Polystichum setiferum   Soft Shield-fern CC DD N

Polystichum setiferm whole Polystichum setiferm spore

The shield ferns have this characteristic "thumb" on the leaflets of the fronds and the spores cover both the leaflets and the thumb - you can just about make this out in one or two of the leaflets. Soft shield fern is also as its name suggests softer to the touch than hard shield fern and although it isn't a conclusive identification feature I know a few botanists who use "feel" to confirm that they've discovered a P. setiferum plant.

Polystichum setiferum is common in Ireland, southern England and Wales but record begin to become scarcer as you go north until there are very few in the highlands and far north of Scotland.

Polystichum setiferum

Polystichum setiferum Soft Shield-fern

Banks of River Weaver near Kingsley, Cheshire 21st February 2005

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Polystichum setiferum Soft Shield-fern

LHS: Appleton Thorn, Warrington 21st April 2007 RHS Near Kingsley, Cheshire 21st February 2005

Added on 5th March 2005, updated 19th July 2011

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