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Rare fern spotted at Hutton Roof
A plant thought for a long time to be extinct, has been discovered in Cumbria for the first time in more than 57 years.
The rare holly fern was spotted by Burton-in-Kendal naturalist Bryan Yorke, who has spent the last three years searching for the species.
The plant was rediscovered on Hutton Roof Crags hidden by a hard shield fern. He noticed the holly fern fronds in the centre, intermingled with its polystichum cousin.
Mr Yorke, who has lived in Burton for four years, said he had extended the radius of his search by 50 yards every couple of months in his determination to find the plant.
“Holly fern is one of the top ferns in the country and everyone wants to find it. It is a favourite because it only grows at an altitude of 1,000 feet, so this is good news for us.”
The holly fern at Hutton Roof has now been confirmed by the Cumbria Recorder as the lowest altitude recorded for the species in the whole of the UK.
The plant, which was described by Mr Yorke as ‘a little darker in colour than usual’ was shadowed from the east by a hazel and was facing west.
The new record has aroused much interest both locally and further afield, even as far as the British Museum.
“I just could not believe it. After searching every day I began to give up hope for a discovery,” he said. “I was getting used to people assuring me that I would never find it but I did.”
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