Saturday, 24 March 2012

Ferns and Hellebore in Binscarth

Hart's-tongue Fern

Binscarth wood is a great place to see a variety of plants. At the moment as spring gets underway you can find lots of Lesser Celandines, Opposite-leaved Saxifrage, Few-flowered Garlic, Daffodils and Salmonberry in flower, while a month ago there were carpets of Snowdrops. It's also possible to see some fairly
uncommon plants including a couple of ferns that are decidedly scarce in the county. Hart's-tongue fern, according to the late Elaine Bullard, can be found on rock outcrops, caves and dark, neglected constructions - that's exactly where it can be found in Binscarth. It occurs on Hoy, in the West Mainland and on Eynhallow

Hart's-tongue Fern

Hard Shield Fern

Another fern rarity is the Hard Shield Fern which is even less common than the Hart's-tongue Fern and according to 'Wildflowers in Orkney' is found exclusively along rocky burnsides on Hoy. Since publication of 'WiO' it has been found in two other localities, Binscarth and Gyre.


And I couldn't resist putting in this photo of a Hellebore - which like the previous two plants, will not feature in the Orkney Book of Wildflowers - the Hellebore because it is a garden plant and the ferns because they are too rare.

One fern that will though is Common Polypody (below). It can be found growing on trees and dykes in Binscarth and may also be found on rock outcrops and even storm beaches.

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