Wednesday 23 June 2010

The "Polypodium Committee"

Polypodium cambricum 'Omnilacerum Rickard' (in August 2008)

I've spent much of today with a group from the British Pteridological Society, discussing the possibilities and practicalities of the society becoming an International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) for Polypodium. Like so many fern genera, Polypodium contains a tangle of names, many relating to long-extinct and mostly forgotten selections made in the period of the Victorian fern craze, and saddled with complicated names in which a descriptor in Latin is coupled with the name of the finder or raiser. The aim of producing a register is to bring order to these and provide at least basic information on the cultivars in question - though I would really like it turn into a guide to this interesting and useful genus of winter-green ferns.

It was a good, productive meeting, and afterwards we toured the grounds of Colesbourne Park to look at the ferns there. Unfortunately there are not many polypodies visible at present, as they are still in their summer resting phase (and may be there some time if the current warm dry weather persists), but there were enough other ferns visible to keep everyone happy.


  1. Dear John, I grow many ferns in my own garden and do feel that they tend to be somewhat undervalued generally. I wonder if Martin Rickard was one of your group at Colesbourne?

  2. Hi Edith - thanks for your comments. Couldn't agree more - ferns are totally undervalued. Will post more about them in due course. Yes, Martin was one of the group.



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