Broad Prickly Buckler FernBROAD PRICKLY BUCKLER FERN
The Broad Prickly Buckler Fern is the most variable of all our Buckler Ferns, and is difficult to distinguish from others, of which, indeed, it is regarded as a variety by many botanists, and we find it described under various names in different books. It is nearly allied to the Male Fern, but is not so tall, of a paler green, and very much broader; the general outline is nearly ovate, from one to two feet long, or rarely more; the lowest pair of pinnae not much shorter, and sometimes longer than the others.
The fronds are bipinnate; the segments of the pinnae deeply toothed, pinnatifid, or thricepinnate. Its chief characteristics are the lower pinnae not decreasing in size, and the sori, which are circular, being covered by a kidney-shaped indusium, having the margin entire. The plant in the Royal Gardens, Kew, under the name of Lastrea uliginosa, corresponds with his species.
It is one of the most common and generally distributed of our British Ferns, growing in woods and on sheltered banks throughout the kingdom. It is common on the continent of Europe and Russian Asia; and is to be found in Epping Forest, near London, in Cheshire, Norfolk, and Nottinghamshire.
This fern is by no means difficult to cultivate. It will bear exposure, if well supplied with water; but to obtain it in its beauty it must be screened from the direct heat of the sun. When potted, it requires nothing hut peat, and should be kept constantly standing in water. It is often mistaken for Nephro-dium dilatatum, especially when dried; as, indeed, in this state all plants are more difficult to recognise than when freshly gathered. Useful as is the herbarium in preserving the outlines of each plant, its style, tints, character, and texture, must of course be lost in the sameness of one now uniform body.