21 October 2008

Plant of the moment - broad buckler-fern

The broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) is one of the commonest fern species in Brede High Woods. The stand below is particularly vigorous and grows on top of an old, mossy pile of logs just inside the Lone Barn Gate at OS map reference TQ 8069 1947.

20081019 BHW Dryopteris dilatata 1

The roots of this plant contain filicin, apparently a substance that helps to get rid of tapeworms, and both roots and fronds have been used in the treatment of dandruff.

However, the plant is mildly toxic so the remedy might be worse than the affliction - definitely not one to try at home.

This toxicity is, perhaps, reflected in the fact that deer seem to leave it alone as they do many ferns.

Talking of which the local deer are rutting at the moment and the air frequently reverberates with the growl of a lusty stag. One friend suggested they might being trying to compete with the buzz of chain saws where some alien rhododendron is being cleared.

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