Tuesday, 25 January 2011

ABC Wednesday - Bracken

Bracken, an ancient plant going back millions of year, another ancient species, the damselfly, taking  a rest, surely one could not call such a beautiful creature a bug. Some larvae and invertebrates feed on bracken but it is carcinogenic to most mammals. 
The Victorian were rather keen on ferns in their gardens and grew all varieties but perhaps they would not be too keen on bracken with its invasive nature and a propensity to swamp other plants although
foxgloves seem to cope quite well , but as they appear in June the bracken is still of a manageable hight and has
not reached 5-6 foot yet. I have had 'interesting' times on hillsides trying to find the path down to the valley when the bracken it at its hight, not being able to see underfoot or where the path is hiding. It can be a case of tumbling down the hill rather than walking.  At these times it is my least favourite plant, however I can forget all that come the autumn and winter when it has died down and the hills take on their russet brown.
At this time of year the bracken is only a covering, the colouring is still there but it looks best in November
when the sun shines directly upon it, the bright light bringing out its hues.  Although it always

adds another colour to the pallet in a view. As you see there is a limit to the hight the bracken grows, the Langdale Pikes in the distance having not a fond in view.  The lower peaks

such as the ridge to Helm Crag have an intermittent covering.  The underneath of a leaf of bracken is covered in spores that will spread it offspring on the wind and it is a difficult plant to control. There are many different methods to reduce its spread such as, cutting, burning, ploughing or herbicides. Another way is during winter encouraging livestock
into the area, such as this pretty bovine the Belted Galloway  They trample down the plants and this allows the frost to penetrate the rhizomes (bracken has creeping roots).  We sure have had a lot of frost this year, down to -19C in this area.

Bounce across to ABC Wednesday where there will be lots more words starting with the letter B.

13 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Fascinating, informative post for the B Day, Joy! Love your photos! This has been a very informative ABC Day and I have learned a lot from so many of you! Thank you! Enjoy!

Sylvia
ABC Team

Jane and Chris said...

Oh, such gorgeous photos..lovely to see some colour.
Jane x

Roger Owen Green said...

Interesting how certain things survive the evolutionary process!

ROGm, ABC Wednesday team

photowannabe said...

Very interesting information and your photos are lovely.

Tumblewords: said...

I've never seen bracken this tall. Gorgeous photos!

Wanda said...

This was an excellent and interesting post. Loved your photos.

Vernz said...

they're like chocolate hills.. lovely.
ABC Wed Here

Cheryl said...

I'm rather fond of ferns. We don't have much bracken but we sure have other invasive plants aplenty.

Your photos are quite beautiful.

Cheryl
ABC Team

Paula Scott said...

Always a bountiful serving of the day's letter here!

Gattina said...

Interesting and beautiful ! I know the plant, but didn't know its name !
Gattina
ABC team

Leslie: said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this little jaunt through your area and the information is fascinating!

Leslie
ABCW Team :D

forgetmenot said...

Love your photos--very peaceful and beautiful. The arches are great too in the previous post. I'll have to learn more about ABC Wednesday--it sounds like fun. Mickie :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a lovely post -- I came to your blog through signs last Thursday and have been coming back to catch up --

those belted bovines are beautiful (she alliterated ;>)...