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Ferns

This page lists a selection of books about the wild ferns of Great Britain and Ireland. A number of wider ranging books about ferns are also included.

Gardening related books about ferns are not included.

The books are arranged by publication date with the most recent at the top.

 

Fern Names and their Meanings

J.W. Dyce

BPS Special Publication No. 2

British Pteridological Society

2nd edition

2016

"First published by J.W. Dyce in 1988, and now fully revised and much enlarged. Includes the etymology of generic names of European and many horticultural ferns, the meaning of their specific epithets, glossaries of technical terms and varietal names, and a checklist of current and previous names of all ferns recorded in the British Isles."

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Some Taxa within the Dryopteris affinis complex: A Field Guide

Ken Trewern

Edited and expanded by Anthony Pigott and Alison Evans

BPS Special Publication No. 13

British Pteridological Society

2014

"The scaly male ferns are fascinating plants that many people have difficulty in identifying. In his pictorial guide, the late Ken Trewren illustrated and explained the main distinguishing features of many of the recognisable forms covering the species, subspecies, and hybrids that appear in Staceís 2010 New Flora of the British Isles along with some that have not yet been formally named. A great strength of this book lies in the detailed photographs of the key features used for recognising these ferns. Ken Trewren painstakingly put together this remarkable set of images over years of study of the Dryopteris affinis complex."

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Who Found Our Ferns?

John Edgington

BPS Special Publication No. 12

British Pteridological Society

2013

"Who found our ferns? tells the story of the discovery of Britainís pteridophytes, from Saxon times to 2012. The lives of those who noticed, collected and described our ferns, horesetails, quillworts and clubmosses are interwoven with accounts of how, where and when they found them."

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Ferns, Clubmosses, Quillworts and Horsetails Of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Rosaline J. Murphy, Christopher N. Page, Rosemary E. Parslow and Ian J. Bennallick

Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

2012

"Within the British Isles, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have a remarkably rich and varied fern flora, and this book is the culmination of many years of study by the authors of these enigmatic plants. An invaluable guide to over 70 ferns clubmossess, quillworts and horsetails, this book covers species (both native and introduced), subspecies, varieties and hybrids. Each account has a short description of the plant where relevant; the distribution in Europe (including the British Isles); and habitats and distribution in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly."

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What's That Fern: Find Out About Our Common Native Ferns

British Pteridological Society

2012

A 16 page guide that covers 19 common British fern species. The guide can be downloaded from the British Pteridological Society website.

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Fern Ecology

Editor: Klaus Mehltreter, Lawrence R. Walker and Joanne M. Sharpe

Cambridge University Press

2010

"Presented here is the first comprehensive summary of fern ecology, with worldwide examples from Siberia to the islands of Hawaii. Topics include a brief history of the ecological study of ferns, a global survey of fern biogeography, fern population dynamics, the role of ferns in ecosystem nutrient cycles, their adaptations to xeric environments and future directions in fern ecology. Fully illustrated concepts and processes provide a framework for future research and utilization of ferns for graduate students and professionals in ecology, conservation and land management."

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Biology and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes

Editor: Tom A. Ranker and Christopher H. Haufler

Cambridge University Press

2008

"With their team of contemporary scholars, the editors present a thorough coverage of fundamental topics necessary for obtaining an up-to-date understanding of the biology of ferns and lycophytes. The book is organized into major topics that build from the individual and its biochemistry and structure, to genetics and populations, to interactions among individuals and the conservation of species, and concludes with perspectives on evolutionary history and classification. Each chapter is organized to review past work, explore current questions, and suggest productive directions for continued discoveries about these fascinating groups of organisms. Written for upper undergraduates, graduates and academic researchers, Biology and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes fills a major gap in biological, organism-level, evolutionary literature by providing a review of the biology and evolution of this important group of vascular land plants."

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The Fern Guide: A Field Guide to the Ferns, Clubmosses, Quillworts and Horsetails of the British Isles

James Merryweather

Field Studies Council

3rd edition

2007

"This AIDGAP identification guide covers the 59 species of fern, 6 clubmosses, 3 quillworts and 8 horsetails found in the British Isles. Designed for use with living adult specimens in the field, the guide starts with an introductory key to the main groups. Further illustrated keys take identification to species level. Commonly found hybrids are included."

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The Liverworts, Mosses and Ferns of Europe

W. Frey, J-P. Frahm, W. Lobin

English edition revised and edited by T.I. Blockeeel

Harley Books

2006

"This entirely new English edition, comprehensively revised and edited by T.L. Blockeel, has been translated from German, with some additional text, by the authors. In the past ten years there have been many advances in our knowledge of the taxonomy and distribution of European bryophytes and pteridophytes, all of which have been taken into account in this, the first English translation of Die Moos und Farnpflanzen Europas, published in its sixth edition in 1995 as Volume 4 of the highly regarded Kleine Kryptogamenflora. The structure of the book takes the form of an extended key to just under 2000 European species in which families and genera are keyed out mostly as single units. The format is that of a field guide. The systematic arrangement of the book largely follows the structure of the keys inherited from the previous edition, and the sequence of the text, with few exceptions, follows that of the excellent published figures."

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Guide to Common Ferns

James Merryweather

Field Studies Council

2005

"This ferns identification guide features colour images of the commonest 38 species of ferns (and allied plants) found in Britain and Ireland. The fern identification chart uses simple fern identification keys, accompanied by a precise glossary of the technical terms. A straightforward visual guide to frond architecture and line drawings of key features are also included."

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Fern Books and Related Items in English Published Before 1900

Nigel Hall and Martin Rickard

BPS Special Publication No. 9

British Pteridological Society

2006

"Bibliographies are fascinating sources of information and invaluable to researchers of the topics they cover. As the authors explain in the introduction, this special publication has been a long time in preparation, but the extensive checking and re-checking has resulted in a book that is as complete as the authors could make it. Here can be found details of authors, titles with details of their publishers, editions and reprints, books of pressed ferns, catalogues of ferns for sale and advertising ephemera. Some of these books are comparatively common, but others are incredibly rare. This publication will be the starting place for any pteridologist, librarian or bibliophile interested in books on ferns. It will enable them to assess their collections and look out for necessary additions."

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New Atlas of Ferns & Allied Plants of Britain & Ireland

Editor: A.C. Wardlaw, A. Leonard

BPS Special Publication No. 8

British Pteridological Society

2nd edition

2005

"This spiral-bound handbook contains 93 distribution maps of the ferns and allied plants, including naturalised aliens and hybrids, of Britain and Ireland. The maps, which show natives as blue dots and aliens in red, and their accompanying texts, were copied under licence from New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora, eds. Preston et al. (2002) [Oxford University Press]. The maps are presented in alphabetical order of Latin name, from Adiantum capillus-veneris to Woodsia ilvensis. The inside covers carry lists of the Latin and common names and there are three pages of references to the original literature."

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A Natural History Of Ferns

Robbin C. Moran

Timber Press

2004

"A Natural History of Ferns is an entertaining and informative look at why ferns and their relatives are unique among plants. Ferns live in habitats from the tropics to polar latitudes, and unlike seed plants, which endow each seed with the resources to help their offspring, ferns reproduce by minute spores. There are floating ferns, ferns that climb or live on trees, and ferns that are trees. There are poisonous ferns, iridescent ferns, and resurrection ferns that survive desert heat and drought. The relations of ferns and people are equally varied. Moran sheds light on Robinson Crusoe's ferns, the role of ferns in movies, and how ferns get their names. A Natural History of Ferns provides just what is needed for those who wish to grow ferns or observe them in their habitats with greater understanding and appreciation."

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Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of Britain and Northern Europe

Richard Fitter and Ann Farrer

Collins Pocket Guides

Collins

2002

"A photographic guide to the wild grasses and ferns of Britain and Northern Europe."

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The Ferns of Britain and Ireland

C.N. Page

Cambridge University Press

2nd edition

1997

"This user-friendly field-guide describes and illustrates the ferns, clubmosses, quillworts and horsetails native to Britain and Ireland, giving comprehensive entries for over 100 species and hybrids. Each entry gives a brief 'pen picture' which outlines the key features of each species, supported by clear and informative frond silhouette illustrations. Valuable additional information on distribution, ecology and biology is provided in the form of 'Field Notes'. Many improved silhouette illustrations have been prepared for this updated edition and additional material on difficult groups, such as the spleenworts and buckler ferns, has been included. The accessible style and format of the first edition has been retained, enabling many European as well as British ferns to be identified accurately by amateurs and professionals alike."

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Welsh Ferns

G. Hutchinson, B.A. Thomas

National Museums & Galleries Of Wales

1997

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Ferns, Mosses and Lichens Of Britain: Northern & Central Europe

Hans Martin Jahns

Collins Photo Guide

1996

"This photoguide to ferns, mosses and lichens covers over 750 species, concentrating particularly on those most likely to be encountered and identifiable without the use of a microscope. Chapters describe the structure, reproductive methods and ecology of each of the plant groups."

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The Illustrated Field Guide To Ferns And Allied Plants Of The British Isles

Clive Jermy, Josephine Camus

Illustrations: Peter Edwards

Natural History Museum Publications

1991

"This book aims to provide a tool for the amateur botanist, naturalist or other interested person who wants to name a fern, horsetail or clubmoss found wild in Britain or Ireland. Silhouettes and detailed drawings are annotated to guide the reader to the distinguishing features of each species, and, as a result, detailed written descriptions and comparisons are kept to a minimum. Diagnostic features are printed in bold. For those who want to delve further, or who want to compare the detailed structure and distribution of these pteridophytes, there are more comprehensive books available."

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A World Of Ferns

J. Camus, C. Jermy, B. Thomas

Natural History Museum Publications

1991

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The History of British Pteridology

Editor: J.M. Camus

BPS Special Publication No. 4

British Pteridological Society

1991

"This multi-author work by leading pteridologists was produced to mark the Centenary of the BPS in 1991. Wide-ranging and very readable, it provides a satisfying overview of the personalities and developments that shaped the BPS. From fossil ferns through antique books, to conservation and horticulture, it gives essential background information on pteridology, including a summary history of the BPS, through the eyes of fern enthusiasts. Illustrated with black and white photographs."

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The Cultivation and Propagation of British Ferns

J.W. Dyce

BPS Special Publication No. 3

British Pteridological Society

1991

"After a brief introduction to fern anatomy and life history, the main part of this publication deals with fern habitats in the wild and the cultural requirements needed in a garden. It describes how to grow ferns from spores, vegetative propagation, and the few diseases to which ferns are liable. It goes on to recommend the species and cultivars suitable for different habitats within a British garden, and the best of the foreign hardy ferns. Illustrated with black and white photographs."

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Colour Identification Guide to the Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of the British Isles and North-Western Europe

Francis Rose

Viking

1989

"Essential reading for both the amateur gardener and professional botanist, this is a definitive and comprehensive guide to all the native and naturalized grasses, sedges, rushes and ferns to be found in the British Isles, and all those that are frequently found in north-western Europe. Over 420 species are described and over 350 are illustrated in full colour plates of exceptional beauty and accuracy."

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Ferns

Christopher N. Page

New Naturalist 74

Collins

1988

"Ferns are ubiquitous on this damp island, but often overlooked, overshadowed by the interest in the technicolour of our flowering plants. This book gives the reader an introduction to the reasons for the variety of ferns in the British Isles, as well as the history of their development within this landscape and their use by man. Taking each major habitat, Dr Page details which species of ferns are most likely to be encountered and why. Using numerous examples, he also shows how some species have become highly adapted to their environment using a whole range of strategies varying from the ordinary to the bizarre."

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Somerset Ferns: A Field Guide

Pat Hill-Cottingham

Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society

1989

"This practical book includes basic information, clearly explained, about fern structure and life-cycle, together with keys for identification and illustrated descriptions of all the Somerset species."

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Fern Names and their Meanings

J.W. Dyce

BPS Special Publication No. 2

British Pteridological Society

1988

A second edition of this book was published in 2016.

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British Ferns

Ron Freethy

Crowood Press

1987

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The Ferns of Britain and Ireland

C.N. Page

Cambridge University Press

1985

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Guide To The Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of Britain and Northern Europe

Richard Fitter and Ann Farrer

Collins

1984

"Comprehensive coverage of all the grasses, sedges, rushes, and ferns of the British Isles, NW Europe, Scandinavia and Iceland."

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Grasses, Ferns, Mosses & Lichens Of Great Britain & Ireland

Roger Phillips

Pan Books

1981

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Welsh Ferns, Clubmosses, Quillworts and Horsetails

H.A. Hyde, A.E. Wade, S.G. Harrison

National Museum Of Wales

1969

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Last updated September 2017