The bracken is growing from the bank of the hedgerow but not from the flat ground on either side.
No interactions present.
I wonder if this another fern as Bracken is normally deciduous, but I'm not certain which one.
Thanks for your comment. I ummed and ahhed between bracken and royal fern because of the smooth stalks. My book just says some are evergreen but not which ones!
Can anyone else recognise this fern as anything else?
This is not Osmunda (Royal fern), which is rare and has much larger rounded 'leaflets' on its infertile fronds, but I wonder if it is a Polystichum - one of the Shield ferns which are evergreen. The branching pattern is more akin to this group than bracken (which usually has branches off the main stem).
The only shield fern in my book has a 'stalk clothed with brown scales' which is why I didcounted it. My fern has smooth stalks.
Did you check the base of the stalk?
Didn't look right at the bottom of it, no. Will do when I go to the wood again.
Does the species resemble a shuttle-cock in growth pattern?
If it's growing in a clump i.e. more than a few leaf fronds coming from the same basal area (sorry i can't remember the technical terms) then it's not bracken. Bracken, whilst a clonal species tends to grow as individual fronds or stems.
Without more detailed photos of the key ID features I would say it looks like a dryopteris species to me, probably Dryopteris filix-mas. Look at the base of the stem for the brown scales.
Also, are there any spores on the back of the leaf?
Sadly the recent frosts have damaged the fronds. There are no spores on the back of the leaves and no hairs at the base of the stems. The fronds appear to grow singly from the rhizome and there is no shuttlecock like appearance in the centre. Having looked in my field guide it still looks more like bracken than male fern to me.
Lat/Lng: 54.9165, -2.9595
OS grid ref: NY385583
Kingmoor Coppice in Kingmoor Nature Reserve