Donegal Wildlife Database - Plants - Bryophytes - Pteropsida

Blechnum spicant - Hard Fern

At first, the leaf is rounded and has almost no lobes. Then it develops into a hexagonal shape, sometimes waisted like a fiddle.


Next some leaflets begin to form. Finally, the alternate-leaflets can be seen (central specimen in right-hand image).


The lower left leaf in the left-hand image shows the classic veining structure of Hard Fern. Veins split only once into two just before the leaf margin. This vein pattern is continued into the adult form.

And here's a shot of a fully-developed specimen.

The fertile fronds are brown and have narrower pinnae than the outer, green, sterile leaves. They are held erect, presumably  in order to assist the spore distribution.


Unusually, the spores are only carried on the innermost brown leaves, which are slimmer than the sterile green leaves:

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