Sunday 19 May
Killarney fern (Trichomanes speciosum)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Killarney fern fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Killarney fern description
This distinctive fern is one of three European species with translucent (semi-transparent) leaves. There can be as many as several hundred leaves, growing from the creeping root, depending on the size of the plant colony. The Killarney fern was only discovered in 1724.
- Trichomanes remarquable.
- Leaf length: 200-350 mm
Killarney fern biology
Uniquely, Killarney fern occurs in two forms in the UK. One is called a gametophyte, is more common, and is the sexual form of the plant. This is perennial, capable of spreading vegetatively, and found in dark caves or crevices. It was only discovered in the UK in 1989. The other form is called a sporophyte, is much rarer, and is the ferny form of the plant.Top
Killarney fern range
This fern is found mainly in Ireland, Brittany (north-western France), the Canaries, Madeira and the Azores. In Britain it is found in two stages, one of which is rare and found from a few sites in the west of the country. The other, more numerous stage, is widely scattered, but more common in the west.Top
Killarney fern habitat
Killarney fern requires a humid, frost-free environment, and in Britain, is restricted to shady, sheltered ravines with waterfalls, or places with similar conditions.Top
Killarney fern status
Classified as Vulnerable in the UK. Protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (as amended). Listed unded Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive, and Appendix 1 of the Bern Convention.Top
Killarney fern threats
During the Victorian period in the UK, there was a craze for collecting ferns from the wild, in order to grow them for ornamental purposes. It is likely that the rare Killarney fern was over-collected, and has not been able to recover its populations back to former numbers.
Today, there may be further threats from eager collectors and photographers, and activities which alter the humidity and the water quality of the sites.Top
Killarney fern conservation
Discovery of the differing forms of the plant has lead to an increased interest in the Killarney fern. It is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plans (UKBAPs), and included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme (SRP).
Surveys across the country have revealed new sites of the fern, and genetic research has enabled more effective conservation measures. Although the sporophytes are still rare, there are fewer fears now about the future survival of the Killarney fern. However, it could still fall prey to collectors, and the fern is strictly protected by law.Top
Information supplied by English Nature.
- Plants that live for at least three seasons; after an initial period they produce flowers once a year.
- Vegetative reproduction
- Type of asexual reproduction (reproduction without recombination of genetic material) that results in the propagation of plants using only the vegetative tissues such as leaves or stems. The resulting plant is genetically identical to the original plant. A well-known example of this is the reproduction of strawberry plants from 'runners'.
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.