Monday, 30 March 2009

Wonders of Wild Flower Life

Over the next few months I shall share little bits of this book, when appropriate flowers come into bloom.

Here are Polypody Ferns growing on one of the trees along by our river.

In these parts we generally have good air quality, and proof of this is in the ferns growing on the trees (so I have heard). These Polypody ferns grow readily on oak, ash and any tree offering bark rough enough for it to find a home. The rough fissured bark collects dust and decaying leaves and rainwater, and the epiphytes soon take advantage of this, and the humous offers these perching ferns a home. They are lodgers rather than parasites. My book states: "During a spell of dry weather the absorption of moisture by their roots slows down or for the time being is suspended. But when there is a spell of wet weather, the rain streaming dwn the upper surface of the trunk and boughs cleanses the bark, and as it travels lower and lower brings down particles of dust which have been blown into the fissures by the wind. All soluble matter is in this way caught up and dissolved in the downward progress of the rain and is carried along together with the less readily soluble particles mechanically held in suspension, and ultimately deposited in the larger cracksl, where the Ferns have found lodgment, so that the requisite water and humus reaches them. Thus these perched plants are provided with all the necessitives for sustaining life and vigorous growth without contact with the soil at the foot of the tree." I am sure there is a much shorter way of putting that though!

A close-up of the Polypody fern amongst hazel and blackthorn saplings on a mossy bank.


  1. That's so interesting, I've never seen ferns growing in trees, I enlarged the photo and it's amazing. I'd never thought of rain cleansing tree bark - I like that idea. Your new book is going to be a little gem. It might have been put in fewer words but it was easy and interesting to read.

  2. It's very common round here. I think this book is a little gem and I am going to learn so much from it.

  3. Hi BB its shaz from the CL forum i found you by accident what a coincidence (i recognise some other people too)

    Love the blog i love nature too but obviously not as knowledgable as you

    Will be a regular visitor now

    See you again soon


  4. This is very interesting I have never seen ferns on trees before, i will look out for them next time i am in Wales know doubt its only in the most rural areas, have seen lichen growing on trees where the air is said to be very clean.

    Thought at first of spaghetti on trees, BBC Nationwide many years ago on April 1st.

  5. Jayne - I remember that one! The Polypody ferns on trees are very common hereabouts.

    Hi to Shaz - hope you find lots more of interest on here through the year.