Adder’s tongue

A bit of an experiment. The plant is the Adder’s tongue fern, or Ophioglossum vulgatum to give it its scientific name. Its leaf is about 50 mm high and quite frankly, in the original photo, became lost in the clutter of the grassy background. So I’ve done a bit of jiggery-pokery. I hope I am excused. The Adder’s tongue was in a small area of calcareous limestone pasture in the National Trust’s Bridestones property near Dalby Forest and is quite a rarity in Yorkshire. The leaf’s similiarity to a snake’s tongue gave to the belief that it was a cure for a snake bite. At the top of stem the spore cases look ripe and have probably dispersed.

The limestone rich pasture is an island on the heather moorland between Dove Dale and Bridestone Griff and is enclosed by an embankment. The 1854 Ordnance Survey map indicates that this enclosure was a quarry with a limekiln, although any workings have been subsequently filled in. Bracken, the scourge of the moors is slowly encroaching on the pasture so a task for the National Trust rangers and volunteers is to periodically break or cut the stems so that overtime the bracken rhizomes will be weakened. This is the second year of the task and already I can see a significant improvement.

Adder's Tongue map


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