26 September 2012

Maidenhair fern on Carmarthenshire cliffs

The maidenhair fern Adiantum capillus-veneris has been known (as a native species) from tufa cliffs [see photo 2 above] below a small Carboniferous limestone outlier at Craig Ddu since the late 1980s. The rather inaccessible cliffs SW of Llansteffan are otherwise mostly Old Red Sandstone, with dense scrub woodland, which includes much dogwood and spindle in the shrub layer. The more open sections have bloody cranesbill Geranium sanguineum, ploughman`s spikenhard Inula conyza and thyme Thymus praecox etc. Sea spleenwort Adiantum marinum grows in sea-caves.
The maidenhair fern peaked at c 60 plants in September 1998, but the two cold winters of late adversely affected this Mediterrannean species and only 5 were seen last week.

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