23rd February


A mini-profile from Drumboe Wood.

Last year, when working on a troublesome identification, I discovered that the new growth of Hard Fern - Blechnum spicant - has two distinct forms:-

New growth on an existing specimen, and

New growth from a spore.

In Drumboe there is a bank where the new growth from spores can be readily seen - it's normally very well hidden in the undergrowth, and is very hard to find.

Bright with a very cold wind.

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 (picture from 2004).

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