West Highland Flora

Soft Shield Fern


Polystichum setiferum

 

Polystichum setiferum

Photo Carl Farmer
2 Oct 2004 Storr Lochs area, Skye

Very rare in the north of the area; occasional in the south.  In damp shady places.

Fronds c 60-150 cm long.

ID: Pinnules as in bottom two pictures; only likely to be confused with Hard Shield Fern.  The difference is that on Soft SF the majority of pinnules on a pinna from near the middle of the frond form an angle of 90 or more at their base (see pic below right), at which point there is a short stalk connecting the pinnule to the pinna midrib.  In Hard SF the angle is less than 90 and the stalk is absent or is simply a narrowing of the pinnule.  Hybrids between the two have been recorded.

Other features: Fronds as soft as on the average fern, not at all glossy or stiff like Hard SF.  Darkness or paleness is no guide to id.  Tips of pinnules hair-pointed.  Lowest pinnae typically about as long as middle ones.

 

Polystichum setiferum

Photo Carl Farmer
2 Oct 2004 Storr Lochs area, Skye

  Polystichum setiferum

Photo Carl Farmer
2 Oct 2004 Storr Lochs area, Skye

Angle at base of pinnule.

Compare picture on
Hard Shield Fern
page

 

 

Polystichum setiferum

Photo Carl Farmer
2 Oct 2004 Storr Lochs area, Skye
Picture c 24 mm high

  Polystichum setiferum

Photo Carl Farmer
2 Oct 2004 Storr Lochs area, Skye
Picture c 16.5 mm high


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