Plant Guide > Ferns > Wall Rue Fern

Wall Rue Fern



Amesium Ruta muraria

The Wall Rue Fern is a little fern, if once seen, it will be easily recognised. It has densely-tufted, thick, dark green fronds, about two or three inches long. The stalk is more or less pinnately divided. The pinnae are alternate, having pinnules variable in form, sometimes longstalked, wedge-shaped, toothed, )r contracting into a roundish point above. The sori are linear, becoming united into broad patches when old. The whole form of the plant resembles the Garden Rue.

It occurs abundantly in old walls and rocks throughout England and Ireland. It seems to prefer the artificial position of a wall rather than that of a rock or bank. It is found, however, on Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, and about the Peak in Derbyshire. It is not very abundant in Scotland. More or less it is met with in every country in the world, and is one of those plants which seems to have deserted its native wilds, and to have taken up its residence near the habitations of men.

It may almost be called the Churchyard Fern, being so commonly found on old churches and churchyard walls. In a charming little book on the ferns of Devonshire it is mentioned especially as growing inside the tower of Morwinstowe Church, and round about the sad memorials of the drowned and shipwrecked sailors who lie buried there in close proximity to the devouring element which engulfed them. It is not a melancholy fern, and its bright tiny fronds, springing from their resting-places, serve to remind one of the new life which is to come, and of the "haven of rest, where no storms shall blow."

We need walk no farther from London than Greenwich Park to see it flourishing abundantly on the brick walls surrounding a part of the park; and those who are wishing to meet with it may find it most likely on the first garden-wall they pass by.

Those who desire to domesticate this fern will find it difficult to remove from its native haunts, as its wiry roots seem to intersect the bricks or pieces of rock on which it grows. It should only be removed with a portion of the wall on which it has fixed itself, and then surrounded with brick rubbish, mortar, and sandy peat. In this way it will often thrive well if sheltered from the sun and cold winds. Mr. Newman says: "It seems to disapprove of the attentions of the gardener, to loathe his waterings and his syringings, to despise his composts, and utterly to eschew the confinement of a bell-glass."