If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

21 November, 2010

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

The Lady Fern is a much more delicate, graceful fern than the Male Fern. It forms forms dense clumps of its 'leaves' but with a much lower, almost rosette like, form. It is also slightly paler in colour.

The Lady Fern is a native species, common throughout Dorset in damp woods, hedgerows, ditches and also amongst rocks and occasionally in marshes. Its liking to similar habitat to the Male Fern makes it harder to tell apart as there is the tendency to think that the Lady Fern is a developing Male Fern when it is, in reality, a different species in its own right.

With a magnifying glass and a good reference book then there are other features that tell them apart from other ferns but I leave that for the specialists!

Once you have mastered the difference between these two plants you are well on the way to sorting Dorset's ferns out, just the two 'Buckler Ferns' to contend with after that. Most of the other ferns are are readily identifiable.