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Holly-fern - Polystichum lonchitis

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Species Description

Widespread and local in Northern Scotland, Northern England, Western Ireland and North West Wales (Caernarfonshire); elsewhere rare and mainly as a garden escape. Habitat includes: Basic rocky places usually above 600m such as rock-crevices, scree, ravines etc. Growing habit: Perennial, Leaf-length: Up to 60 cm.

Stace 4:

Polystichum lonchitis (L.) Roth - Holly-fern.

Leaves to 30(60)cm (including petiole much shorter than blade), 1-pinnate, hard in texture; lowest pinnae much shorter than longest ones; pinnae usually with one basal lobe but otherwise only shortly toothed, asymmetrically and narrowly triangular- to oblong-ovate; 2n=82. Native; basic rock-crevices, scree and ravines mostly above 600m (but down to 150m); local in North England, Central & North Scotland and West Ireland, Caernarfonshire, Dumfriess, rarely naturalised elsewhere in England.


  • Leaves 1-pinnate with shallowly toothed (not lobed, except for one basal lobe) pinnae, even when producing sori
  • Basal pinnae markedly shorter than longest ones; leaves ≤30(60) x 6cm

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