categoryZFerns Ferns List 

GOLDEN-SCALED MALE-FERN

SCALY MALE-FERN

Dryopteris affinis agg.

Buckler-Fern Family [Dryopteridaceae]

Spores:
spores8aug spores8sep spores8sept spores8oct spores8nov

category
category8Ferns
status
statusZnative
toxicity
toxicityZhigh

SPECIMEN 1

5th July 2014, Leeds & L/pool canal, Rimrose Valley, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Has yellowish-green foliage (as opposed to the mid-green of the similar Male-Fern).


5th July 2014, Leeds & L/pool canal, Rimrose Valley, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD


5th July 2014, Leeds & L/pool canal, Rimrose Valley, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD


5th July 2014, Leeds & L/pool canal, Rimrose Valley, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Pinnules convex. Upper surface of pinnules shinier than those of the similar Male-Fern.


5th July 2014, Leeds & L/pool canal, Rimrose Valley, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Pinnules toothed only at the tip, not elsewhere as well. Underside view showing indusia which on Dryopteris species are tight torroids a nick directed away from the tip of the leaflet (pinnule). They are not yet sporing.


5th July 2014, Leeds & L/pool canal, Rimrose Valley, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Lower down the main stem (stipe) the rusty to golden scales are longer and very dense (unfortunately no photos). Here higher up the stipe they are shorter and less dense, but still golden brown.


5th July 2014, Leeds & L/pool canal, Rimrose Valley, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD


SPECIMEN 2

25th May 2012, Wrostler Barn, Grisedale Forest, Coniston Water, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD


25th May 2012, Wrostler Barn, Grisedale Forest, Coniston Water, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD


25th May 2012, Wrostler Barn, Grisedale Forest, Coniston Water, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD


25th May 2012, Wrostler Barn, Grisedale Forest, Coniston Water, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The observant reader may discern that SPECIMEN 2 differs slightly from SPECIMEN 1 in the slightly more toothed nature of one side of the pinnules, and especially of the slightly larger thumb that the pinnules nearest the rachis (main 'stem') possess. Note the much scalier rachis and side-branches.


25th May 2012, Wrostler Barn, Grisedale Forest, Coniston Water, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Scales dense and golden to rusty-golden.


25th May 2012, Wrostler Barn, Grisedale Forest, Coniston Water, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The indusia are transparent and small because they are young and yet to develop. Scales taper gradually to a fine hair.


SPECIMEN 3

A Crozier
8th April 2017, Blackbrook, Carr Mill Dam, St. Helens. Photo: © RWD
The young stage, a crozier/fiddlehead uncurling. The fern adopting the 'shuttlecock' form.


8th April 2017, Blackbrook, Carr Mill Dam, St. Helens. Photo: © RWD
Covered in shaggy, wide but tapering, golden-brown scales.


8th April 2017, Blackbrook, Carr Mill Dam, St. Helens. Photo: © RWD
The stems emerge from rhizomes below ground.


Easily mistaken for : Male-Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) and other Dryopteris species.

There are three sub-species:

  • (Dryopteris affinis ssp. affinis) which is the most common and is found throughout the range
  • (Dryopteris affinis ssp. kerryensis) which has distinctly crowded pinnules, some with asymmetrical tips (apices).
  • (Dryopteris affinis ssp. paleaceolobata) which can also resemble Narrow Male-Fern (Dryopteris cambrensis)

Your Author knows not which sub-species this may represent, but ssp. affinis is the most common and your Author just tripped over this one. Differentiation between these three sub-species and their three hybrids with Male-Fern is best left to those with considerable more experience of identifying hundreds of Dryopteris Ferns than your Author.

Hybridizes with : Male-Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) to produce Dryopteris × complexa which occurs where the two parents meet. All three sub-species of Golden-scaled Male-fern hybridize with Male-Fern creating a profusion of species often clumped together by botanists as Dryopteris × complexa agg.

The whole identity of sub-species and hybrids is in a state of flux at this time and no one can be really sure of the providence of any sub-species of affinis, least of all your Author, so all the above photos are of the aggregate (agg.) of affinis. There are two sets shown, possibly belonging to differing sub-species/hybrids. The two sets are differentiated by the date of the photo and place it was found. Your Author wishes the reader luck should he wish to differentiate them into sub-species/hybrids.


  Dryopteris affinis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Dryopteridaceae  

Distribution
 family8Buckler-Fern family8Dryopteridaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Dryopteris
Dryopteris
(Buckler-Ferns)

GOLDEN-SCALED MALE-FERN

SCALY MALE-FERN

Dryopteris affinis agg.

Buckler-Fern Family [Dryopteridaceae]