The Fern of Treflach

Fern dates back in fossil form 300 million years and today are among the most primitive plants on earth as they have no flowers and seed by spores .They used to be a lot larger with tree fern growing up to 100 feet tall.  Our coal deposits are from this era.  In Treflach several species exist, the most visible being Bracken which grows up to 6 feet high, with Lady fern, Maidenhair Spleenwort, Hartstongue fern and Wall Rue all enjoying our damp environment.

As a child I remember getting lost in a jungle of bracken but the cloven hoof of the cow damages the leaves as they unroll in the spring and the cutting and ploughing of them post WW2 has cleared them apart from hedges and quiet corners of fields – their only loss is cover for wildlife – nothing thrives under fern only ticks that can make both us and animals sick and in autumn when their spores are released the fumes can be carcinogenic.  You have only to go to The Berwyns 10 miles west of here to see their abundance and in Treflach their loss has been the wild flowers gain.  The soil under fern is black, 'farmers gold' as it used to be called, as when ploughed the fertility or carbon capture as we now call it was fantastic.