Plant Guide > Ferns > Crested Buckler Fern

Crested Buckler Fern


CRESTED BUCKLER FERN

NEPHRODIUM CRISTATUM

Synonyms:
Aspidium cristatum
Lastrea cristata
Polypodium cristatum
Polypodium Callipteris
Lothodium Callipteris

The Crested Buckler Ferm is not very common in England, but is easy to distinguish from other species. It is more prized for its rarity than its elegance. The fronds are but few in number, and rise from the crown of each growing branch of the rhizome, which is stout and strong.

They attain a height of two or more feet under favourable circumstances, and are peculiarly erect, narrowing towards the upper part. Rather more than a third of the stem is bare of pinnae, and covered with pale brown membranous scales. The sori are in two single rows, between the margin and the centre of the frond, and generally on the upper pinnules. The fronds appear in May, and the fructification is matured about August or September, soon after which, except in very mild seasons, they perish by frost. This fern is often confounded with Nephrodium Filix Mas, which, however, differs in many important points, as will be seen.

This plant is very local in its distribution, being confined to boggy heaths and moors, and occurring but in four counties of England; Nottinghamshire, Cheshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. The places recorded as producing it, are Bansey Heath, near Lynn, Fritton, Dersingham, and Edgefield, in Norfolk; Oxton Bogs and Bulwell Marshes, in Nottinghamshire; and Wybunbury Bog, in Cheshire. The Suffolk station is doubtful, but Mr. Davy is said to have gathered it on bogs among alder-bushes, at Westleton, in that county. Mr. Mackay gives this fern as a native of Ireland, and Sir W. Hooker as a native of Scotland. It is not uncommon in moist and boggy places in Europe, Asia, and North America.

It is not a difficult fern to cultivate, and bears a change of condition better than many plants which are considered more hardy. It succeeds best in a turfy peat soil without any admixture, and bears drought better than would be imagined from its love of damp shady situations. It is better adapted for out-door cultivation than for glass.