Unknown fern

Submitted by Lori S. on Mon, 02/20/2012 - 19:03

I know next to nothing about ferns, and my efforts at trying to identify this one have come to naught! These photos were taken quite high in the alpine zone in northern Banff (~2600m elevation). It looks like it should be distinctive enough that someone may recognize the genus on sight. It's growing in crevices among quartzite boulders. Any help to ID it would be appreciated.


Submitted by Mark McD on Mon, 02/20/2012 - 20:07

It reminds me of Blechnum spicant, although that species is found further west in British Columbia (so far as the Canadian distribution o the species) and up to 1400m, too low for your plant.  It'll take a better fern specialist than fern-newbie-me to figure out what it is.

Submitted by Hoy on Wed, 02/22/2012 - 02:23

I think it is Polystichum lonchitis. It is common here on calcareous soil in the mountains and it is circumpolar I think.

Submitted by Lori S. on Wed, 02/22/2012 - 20:27

Thank you very much for the input everyone!  Polystichum lonchitis seems to fit, Lis and Trond.  That's a pretty rough-looking specimen I photographed there... I could tell it was something different than the usual alpine ferns I see.  I'll keep my eye out for these in the future.