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In the last few weeks the hills around here have turned from a dark green to a red brown. This is the fern, bracken which has essentially finished its short growing season and has turned brown and collapsed, interestingly before the first frosts. Today bracken dominates the slopes of the hills and is seen as a troublesome and dominating weed. however although native to Britain it has not always been as widespread

‘Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) was probably not a frequent fern of the original native wildwood of Britain and Ireland. Its spread has taken place steadily from Neolithic times onward, when it  makes an appearance rather suddenly in many fossil pollen records, especially above carbon-horizons indicating its rapid rise following deforestation associated with fire destruction of original forest vegetation..’ (Page 1988 p186)

I managed to find a frond that was still green

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Unlike many of the other native ferns Bracken has the sori and indusia as a continuous fringe around the edges of the pinnae. However in many cases the sori do not seem to be produced and the fronds remain infertile. The pinnae here are more or less opposite (or sub opposite).

 

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