landgirl's picture

Buckler fern

Observed: 2nd July 2013 By: landgirllandgirl’s reputation in Plantslandgirl’s reputation in Plantslandgirl’s reputation in Plantslandgirl’s reputation in Plantslandgirl’s reputation in Plants

Growing in tufts in one area of the bog. Hairs are from cotton grass.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Chris Metherell's picture


Fern lesson 3 - reprise. Look to see how many pinnate the fern is, in this case it's tri-pinnate. Then, and of course one can't do this from a photograph, turn it over. From general appearance this looks like a Dryopteris sp, the tripinnate species being known as Buckler Ferns. You could confirm by turning the frond over and looking at the spore cases. In Dryopteris these are kidney shaped. There are four buckler ferns and a good way to start working out which one you have is to take a sample of the scales from the base of the main stem. If these have a dark centre or stripe then you almost certainly have D. dilatata. If the scales are unmarked and you are in wetland area then you are probably looking at D. carthusiana, and in an upland area perhaps at D. expansa. D. aemula has dark/purple bases to the scales. There are of course other differences too. On jizz, this looks like D. carthusiana.

Chris Metherell
BSBI VC Recorder
North Northumberland

cabbageleek's picture

More likely to be D.

More likely to be D. dilitata. This plant is in tufts. D. carthusiana has long rhizomes and spreads out, particularly in soft peat. Also this plant has quite arched leaves, with the pinnea parallel to the rhachis. D. carthusiana has erect leaves with pinnea at 90o to the rachis.
D. dilitata is no less common in boggy places.
Lastly, the petioles are very short in this picture. Obviously, some of it is hidden by the sphagnum, but it still looks too short to be D. carthusiana,

landgirl's picture


The scales were plain with no dark markings. Unfortunately my photo was too blurred to include here. Others in the group (BSBI) also ID'd as D. carthusiana.

cabbageleek's picture

fair enough

fair enough