Rare fern found at Stowmarket

A RARE and tiny fern with strong links to Celtic folklore has sparked excitement among local botanists after being discovered beneath a flyover of the A14 in Stowmarket.

A RARE and tiny fern with strong links to Celtic folklore has sparked excitement among local botanists after being discovered beneath a flyover of the A14 in Stowmarket.

It may not look very impressive, standing at a mere four inches, but what it lacks in stature it more than makes up for in botanical significance.

The Adders Tongue, considered rare in Suffolk and uncommon in the UK as a whole, has put Mid Suffolk District Council-owned Green's Meadow Local Nature Reserve in Stowmarket on the map for local and national botanists.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust is now suggesting this part of Green's Meadow would be worthy of County Wildlife Site status which would denote a site is of local interest, often containing rare and uncommon species.


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The fern was found by complete accident by part-time countryside officer Jonny Stone, who is also a consultant for organisations like the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the RSPB.

"Of all the places to find a rare fern, underneath a flyover of the A14 wouldn't be top of my list," he said.

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"It's uncommon enough to find such a specimen in England and rare to find in all but the best wildlife sites in Suffolk."

Mr Stone said: "We're delighted to be rewarded by finding three small populations of the fern. We hope that continued sensitive management of the site will help us maintain and increase the adder's tongue fern population.

"It looks as if we've managed to restore a fragment of herb-rich grassland in the Gipping Valley."

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