Plant Guide > Ferns > Alpine Polypody Fern

Alpine Polypody Fern



Pseudathyrium alpestre

The Alpine Polypody fern bears so great a resemblance to Asplenium Filix Faemina, that it has frequently been overlooked, and considered merely a variety of that fern. The fructification is, however, very different from that of the Lady Fern; and it has a short, thick, erect, tufted caudex, forming several crowns. The fronds are from a foot to a foot and a half high; they are lanceolate, twice pinnate; the segments numerous, sharply toothed; and the leafy portion continues almost to the base of the scaly stalk. The fructification is on the back of the frond, occupying about two thirds of the upper portion of its length. The sori are small, circular, distinct, but become confluent in maturity. There is usually no indusium, but in some specimens there appears to be an abnormal development of a membrane covering the sori. The fronds are annual, and perish early in the autumn.

It is only lately that this fern has been added to our British Flora, and as yet has only been found in the Highlands of Scotland, where it grows in the greatest profusion, particularly in Forfarshire.

It is a fern which does not generally flourish well in artificial circumstances. Free air and shade, with a pure atmosphere, seem essential to it, and it is therefore not desirable to inclose it in a glass case or greenhouse, but rather to imitate its natural conditions as much as possible.