Polystichum setiferum ‘Divisilobum Wollaston’

pic of louise sims
Louise Sims

It’s a bit of a mouthful this name, and for some reason I find ferns’ names amongst the most difficult to remember, and certainly the ferns themselves extraordinarily difficult to identify. However, names are important and having discovered this beauty, (I looked long and hard to find a fern that would be happy in a rather testing location), I now have no difficulty in remembering it!

It is my special plant this week for two reasons. First off, there is nothing like the unfurling of those amazing fronds to remind us that spring is here (as if we needed reminding), and then there is this fern’s outstanding ability to thrive in dry shade which, translated, means just four feet from the trunk of a prunus padus which is asking quite a lot!

Polystichum setiferum is known as the soft shield fern, and ‘Divisilobum Wollaston’ is an evergreen, very hardy and very tough form which attains a height of about 75 cms. I read that it was found in a hedge in Devon in 1852 by a Mr G. Wollaston, fern enthusiast, collector and at one time a vice-president of the ‘West of England Pteridological Society’!

It is interesting to note that in Victorian times when the craze for fern hunting was at its peak, and because many unscrupulous fern vendors jumped on the bandwagon, the danger of over-collecting any plant in the wild was recognised, and slowly Bye-Laws were introduced to protect public places from being plundered in this way.

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Spring, Great Plants this Month

3 Comments

  1. I cannot tell you how much you dear Growbags,and Louise, bring joy,giggles, interest and info to me and friends. My seeds are popping up, ( never done veg from seeds before!) and what a great feel that is. I adore ferns at this stage too, what a magic month April is!! Very best wishes all,Celia Johnson.

  2. So glad you’re enjoying the blog, and keep those seedlings coming along Celia, and especially those courgettes!
    How lucky we are to have our gardens in these very uncertain times.
    Louise

  3. So pleased I found your website and blog – enjoying all the tips and advice and lovely photos too of course. I feel very lucky to have a garden when we are going through such a difficult time.

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