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Fern ID

turmericturmeric Posts: 643

Happy Friday everyone.  Can anyone identify these two ferns?  I've taken about 6 pics (long shot, close up and reverse of each of two fronds).  I think they're two different types as both are fully grown but one is 85cm long, the other 70cm.  Both plants were still in leaf yesterday so I'm thinking evergreen?  My thoughts are Polystichum setiferum, what do you think?

Many thanks.



  • turmericturmeric Posts: 643

    Doh. Forgot the photos!


  • It's definetly from the Dryopteridaceae family, but the Polystichum setiferum leaves are more compact. Work your ay down this list and perhaps you find it (sorry, it's in swedish, the english version was not as good):äjonväxter

  • turmericturmeric Posts: 643

    Er, that list could take some time to go through.  But thanks anyway.image

  • Then try this plant key:

  • turmericturmeric Posts: 643

    Thanks for your help Fire Lily.  I was hoping a fern buff would just tell me what they were.  I'll go through various websites over the weekend when I have more time.

    Thanks again.


  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,808

    j and h

    Been scratching my head over this one ! My own Polystichum setiferum (an exceptionally variable sp.) resembles your first three pics. Even ardent pteridophiles have difficulty giving positive IDs to ferns .

    The next set of pics , and this is the closest I can determine , is a greenish blue form of the above known as Polystichum setiferum 'Proliferum Wollastonii' . I had this plant until the awful winter of 2009/10 when it succumbed to -14C ; think it originates from New Zealand or Australia . It used to form tiny 'fernlets' on older stems which weighed the fronds to ground level and root accordingly , hence the origin of the specific epithet :- (prolific) .

    Incidentally , I'm in E.Lincs , and expecting the worst (weather) beginning tomorrow night . Have a large Dicksonia at the end of the garden ; hope it's OK . Had it 20-years and I think and hope it has acclimatised .

    Hope this has been of some help as you didn't seem to get much response to your interesting thread .

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,808

    PS  I have a variegated form of Arachnoides adiantiformis ; this also bears a resemblance to your second set of pics. in terms of frond shape and the sporangia on the undersides .

    Hell , this is getting confusing now image

  • turmericturmeric Posts: 643

    Thanks Paul.  I wanted to find out which ones they were because they were looking so strong and green in a friend's garden at this time of year, which is always useful.  I have a shady border and was thinking of having some ferns but I wanted one that grew to about a metre and stayed green for as long as possible.  It's not a big problem if I don't get them identified.

    But more importantly how is the Dicksonia?  I'm down south and we're expecting snow tomorrow.  If you haven't wrapped it would it be worth thinking about? Be a shame to lose it.

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,808


    The Dicksonia looks OK so far ! It ONLY JUST survived 09/10 winter when dropped to -14 here for three consecutive nights ; took it until May to recover . Thanks for asking .

    To me , ferns have a valuable place in a garden , giving an air of coolness and tranquility .

    Some of the Dryopteris spp. are evergreen and attain sizeable proportions , but even these need cutting back in the early Spring as they start to look tatty .

    Yes , some very chilly nights to come ; there are only so many plants you can protect .

    Good luck with the border and with the fern-hunting .

  • pbffpbff Posts: 433
    Hi @jekylandhide,
    I haven't been on the forum for a while, so haven't spotted your thread until now.
    Definately a Polystichum.
    For more info have a look on the British Pteridological Society website:

    There are lots of fern ID resources on the website and if you e-mail your photos to them, you will be sure to receive a helpful reply!
    (I have been a BPS member since last year, but they will happily answer queries from non-members).

    Hope this helps!

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