Friday, July 17, 2009

Broidered bracken

Under the hedge across the lane in front of our house is a frond of bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) that is very different from the norm.

The pinnae and pinnules are congested and twisted giving the very healthy-looking frond a 'crispy' appearance.  No weed killer is used in our area, so it is not a 'herbicide morph'.

20080709 South View bracken var 038

I e-mailed the above picture to Graham Ackers, a friend from the British Pteridological Society, and he replied "I do not think this variation has been given a botanical name, but horticulturally (if anyone was foolish enough to cultivate it) this would be Pteridium aquilinum 'Crispatum'".  He adds that this form is "occasional to rare".

'Broidered' by the way was a word I made up only to discover via Google that it already exists and seems quite appropriate for my bracken frond.  Maybe I had seen the word somewhere before and tucked it into the back of my brain.  The translator of Voltaire's philosophical dictionary, for example, described love as "the stuff of nature broidered by nature" (C’est l’étoffe de la nature que l’imagination a brodée).  Not that I have actually read Voltaire's philosophical dictionary.

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