Flora of Northern Ireland
  • Trichomanes speciosum Willd. - Killarney Fern
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Trichomanes speciosum
© Stan Beesley
Trichomanes speciosum
© Graham Day
Trichomanes speciosum
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(Map updated: March 2008)

This fern, like other ferns, has two stages to its life-cycle. The typical fern-like stage is the sporophyte and is very rare, being known from one site in Northern Ireland: a cave near the coast in NE Antrim. Formerly the plant was common about Killarney (whence its English name) but over-collecting by gardeners and botanists in the 19th century all but exterminated it there. The other stage is the gametophyte which is like a filamentous green alga, and appears to be commoner. It is known from a number of sites in Co Fermanagh, all found since 1993.

All names: Trichomanes speciosum Willd.; Trichomanes andrewsii Newm.; Trichomanes radicans auct.