British ferns (Filicopsida)


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Phegopteris connectilis (Michx.) Watt

“Beech Fern”.

Thelypteris phegopteris (L.) Slosson, Dryopteris phegopteris (L.) C. Chr., Phegopteris polypodioides Fée, Polypodium phegopteris L., etc.

Sporophyte. The rhizomes long, slender; creeping (below ground); bearing scales (when young, with a few, small, brown, ovate scales).

Leaves distributed along the rhizomes; to 20–50 cm long; dying in the autumn; compound; complexly divided; once pinnate, with conspicuously divided pinnae (almost bipinnate, the pinnae being deeply pinnatifid, and characteristically with all the “pinnae” except the lowest pair attached to the rachis by their broadly decurrent bases). Pinnae 10–20 on each side of the leaf. Leaves conspicuously bent near the junction of rachis and petiole. The petioles about as long as the blades to longer than the blades (as long as to twice as long as it, slender, brittle, with a few scales at the base and sometimes a few small ones above, and the upper part usually clothed with reflexed white hairs). Leaf blades in outline ovate to ovate-triangular. The lowermost pair of pinnae rather conspicously bent backwards away from the rest. The longest pinnae the lowermost (the lowest pair longer to slightly shorter than the pair above, the remainder decreasing rapidly towards the leaf tip); 4–14 cm long. The pinnae not decreasing markedly in length basipetaly, the basal pinnae not or scarcely shorter than the longest pair. The venation of the lamina open.

The sporangia superficial; exposed; aggregated in sori. The sori sub-orbicular (small, about 0.5 mm or less in diameter, borne close to the sometimes reflexed margins of the segment); remaining discrete at maturity; naked and neither indusiate nor pseudo-indusiate.

Distribution and habitat. On acid substrates. On acid soils, in damp woods, shady rocky places and banks. Quite common in northern and western Britain, scattered in Ireland, but absent from most of southern, central and eastern England.

Vice-county records. Britain: West Cornwall, East Cornwall, South Devon, North Devon, South Somerset, North Somerset, South Wiltshire, Dorset, South Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex, Surrey, West Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Glamorgan, Breconshire, Radnorshire, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire, Montgomeryshire, Merionethshire, Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, North Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, South Lancashire, West Lancashire, South-east Yorkshire, North-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, North-west Yorkshire, Durham, South Northumberland, North Northumberland, Westmorland, Cumberland, Isle of Man, Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, Wigtownshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Peeblesshire, Selkirkshire, Roxburghshire, Berwickshire, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Fifeshire, Stirlingshire, West Perthshire, Mid Perthshire, East Perthshire, Angus, Kincardineshire, South Aberdeenshire, North Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, Moray, East Inverness-shire, West Inverness-shire, Argyll Main, Dunbartonshire, Clyde Isles, Kintyre, South Ebudes, Mid Ebudes, North Ebudes, West Ross, East Ross, East Sutherland, West Sutherland, Caithness, Outer Hebrides, Orkney islands, Shetland. Ireland: South Kerry, North Kerry, West Cork, Leix, West Galway, Offaly, Wicklow, Dublin, Meath, Longford, West Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Louth, Fermanagh, East Donegal, West Donegal, Tyrone, Armagh, Down, Antrim, Londonderry.

Classification. Family Polypodiaceae (C.T.W.); Thelypteridaceae (Swale and Hassler); Thelypteridaceae (Stace). Order Athyriales (Swale and Hassler).

Illustrations. • P. connectilis: as P. polypodioides, Eng. Bot. 1847 (1886). • P. connectilis: Sowerby and Johnson (1859). • British Thelypteridaceae (inter alia).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2004 onwards. British ferns (Filicopsida). Version: 4th January 2012.’.