Asplenium adantium-nigrum Aspleniaceae Black Spleenwort

Asplenium adantium-nigrum 39kb

Description - A fern with small fronds, but relatively tough with a wiry stems. They will achieve about 15cm when thriving, but are often much shorter. The general outline of each individual frond is triangular i.e. it is widest at the base, whereas Lanceolate Spleenwort, A. obovatum, is widest towards the middle of the frond. Black Spleenwort usually has a blackish base to the stem, but this is not a reliable character to separate it from Lanceolate Spleenwort.

Habitat - Commonly found growing in walls in the mortared cracks between the granite stones. It can be found thus throughout the island. It is quite happy to grow in very dry conditions in the full sun.

Comments - A common fern in Guernsey. It is sometimes hard to distinguish from Lanceolate Spleenwort, with which it hybridises to form the Guernsey Spleenwort, A. x sarniense, first discovered in 1971, and not known anywhere else in the world. There are about 24 plants known at present, and it is very hard to tell in the field. Black Spleenwort is also known to hybridise with ,Hart's Tongue Fern Phyllitis scolopendrium, to form the extremely rare Jackson's Fern, x Asplenophyllitis jacksonii, an intergeneric hybrid.



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