Sunday, 26 October 2014

Black Spleenwort, St Helens

Whilst pulling out a few weeds from the wall today, I came across this fern which I didn't recognise. It's very leathery with large brown sori (spore producing structures) on the underside. Following a bit of research it turns out it's black spleenwort Asplenium adiantum-nigrum, which amazingly is a species I've managed to avoid seeing in the past, and is therefore unsurprisingly the first I have seen in St Helens. I suppose it does occur elsewhere in the borough, but not if you believe the NBN Gateway, which has no records of the species in St Helens.

Not bad, a new species for me and possibly St Helens whilst weeding! It just goes to show that it's always worth keeping your eyes open even in the most unlikely circumstances. This takes my wall fern list to five, the others being maidenhair spleenwort, hart's-tongue fern, wall rue and male fern. The black spleenwort is still there by the way, but I'm surpressing the exact location because I don't want a mass twitch.......

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