Botrychium lunaria   Moonwort C DD N

Botrychium lunaria young Botrychium lunaria whole Botrychium lunaria close

Ferns usually have the spores on the backs of leaves and instinctively one turns over the leaf to look at the pattern. Not with B. lunaria though. This fern has one blade like an ordinary fern leaf and a fertile frond with sporangia sprouting on stalks - something like an Angiosperm flower. The sporangia ripen, turn brown in colour and release the spores just like other ferns. This fern is also unusual in that it is perfectly at home on a dry heath near sea-level, the verge of a country road in the Cumbria Hills or even on a mountain ledge at over 3,000 feet.

Much commoner in the north of Britain than the south and not common at all in east Anglia, this species is nevertheless found all over the British Isles.

Roadside verge near Garrigill, Cumbria 16th June 2008 and 17th May 2008 (LHS)

Added on December 10th 2004, updated 17th June 2008, updated 5th March 2010

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