However, your suggestion seems to be correct, Blechnum triangularifolium !

        Thank you both !

          1. Hello William,

            This looks like Blechnum montanum to me – the scales match (broader pale margins than in B. triangularifolium) and this species definitely occurs on Mount Taranaki. B. montanum is very similar to B. triangularifolium, and both are now in Parablechnum if you chose to follow the split.

  68. I have spent the day at Great Dixter and saw this unusual fern. I have not seen one like this before….do you have any ideas what it may be?? Thank you

  69. It is Adiantum pedatum or Adiantum aleuticum, I can not tell these plants apart. You can try Googling them and seeing if you can work it out

  70. Could you please tell me what this fern is, I have looked and looked to find the Scientific name and common name for it and have come up with a few names but none seem to be correct, in fact there are very few photos of this particular fern on the internet. I live in Western Australia and I have it growing in my garden (I planted it) and no one seems to know what it is. It is a little like a fish bone fern but it isn’t invasive like that is and it doesn’t have the round white marble looking things in the ground like that does.

  71. Sorry this site wont let me send this picture but you can still see what the fern looks like behind the other photo

    1. Thank you so much finally A NAME!!!!! Sorry a number of people suggested Nephrolepis and the exaltata Compacta but it isn’t that fern similar but Julian nailed it with Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Plumosa’ almost every site that I looked at with this name showed this fern. Thank you Andrew with the suggestion in Wikipedia, I had actually looked at that site before but no joy. Martin yes it does grow extremely well here and I thank you all for all your input. I have asked Horticulturists if the knew what this fern was and they all commented what a lovely fern it was but no go. Julian I thank you most of all, you have no idea how much I appreciate it!! By the way could you please tell me what book you found it in? Thank you all so much for all the help!!!

  72. It is a Nephrolepis
    I cannot tell these plants apart but you can use this link and let me know what you think
    You can post any image but it has to be smaller than a certain size
    You can look at our FAQ page for advice on making images smaller

  73. As you say a Nephrolepis there are a lot of varieties
    But I suspect N. cordiolia Plumosa from iding from books
    were are you growing it i see chicken wire in the back ground .
    take care Julian

    1. Dear Liz
      The books used were
      fern growers manual Hoshizaki and Moran fifth edition
      encyclopaedia of ferns David L Jones
      and then checked the internet as well
      take care Julian

      1. Many thanks Julian as I said very muchly appreciated. I am a part of a Western Australian Fern Facebook group and a number of people have it and not a one of us knew the name!!!! I will have to look for those books as I love ferns, just frustrated as we don’t have a lot of the ferns that other parts of the world have. Many thanks again and I have suggested to my group that if there is a fern then try this site!!!!
        All the best, Liz

        1. You are welcome any time
          another brilliant book is Sue Olsen’s
          encyclopedia of Garden ferns she is very good at telling you what conditions they like
          i.e. grows well in woodland duff!
          all my best Julian

  74. I agree with Andrew, it is almost certainly a cultivar of Nephrolepis exaltata called ‘Compacta’. Not hardy in the UK but ideal in Western Australia!

    Martin Rickard

  75. Hi there.
    Just moved into new house and slowly discovering species in my garden. Quite a wide variety of ferns… would you put me on the right track for id? I have some ideas but as I have no practice, I am less than confident.

    1. This is a cultivar of Polystichum setiferum. I will ask some of our people for more advice about the particular cultivar name

    2. difficult one can you give me more info like how old
      but looking at it its difficult to place
      it is some ware between a decompositum and a Plumoso multilobum
      could develop into the latter but it is not divided enough at present

      1. I don’t know how old as it is in the garden of a house we just moved in. House was built 10 years ago and I think gardens were landscaped maybe about 5 years ago. So I guess it will be less than 5 years old if that s of any help…

    1. Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum group could be a plumosum divisilobum but would need to see the entire frond

      1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I feel there are a bit less of a mystery and I can now practice id.

    1. This is a cultivar of Athyrium filix-femina
      If you find it a ugly as I do, you could always dig it up and burn it

    2. Athyrium filix femina Dre’s Dagger
      there are a lot of varieation in these, but this one is very nice.
      the sides of the fronds are so parallel Victoriae is more curved

  76. Thank you so much for helping with identification.
    I discovered loads more but might just ask about this one please as it looks unique compare to the others.

  77. It is a Cyrtomium, possibly fortunei
    There are quite a few Cyrtomiums available nowadays including cultivars

  78. I take that back it does have the round things tat come from the roots except they are brown!!!!

    1. Dear Sharon
      It looks like a Dryopteris affinis Cristata “The King”
      Easily grown and comes true from spores
      The crest on the top will develop in time but like all spore grown things they are a little variable.
      Take care Julian

  79. Well, a took this on my grandmother’s garden in Brazil, but they may not be from here.

    1. This fern, and the next two, are all the same thing: Adiantum raddianum.
      The key to identifying this fern (as with all ferns) is to look at the sori.
      Have a look here
      This fern is a native of South America but is widely grown as a house plant in the UK and is even hardy in the south of the UK

  80. This one look like a Rattlesnake Fern, but I’m not sure about it

  81. The others look like juvenile baby ?Davallia and perhaps baby Blechnum
    Chris F.-J.

    1. Dear Sarah
      This house plant in the UK is Blechnum gibbum Volcano new growth pinky red the straight species has just green foliage
      Not Hardy in the garden but volcano is supposed to be slightly hardier but best kept as a house plant.
      Take care Julian

  82. Hi Sarah – it looks like a small Blechnum gibbum to me. Did you get it from a garden centre? Alison

  83. Please can you identify this fern. I bought it from a gardeners market in Dartmouth a year ago. Many thanks. Ros

    1. Dear Ros
      was this from a nursery stall or a WI market as there are a lot of Adiantums imported from Holland and this will help me as i have my suspicions of what it might be.
      Take care Julian

    2. It’s a cultivar of Adiantum raddianum, possibly Adiantum raddianum ‘Lisa’.


  84. I simply got this from a local shop which had no idea what type of fern it is, and as yet I’ve not been able toI.D. it – the closest I’ve come is a broad buckler-fern ‘Dryoptoris dilatata

  85. Looks like Pteris tremula spores around easily seen as a house-plant normally
    Does not take a hard frost but some times seen growing in basement gardens in central London
    take care Julian

    1. I think it’s Pteris dentata not P. tremula (sorry Julian!) Has a rather strong, slightly acrid smell. Also not hardy – definitely a house plant.


  86. Further to previous photos, whereby some suggestions identified this fern as pteris dentata, I’m posting a few more photoes which I hope show the fern in slightly more detail, notably the ‘serrated edge to the leaf.

  87. Further to earlier responses which suggested my mystery fern could be pteris dentata, I’m hoping this ‘close up’ may help. The leaves themselves have a kind of serrated edge.

  88. I’d be very grateful if you could identify this fern growing in my garden. I think it’s a Polystichum setiferum but can’t identify it any further. The fern is about 36″ tall growing in a lime/neutral dryish soil. The frond is 21″ long, up to 6″ wide. Up to half the pinnae are branched but there is no branching to the tip of the fronds.

    1. It certainly is Polystichum setiferum
      It is perhaps a cultivar or variety but this fern is naturally variable. Sometimes you get forking as a result of stress, this year that would be drought.
      Apart from the forking, it looks fairly standard
      I have asked our cultivar experts for their opinion

      1. Thank you. I’m trying to improve my fern identification skills and am finding the Polystichums challenging! Having done some more reading I wonder if it’s a Decompositum?

  89. Dear Tanya sorry I have not replied sooner I have been down in Somerset
    This is a very unusual variation of Polystichium setiferum i would call it P. s. ‘Ramoso-pinnum’
    if you have a plant with several crowns it would be great if you could spare crowns for the National collections at Holehird and greencoombe gardens and I also have a friend who collects Polystichium varieties
    take care Julian

    1. Thanks for your reply Julian. I didn’t think it was anything particularly rare! The clump is relatively small though there is one small crown that could be divided off. I’d be reluctant to disturb it at present due to the dry weather and because it’s settling in having been moved last autumn. However, later in the year, once (if?) the weather returns to something more normalish, I’d be happy to donate a piece. Perhaps you’d like to send an email to my email address and we can discuss a bit later in the year.

  90. I’d be grateful if you would help by identifying another 2 of my garden ferns. I think this first one is a variety of Dryopteris dilitata as the scales at the base of the stem have a black stripe. The plant is approx. 24″ tall; the frond in the photo is approx. 18″ long. The stems show a lot of branching with cresting on the ends, almost looking like parsley.

      1. Dear Tanya
        it is unusual in having such large crests and branching stipe
        I think its parent would be Dryopteris dilitata lepidotata cristata but the cresting is massive for this.

  91. I think the second one is a variety of Athyrium filix-femina as it is very fine and dainty. It’s a very bushy plant, approx. 24″ tall; the frond in the photo is approx. 18 x 6″. There’s a reddish colour to the stem. All pinnae have cresting at the tips and there is a bunch of cresting at the tip of the frond.

  92. I have another fern which I found in the garden that I think is Dryopteris Felix-Mas ‘Depauperata Padley’. Could I be right?

  93. Dear David and Andrew
    I would put it as Dryopteris filix mas ‘Linearis Polydactyla’
    take care Julian

  94. It is possibly a Blechnum, see an example here
    Where does this plant come from?
    The sori are very important in identifying ferns
    The sori would be on the underneath of a mature frond
    Can you take a picture of this?

    1. Thank-you for your opinion. I took this image at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, IL and forgot to record the name of the fern. I hope to get back to this conservatory soon and take a picture on the underside of a frond.

  95. Found this fern in West Wales (Eglwysfach – between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth). I thought is was a Common male fern, but it has pointed pinnules with a spine at the tips. Then I thought perhaps it’s Soft shield fern, but the sori don’t quite seem right and there is not a ‘thumb-like’ lobe at the pinnule base. Not being an expert, I don’t know how much variation one would expect among Male ferns, and there are plenty of these at the collection site.

  96. Dryopteris dilatata
    If you follow this link, you will get to my on-line herbarium
    If you click inside the rectangles, you will expand the view, click again to go back

  97. I purchased this fern at a NCCPG plant fair about four years ago. Unfortunately when I got it home I discovered it wasn’t labelled. It has steadily grown but is still relatively small. I can’t see any discernible sori. Could you advise me as to what it might be?

  98. I think it is Phegopteris connectilis, Beech Fern
    Have a look here and see if you agree
    This is a British native but is difficult to grow
    It grows on a creeping rhizome and so will spread

    1. I hesitate to disagree with Andrew, but I think this is some sort of Dryopteris – the texture of the frond doesn’t look right for Phegopteris to me. Do the fronds arise like a shuttlecock from a central area, or does it have a running rhizome as Andrew suggests?

      1. I agree with Alison, I have been thinking the same thing myself. Do the fronds first flush with an orange colour or are they green?

  99. Here are two views of the fern in situ. The right hand view shows (hopefully) the base, which is (to me) not emanating from a rhizome. As to colour: I’m somewhat colour defective, but I do know that the fern is very much paler in the spring. I held the cut frond up against a Dryopteris Erythrosora and noted that the pinnae seem very similar. Does any of this help?

    1. Thank you for your opinion. I’m going to be patient and observe the fern in the spring and hopefully see the colour changes.

        1. Looking at the pinea of your photo I can’t see the “serrations” that are there on my fern. Also the fronds on mine are quite shiny and leathery.

          1. I found a Dryopteris Lepidopoda for sale today and I’m certain that the fern in my garden isn’t the same.

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