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Pillwort

Wednesday, December 22nd 2021

On Monday Barry Wright came to Foxglove to collect some Pillwort so that Genome sequencing could be carried out.  He collected a small amount from Plover's Pool.

Pillwort is a rare fern that grows in water. It is classed as Vulnerable - Near threatened by Plantlife.  (More details about the fern and the Freshwater habits Trust can be found here https://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/pond-clinic/identifying-freshwater-plants/pillwort-pilularia-globulifera/ )

We have several areas where it is thriving.  It prefers edges of ponds and grows bright green and looks like a grass lawn.

However on closer inspection you can find the typical Crozier fern frond shape.

So far it has co-operated in being grown at home, on a window sill in a seed tray, with lots of water.  It does not like to be in an enclosed space and once it has filled the seed tray it needs to be re-potted.  Window sill space soon fills up.

Unlike other ferns it does not produce spores on its fronds but produces 'pills' along the length of the rhizome (a horizontal underground stem).  These then produce the spores from which new plants arise. 

Our Pillwort habitats are carefully managed to promote healthy colonies.


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