Alastair Fitter
British Wildlife 35.2 November 2023

History is the key: conservation of Royal Fern at Askham Bog

Alastair Fitter, Yvonne Golding, Roland Ennos and Philip Whelpdale explore the efforts to untangle the mystery of an aging population of this most elegant fern and the wider implications for its conservation. 

Royal Fern Osmunda regalis is one of the most impressive plants in the British flora. According to Page (1982), it is the longest lived British fern and can reach 4m in height, though most sources suggest that 3m is typically the maximum (e.g. Merryweather 2020); among the other British ferns, only Bracken Pteridium aquilinum can attain this size.

Natural reflections
Scroll to Top