pjr457's picture

Hedgerow survey

Observed: 1st January 2012 By: pjr457
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - current student
pjr457’s reputation in Plants
Hedge suvey 013

The bracken is growing from the bank of the hedgerow but not from the flat ground on either side.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) interacts


David Jardine's picture

Is bracken evergreen?

I wonder if this another fern as Bracken is normally deciduous, but I'm not certain which one.

pjr457's picture

Is bracken evergreen?

Hi David,
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?

David Jardine's picture

Not Royal Fern

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).

pjr457's picture

Shield fern?

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.

David Jardine's picture

Base of stem?

Did you check the base of the stalk?

best wishes


pjr457's picture

Base of stem

Didn't look right at the bottom of it, no. Will do when I go to the wood again.

victoriahume's picture


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?

pjr457's picture


Hi Victoria,
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.