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fern Adders Tongue Ferns

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Adder's Tongue Fern

Scientific name:  Ophioglossum vulgatum

Size:  Grows to about 10cm.

Distribution:  Found mostly in southern England.  Quite rare.

Flowering months:  The Adders Tongue Fern doesn't flower, but usually appears between June and August.  The remainder of the year is spent underground as a slender rhizome.

Habitat:  Found mostly on damp grassland.

Special features:  Compared with most of our other native ferns, this one is tiny and easily overlooked.  The elliptic leaves are mostly solitary, but sometimes paired.

Growing from the centre of the plant is an unbranched spike, approximately 40mm long, which contains two rows of reproductive spores.  It's this spike which gives the plant its name.

The Adders Tongue Fern is considered to be a good indicator of ancient meadows.

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