A HISTORY OF SURREY FILICES Owing to the absence of any important outcrop of rock, the ferns of Surrey are naturally restricted to such species as love either woodland shade or the open heath. A very limited extent of bare rock may be seen by that part of the Eden stream which flows from Hedge Pool to Woodcock Pool, in the extreme south-eastern corner of the county, and it may be noted that the formation here is the Hastings Sands, the same as at Tunbridge jn Kent. Towards the extreme south-western corner also, between Grayswood and Killinghurst, the streams have somewhat rocky banks, but so far these have not proved productive. The most common of all, the bracken (Pteris aquilina) occurs abun- dantly in all the districts, and to it our woods and heaths owe much of their autumnal beauty. The other commoner species are the lady fern (Atbyrium Fi/ix-famina) , male fern (Nephrodium Filix-mas) , polypody (Poly- podium vu/gare),znd hard fern (Loma ria Sp icant) , while on the open heaths and moorland Nephrodium spinulosum is most general. Excepting the bracken, all of these have all but disappeared from the neighbourhood of London, and little is to be seen of the less common species within twenty miles of the metropolis. Among the latter may be mentioned the prickly shield ferns (Aspidium aculeatum and A. angu/are), marsh fern (Nephrodium Tbelypteris), abundant on several parts of Bisley Common but rare elsewhere, the spleenwort (Asplenium Tricbomanes), still plentiful on some parts of the Lower Greensand, wall rue (A. Ruta-muraria) and scale fern (A. Ceterach). The adder's tongue (Ophioglossum vu/gatum) is not rare, but the moonwort (Botrychium Lunaria), although not a species greatly sought by the fern-hunter, seems to be diminishing in frequency. When residing at Godalming Dr. A. R. Wallace informed me that the beech fern (Polypodium Phegopteris) formerly grew within the Surrey bor- der near Haslemere. No station is known for it at the present day although it occurs a short distance beyond the county boundary in Sussex. It remains only to notice the royal fern (Osmunda rega/is), once so plentiful in some parts of the county. It has occurred in at least nine of the ten districts, but is now on the verge of extinction. Some plants were met with by the Rev. E. S. Marshall in 1883 in the region of Hind Head, but a few years later they had gone. But from information gleaned in a still more remote part of the county, I believe I may safely say that the giant fern, as it is there called, is not quite extinct in Surrey. The following is a list of the species : Pteris, L. Scolopendrium, Sm. aquilina, L. vulgare, Sm. Lomaria, Willd. Aspidium, Sw. Spicant, Desv. aculeatum, Sw. Asplenium, L. angulare, Willd. Ruta-muraria, L. Nephrodium, Rich. Trichomanes, L. Filix-mas, Rich. Adiantum-nigrum, L. spinulosum, Desv. Filix-foemina, Bernh. dilatatum, Desv. Ceterach, L. _ Thelypteris, Desv. 50
Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/92
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