Polypodium identification workshop

I should just move to Preston Montford, I spend so much time there.  Not content with running courses and hosting events for national organisations, PM also has a close relationship with the Shropshire Botanical Society, a sort of offshoot of the BSBI, and it is through this society that I came to attend a Polypodium ID workshop in November 2014.  What is Polypodium?  This is Polypodium:cultivated PolypodiumYou’ve seen this on the tops of stone walls and on tree branches all over the place, especially in areas of high rainfall.  It’s everywhere.  Polypodium.  But did you know there are actually three species?  Or that these species hybridise making for a dizzying array of possible combinations?  Yet they all seem to look the same…….

Not so easy to ID now, eh.

Hence the workshop, organised by Martin Godfrey with Mark Duffell to pass on their top tips for identification and get more people recording to species level rather than copping out and just putting Polypodium sp. (yes, I’m pointing at myself here).

We had the benefit of plenty of fresh specimens to play with and pick apart to look at some of the important ID characters:

Polypodium vulgare showing parallel-sided frond shape

Polypodium vulgare showing parallel-sided frond shape

Polypodium vulgare showing circular sori

Polypodium vulgare showing circular sori

Polypodium cambricum showing egg-shaped fronds

Polypodium cambricum showing egg-shaped fronds

Egg-shaped frond of Polypodium cambricum

Egg-shaped frond of Polypodium cambricum

Polypodium interjectum showing leaf shape intermediate between P. vulgare and P. cambricum

Polypodium interjectum showing leaf shape intermediate between P. vulgare and P. cambricum

Sori of Polypodium: on the left, the oval sori of P. interjectum.  In the middle, the circular sori of P. vulgare.  And on the right, the shrivelled attempt at sori in the hybrid between these two species.

Sori of Polypodium: on the left, the oval sori of P. interjectum. In the middle, the circular sori of P. vulgare. And on the right, the shrivelled attempt at sori in the hybrid between these two species.

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