West Highland Flora

Soft Shield Fern x Hard Shield Fern


Polystichum x bicknellii

 

Polystichum x bicknellii

Photo John Birks
Department of Biology, University of Bergen
Aug 1983 Torrin, Skye

Very rare, perhaps mostly likely to be found among limestone rocks in shade.  Amazingly this hybrid had been found in two separate locations on Skye before the first discovery of its Soft Shield Fern parent on the island, and this parent has still not been found within 15 miles of either hybrid location.

Fronds c 50-150 cm long.

ID: Intermediate between the parents, Soft Shield Fern and Hard Shield Fern, and identification would probably need to be confirmed by an expert.  Apparently it is stiff and glossy like its Hard SF parent, so is not likely to be confused with Soft SF.  One would have to look out for an apparent Hard SF with many of the pinnules having a basal angle of >90.

Other features: Like Hard SF the lowest pinnae are much shorter than the middle ones.  The spores are shrivelled and infertile but this can only be detected with a microscope.

 

Polystichum x bicknellii

Photo John Birks
Department of Biology, University of Bergen
Aug 1983 Torrin, Skye


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