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Ceterach officinarum:                                                                        BACK       PICTURES

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Ceterach officinarum D.C.                                                                                                    Rusty Back                                                                                                                                                           __________________________________________________________________________________

Light 7. Wetness 3. pH 8. Fertility 8.   Height <15cm                                                                                                               Native. 

Native, strongly calcicole evergreen fern of limestone and lime-mortar of walls in open, often very exposed situations. Can withstand baking in the summer providing it has a store of capillary water in the rock or mortar crevices it grows on, and can survive summer drought better than Adiatum ruta-muraria. Fronds uniquely lobed, alternating in position on each side of the rachis, and with a dense covering of rusty scales on the underside. Common in the north and west but thinly scattered on artificial substrates in the south-east, where being evergreen it may have been restricted in the past by winter sulphur dioxide levels. Although likely to be self-establishing rather than planted, very vulnerable to repointing of brickwork and tidying up of bridge, church and churchyard walls. The Ashdon colony was stolen in 2009. Even in Gibson's day it was only recorded from five localities. The largest colony on wet brickwork near Walthamstow Reservoirs was stolen in 2009, and the Wickham Bishops colony is very stunted, presumably due to recent droughts.

Post 1930 records:

TQ(51)38

349,892

18

Walthamstow Reservoirs, extensive population on wet, north-facing brick support of raised railway line. 2008. B.Wurzell, K J Adams, Tim Pyner. Plants all stolen in 2009. [all the other ferns left] B.Wurzell.

TQ(51)48

419,857

18

Manor Park station, channel beneath iron grill on No:1 platform, single plant. July 1992. Paul Ferris.

TL(52)40 45987,02200 19 Epping, Cottis Lane Passage just off High Street, single plant by leaking down pipe high up on brick wall by Boots yard. Anthony Harbott, confirmed K J Adams 23 June 2019.
 

476,030

18

Coopersale Common, revetment of Central Line railway bridge 1943-1958. George Peterken (Handlist Plants of London Area).        12 plants in 1951, about same number in 1959, destroyed by bridge repointing.1970. Ronald M Payne.

TQ(51)58

50125,84437 18 Dagenham, St. Peter & St. Paul south-east perimeter wall of graveyard, single plant west facing c. 15 fronds. 21 January 2021. Enid Barrie.

TL(52)50

523,037

18

Blake Hall Station, Central Line, 1964. Eric Saunders and Ronald M Payne; and 1968. Steven Licence.

TL(50)53

563,399

19

Ashdon, Butlerís Lane bridge over disused railway. 14 healthy plants on inside of west brick revetment. 17 August 2003. Charles & Shirley Watson; still present 8 May 2008. K.J.Adams. [see pictures]; all but one removed 11 April 2009. Tim Pyner. 2 plants on the NW side towards the railway. 31 March 2013. Tony Morton.

TL(52)63 68465,32796 19 Finchingfield, single plant c.10cm across on brickwork by Finchingfield Brook on east side by the sluice as it exits the village pool. 16 April 2013. K.J.Adams
TQ(51)79 745,936 19 Wickford Station, one large and several small plants on wall of waiting room west bound platform. 17 May 2014. Barbara Chapman. All destroyed 11 February 2015 during refurbishment Barabara Chapman.

TL(52)72

738,250

19

Panfield, Silks Farm, nr Panfield Hall, plentiful on garden wall and other walls nearby, 1960. K.J.Adams; and 1967. Robert J Turner.

TL(52)80

 

 

Maldon, on wall, 1951. Ronald M Payne.

TL(52)81

825,112

19

Wickham Bishops, 1985. Philip Luke; 17 plants 1 September 1988. Jeremy J Heath; 24 plants south-face of north wall of disused railway bridge. 30 August 1992. Ann Guiver; 21 plants,1997. Philip Luke; c.40 plants + sporelings 28 March 2006. Tim Pyner. Still present 25 January 2013. Steven Stuart. 24 plants, mostly almost frondless apart from 6 medium sized. Inside of north retaining wall of bridge on mortar between bricks. 21 February 2013. K. J. Adams, M. Millar & E. Barrie. 12 tufts December 2018. Adrian Knowles.

TQ(51)99

947,965

18

Burnham on Crouch, on brickwork of the station and on wall nearby, 1976. Mrs Joyce Pitt. (via Ronald M Payne.). Now destroyed. Ronald M Payne 2009.

 Pre 1930 records:

TQ(51)49

 

 18

Woodford Church, on a tomb. Edward Forster. (Gibsonís Flora 1862)

 

 

 18

Woodford, on two walls near. Richard Warner. (Gibsonís Flora 1862)

TL(52)53

52,35+

 19

Walden, wall at Shortgrove. Joshua Clarke. (Gibsonís Flora 1862)

TQ(51)39

781,933

 18

Rawreth Church, on buttress. Edward Forster. Not there in 1885. H.P.? (Gibsonís Flora 1862)

TQ(51)68

635,895

 18

East Horndon Churchyard, Mr Hill [in Blackstone 1746] (Gibsonís Flora 1862) Not there in 2010. K J Adams.