categoryZFerns Ferns List 

BLACK SPLEENWORT

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum

Spleenwort Family [Aspleniaceae]  

Spores:
spores8jul spores8july spores8aug spores8sep spores8sept spores8oct spores8nov

category
category8Ferns
status
statusZnative

16th June 2009, Clints & grykes, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
In a protective gryke niche on limestone pavement.


6th April 2013, canal bridge, MB&BC, Radcliffe, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
Inhabits walls and niches as long as somewhere alkalinity is assured, and in the mortar it is.


16th June 2009, Clints & grykes, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
The fronds are a light green in colour, the stems doubly-grooved from above.


16th June 2009, Clints & grykes, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
The fronds form an almost space-filling fractal pattern.


16th June 2009, Clints & grykes, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD


16th June 2009, Clints & grykes, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
The stems are half-rounded on the obverse without the two grooves of the upper surface. Too early in the year for the spores to have formed.


6th April 2013, canal bridge, MB&BC, Radcliffe, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
Leaves 10 - 50 cm long, this one on the short side.


6th April 2013, canal bridge, MB&BC, Radcliffe, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The reverse of a secondary leaflet a long while after the sporangia were ripe (between July and Nov).


6th April 2013, canal bridge, MB&BC, Radcliffe, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The remains of the spore cases after releasing the spores.


Easily confused with : Parsley Fern but that has only one groove on the upper-surface of the mid-rib rather than the two of Black Spleenwort.

A similar Western Black Spleenwort (Asplenium onopteris) grows only in Ireland, again on limestone ricks. It has more delicate and narrower yellowish-green leaves with the secondary leaflets narrowly pointed throughout their length. It has longer stalks with the reddish-brown coloration extending to the mid-ribs.

Occupies niches in walls, rocks, and hedge-banks. Most common in the West of the UK.

There seems to be a quite pronounced variation in the fronds of Black Spleenwort, even on other websites, many looking un-like the drawings in Blamey, Fitter and Fitters 'Wildflowers of Britain and Ireland' book, and this includes the specimen shown here. It could be that myself (and several other websites) have identified these wrongly, or it could be that the differences reflect real variations in appearance, your Author knows not. If anyone does, do please get in touch.

However, the numerous recorded hybrids of Black Spleenwort cannot account for this apparent variability because they are all very rare and none occur anywhere near the North West of England, and nearly all of the once few locations are now devoid of any hybrids.

Hybridizes with :

  • Forked Spleenwort (Asplenium septentrionale) to produce Asplenium × contrei only ever found in one hectad in North Wales, not been seen since 1999.
  • Hart's-tongue (Asplenium scolopendrium) to produce Asplenium × jacksonii only found in one or two hectads in Cornwall and an island SW of Penzance.
  • Irish Spleenwort (Asplenium onopteris) to produce Asplenium × ticinense only found in one or two hectads in Southern Ireland.
  • Lanceolate Spleenwort (Asplenium obovatum) to produce Asplenium × sarniense which has once to be found in Ireland in one hectad , but now only in one or two islands south west of Penzance.


  Asplenium adiantum-nigrum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Aspleniaceae  

Distribution
family8Spleenwort family8Aspleniaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Asplenium
Asplenium
(Spleenworts)

BLACK SPLEENWORT

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum

Spleenwort Family [Aspleniaceae]  

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