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Leaves Shadow


Ferns are more primitive in evolutionary history than seed plants. They do not form flowers and reproduce by spores instead of seeds. The spores are formed in sporangia on the underside of the leaves or on special spore leaves.  One of the characteristics of ferns is that the leaves are rolled up when they emerge like fiddle necks and unfurl from the top as they grow.
Twenty-three species of ferns are native to Iceland, some of which are rare and protected. Others, such as the brittle bladderfern (Cystopteris fragilis), are common throughout the country. Ferns grow best in shade or partial shade in fertile, moist soil. Most do not grow well in places exposed to heavy wind and usually prefer sheltered growing places in crevices or snow hollows.

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Adiantum - Maidenhair ferns

Maidenhair ferns, Adiantum, is a fairly large genus in the family Pteridaceae.  They are very dainty ferns, often with black stalks and thin, light green foliage. They prefer humus rich, moist soil, and often grow in rock crevices where water trickles down. One species, the delta maidenhair fern (A. raddianum) is a popular houseplant. Most species are native to the Andes mountains and eastern Asia. 


Glossy green foliage of Asplenium scolopendrium
Asplenium - Spleenworts

Spleenworts, Asplenium, is a genus of around 700 fern species in the family Aspleniaceae, and is regarded by most botanists as the only genus of that plant family. It is a varied genus with a few sub-genera that are sometimes categorized as separate genera.


Green fern foliage of Athyrium filix-femina
Athyrium - Lady ferns

Lady ferns, Athyrium, is a genus in the family Athyriaceae. Around 100 species belong to the genus with a global distribution. Two species, lady-fern and alpine lady-fern (A. distentifolium) are native to Iceland.  

Green fer foliage of Cystopteris fragilis

Cystopteris is a genus of 18 similar species in the family Athyriaceae, with a global distribution. One species, the brittle bladder fern, is native to Iceland and is common in all regions of the country.

Green fern foliage of Dryopteris affinis 'Crispa'
Dryopteris - Wood Ferns

Dryopteris, wood ferns, is a genus of around 150 species in the family Dryopteridaceae with a global distribution, but the majority of species are native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Two species are native to Iceland, male fern and spiny wood fern.

Green fern foliage of Matteuccia struthiopteris

Matteuccia, is a small genus in the family Onocleaceae, with only one species. 

Smooth green fern foliage of Onoclea sensibilis

Onoclea is a species in the family Onocleaceae with only one species.

Evergreen fern foliage of Polypodium vulgare

Polypodium is a genus of 75-100  species in the family Polypodiaceae. The genus has a global distribution, with the greatest number of species in the tropics. One species, the common polypody, is native to Iceland.

Stiff green fern foliage of Polystichum setiferum 'Plumosum Densum'
Polystichum - Shield Ferns

Shield ferns, Polystichum, is a large genus of around 500 species in the family Dryopteridaceae. The genus has a global distribution with the greatest number of species in eastern Asia. One species, the holly fern (P. lonchitis) is native to Iceland.

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