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Equisetum arvense

Photo: Anthony Pigott

"The bright colours of flowers are admired by the least intellectual but the beauty of form and texture of ferns requires a higher degree of mental perception and a more cultivated intellect for its proper appreciation. Hence we regard the growing taste for the cultivation of ferns as proof of mental advancement." -
Abraham Stansfield, 1858. 


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Welcome to Fern World - the web site of the British Pteridological Society.
Find out about the BPS and its activities along with information about Ferns and other Pteridophytes.

About Us

The British Pteridological Society was founded in the Lake District in 1891 and soon became the focal point for fern enthusiasts throughout the British Isles. Today it continues to provide a wide range of information about ferns, through its web site and by publishing regular journals, leaflets and books, and organising formal talks, informal discussions and outdoor meetings. The international membership includes those interested in gardening, natural history and botany, both amateur and professional. It is a friendly society run on a voluntary basis.

The Objects of the Society are to promote all aspects of Pteridology by encouraging the appreciation, conservation, cultivation and scientific study of ferns, horsetails, clubmosses and quillworts through publications, meetings, the provision of grants and other appropriate means.


How to Join
Look and our Activities and Services.
Ready to join? Find out how to.


A World of Ferns
Read an Introduction to Ferns (and other Pteridophytes) from the book "A World of Ferns".


Come to a Meeting
Why not come along to one of our meetings? All are welcome.


What you can do to help
An invitation to members and potential members of the BPS.


Photographic Recording Project
Can you help us with this exciting new project to use repeated photos of ferns to assess change?


Merchandise List
The latest (June 2013) BPS Merchandise list is now available.


At the shows
The BPS has a presence at many horticultural shows.



BPS Event Diary
The new calendar showing national and regional events along with other meetings is now available.


BPS Fern Forum
The BPS has set up a new forum (bulletin board) for the discussion of all aspects of Ferns and other Pteridophytes.

Help to save Arduaine Garden
The BPS supports the campaign to save the gardens with its remarkable fern collection.


Editor's Blog
Read the Editor's thoughts about the web site, the BPS and Pteridology in general. To join in, just add a comment.


Cultivated Fern Herbarium The BPS herbarium is now at RHS Wisley. Can you help to expand it?

2014 Meetings Programme
The current National Meetings Programme is now available.


2014 Spore List
The latest Spore List is now available for download.


The latest List and Order Form (June 2013) is available.


Fern Leaflets
The BPS has produced a number of leaflets covering various aspects of Ferns & Fern growing. They can be downloaded for printing or viewing.


Fern Fever
A major new work on Victorian Pteridomania has been published. See full details and reviews.


BPS Recording Card
Members are encouraged to keep records of ferns, horsetails, clubmosses and quillworts found in the wild. These may be sent in the first instance to the BPS Recorder e-mail: Recorder@eBPS.org.uk who will forward them to the Botanical Society of the British Isles, or members may like to contact the appropriate BSBI vice-county recorders directly. Recorders' addresses are available from the BSBI website.

Download the Card>

Fern Gardens
of Scotland

In this brochure, the BPS highlights twelve of the best fern gardens in Scotland. Each grows an extensive range of ferns, both exotic and native, species and cultivars, demonstrating the wide variety of size, shape, texture, and colour that ferns provide. The gardens all have a wealth of other horticultural interest too and whether privately or publicly owned, they are all easily accessible. So visit and enjoy them for yourself and be inspired...


2km Distribution Maps from BSBI - Where Pteridophytes grow in Britain & Ireland. Now with Tetrad (2km square) maps as well as Hectad (10 km square) maps.

2km Maps>

10km Maps>


Copyright ©1997-2014 British Pteridological Society.
Any comments about these pages - please e-mail the editor:

The BPS representative for these pages at the Natural History Museum is

The BPS thanks the Natural History Museum for hosting this site on their WWW server. Please see their disclaimer

The British Pteridological Society is a registered charity:
Charity No. 1092399.

This page was last updated on 23 April, 2014