Anogramma leptophylla   Jersey Fern RRR DDD N

Anogramma leptophylla (Guernsey) Anogramma leptophylla (Jersey)

Left hand Photo 2004

Towards the end of a successful day's botanising on a day trip to Jersey from Guernsey, two botanist friends and I decided to look for the Jersey Fern which had long since dried up and died in the Summer heat on the one site on Guernsey.

We were told that there was little chance because this plant, the only British annual fern (it has a perennial gametophyte producing annual sporophytes), usually appears in winter (November or December) and has usually completely disappeared by March. The Spring and early Summer had been very dry and, I must admit that I was extremely sceptical, betting we wouldn't find anything and describing the hunt for this plant as a wild goose chase.

My optimistic and persistent friend David insisted we look and almost immediately he found the very last plant of the year, protected from the worst of the sun and drought in a little mini-cave in the roadside bank where it grows.  It was rather pale and didn't have the tall bright green fronds illustrated in most fern books but not bad for June!

Right Hand Photo 2005

This was one of only two plants which we found on Guernsey hidden under vegetation. We wondered about the similarity to Asplenium obovatum but young plants of that species have curled-up fronds and are shiny unlike these. Clearly these are fresh fronds so although it may well appear at first in winter, there are new plants to be seen in Spring too.

LHS Roadside bank, Jersey 21st June 2004 RHS Guernsey April 16th 2005

Added on 31st Oct 04 amended 17th Apr 05, amended 2nd Nov 07, updated 11th Jul 08, updated 27th Feb 10, updated Se3 24th Apr 10

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