Plant Guide > Ferns > Mountain Buckler Fern

Mountain Buckler Fern


MOUNTAIN BUCKLER FERN

NEPHRODIUM OREOPTERIS

Synonyms:
Lastrea Oreopteris
Lastrea montana
Polypodium fragans

The Mountain Buckler Fern is a difficult fern to distinguish from Nephrodium Filix Max, especially when fully grown. Its fronds are lance-shaped. The pinnules dwindle at the base to a mere leafy excrescence close to the ground. The sori are placed like beads under the edges of the lobes, which do not turn back as in the Marsh Fern (Thelypteris).

Over every portion of the under surface lie numerous small, round, shining, bright-yellow glands, which give the young fronds a golden tinge, and when rubbed or bruised emit a pleasant resinous odour. The fronds make their appearance about the beginning of May, and before they unfold look like little silver balls amidst the grass. They attain a height of two or three feet, and sometimes even of five feet, according to situation.

It delights in exposed and healthy places, and dry pastures, and is found more or less throughout Europe in open districts. It grows on Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon Common, and Blackheath; also at Tunbridge Wells, and is abundant in Scotland. A special characteristic of this fern is mentioned by Mr. Newman, which is worthy of observation. He says: "Immediately the fronds begin to unroll, they exhibit the pinnae placed at right angles with the main stem, and are not convolute, as in the allied ferns."

Many persons complain of great difficulty in rearing or establishing Nephrodium Oreopteris, which after a time fades and dies, and it is almost impossible to cultivate it with other ferns in a closed case, as it requires so much more moisture than most others. The best plan to secure its continuance is to transplant it with some of its native earth into a pot with pure loam, and to keep the soil wetted during the winter, either by a constant flow of water from a siphon, or by a saucer full of water, in which it may stand.

The first plan appears the best, and might be adapted to a greenhouse or rock-work, in which the fern might be planted. Each plant seems to adapt itself to the circumstances by which it is surrounded in its earliest state ; and in transplanting wild ferns it is well to observe these closely, and adapt the artificial treatment as much as possible to them, not following exactly any one rule for the treatment of any one species. There is no difficulty in obtaining young shoots of this fern, as the seedlings are always most abundant.