British ferns (Filicopsida)


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Phyllitis scolopendrium (L.) Newm.

“Hart’s-tongue Fern”.

Scolopendrium vulgare L.

Sporophyte. The rhizomes short, stout; ascending to erect; densely bearing scales (with narrow, brown scales, their cell walls dark). Plants with no clear distinction into fertile and sterile leaves.

Leaves aggregated terminally; to 10–60 cm long; persistent; simple; entire, or entire to somewhat lobed (the blades strap-shaped, cordate at the base). The petioles shorter than the blades to about as long as the blades (up to half as long, but usually much less, scaly); vascularised via a single strand (representing fusion of a pair of leaf traces). Leaf blades leathery to ‘herbaceous’. The venation of the lamina open (sparingly dichotomised, almost to the margins).

The sporangia superficial; protected; aggregated in sori. The sori elongated (and paired, along lateral veins of the leaf, with one member of each pair on the uppermost fork of a main vein, and the other on the lowermost fork of the next one, each usually occupying more than half the leaf width); remaining discrete at maturity; with a true indusium. The indusia attached on one side along a vein (the elongate indusia of the pairs of sori opening towards each other). The mature spores with a perispore.

Distribution and habitat. On base-rich substrates, on neutral substrates, and on acid substrates. In shady, moist rocky places, woods, banks and walls. Common throughout the British Isles, except for its scattered distribution in northern Scotland.

Vice-county records. Britain: West Cornwall, East Cornwall, South Devon, North Devon, South Somerset, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, South Wiltshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, South Hampshire, North Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex, East Kent, West Kent, Surrey, South Essex, North Essex, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, East Suffolk, West Suffolk, East Norfolk, West Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Northamptonshire, East Gloucestershire, West Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Glamorgan, Breconshire, Radnorshire, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire, Montgomeryshire, Merionethshire, Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Anglesey, South Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, 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, Channel Islands. Ireland: South Kerry, North Kerry, West Cork, Mid Cork, East Cork, Waterford, South Tipperary, Limerick, Clare, North Tipperary, Kilkenny, Wexford, Carlow, Leix, South-east Galway, West Galway, North-east Galway, Offaly, Kildare, Wicklow, Dublin, Meath, West Meath, Longford, Roscommon, East Mayo, West Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Louth, Monaghan, Fermanagh, East Donegal, West Donegal, Tyrone, Armagh, Down, Antrim, Londonderry.

Classification. Family Polypodiaceae (C.T.W.); Aspleniaceae (Swale and Hassler); Aspleniaceae (Stace). Order Aspleniales (Swale and Hassler).

Sterile hybrids of P. scolopendrium with Asplenium species are x Asplenophyllitis confluens (Moore ex Lowe) Alston (with A. trichomanes); x Asplenophyllitis jacksonii (Alston) Lawralrée (with A. adiantum-nigrum); and x Asplenophyllitis microdon (Moore) Alston (with A. obovatum).

Illustrations. • P. scolopendrium: as Scolopendrium vulgare, Eng. Bot. 1884 (1886). • P. scolopendrium: Sowerby and Johnson (1859). • Phyllitis scolopendrium (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.’.