Ophioglossum vulgatum

Keep an eye out for this small green fern, with a fleshy single ‘leaf’, usually only a few cm high. It appears in spring with the fertile “tongue” ripening from March to August.

It is tolerant of a wide range of soil types; in old damp pastures, sometimes on lawns and in churchyards, limestone and chalk grassland, old quarries, damp peaty sites and amongst bracken, in woods, copses and hedge banks.

The distribution of this plant in Somerset is shown below (updated March 2021). Liz McDonnell has prepared a spreadsheet of sites to be searched which can be downloaded here. It consists mainly of sites from the Atlas Flora of Somerset project which have not been re-visited since.

Distribution of Ophioglossum vulgatum in Somerset, mapped using MapMate.
Black dots are 2000- records; red squares are 1987-1999 records; sepia squares are pre-1987 records