Polystichum setiferum - Soft Shield-fern
There is tremendous plasticity in the morphology of this fern, and several distinct types can be found growing in close proximity. Some of them have rather leathery fronds, darker in colour than usual and these would seem to be the source of those doubtful records of P. aculeatum in Cornwall (Margetts & David, 1981). There are old records for Soft Shield-fern on the Isles of Scilly and recent records include from Tresco (SV81X, 1995, C.N.French), St. Mary's, along the Higher Moors Nature Trail (SV91F, 1995, C.N.French), St. Agnes (SV80U, 1998, C.N.Page) and St. Martin's (SV91M, 1998, C.N.Page). The accompanying distribution map for Soft Shield-fern indicates that it is missing from many exposed areas such as much of the north coast and Bodmin Moor.
Click here to see Aphotoflora images by David Fenwick
French, C.N., Murphy, R.J. & Atkinson, M. 1999. Flora of Cornwall. Wheal Seton Press, Camborne.