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Blechnum. Is a large genera of ferns which typically have very simple looking stiff leathery pinnatifid fronds, bold in their simple formation, which gives them a look quite distinct from most ferns. A lot are tender and like moisture while resenting lime, but of the three mentioned here the native B. spicant is a tough hardy fern which should be more grown.

Blechnum spicant AGM (E) hard fern. Hight/Spread 60cm. An elegant, medium-sized, native fern which does best in acid soil and moist shade. The long, glossy, evergreen pinnatifid sterile fronds form a fairly horizontal crown, above which the fertile fronds rise upright fertile fronds forming separate ring, which then turns brown in high summer. This can look spectacular in a well-grown plant. A high quality fern, not seen as often as it should be in gardens, though its need for lime free soil and moist shade inevitably limits its appeal.

Blechnum penna-marina AGM (E) Hight 20cm. Spreading habit. A spreading evergreen fern from the southern hemisphere. The dark green, glossy pinnatifid the infertile fronds grow to 20cm, with a second layer of sparsely spaced fertile fronds rising above them to 40cm. The new fronds are often pink flushed as they emerge. In the wild it seems to grow mainly near the sea, hence the name which means ‘Pen of the Sea’. In the garden it is tough and easy, a really good little ground cover plant. There is a smaller form B. penna-marina subsp. alpina, which only grows to ten or fifteen centimetres, some people say they find this much harder to cultivate, I have only tried it once and found that it faded away over some eighteen months.