Sometimes you find the coolest things in the Department’s Botany Collections. Pictured are specimens of Ophioglossom engelmannii that have been pressed in sheets of Mica. These plants were mounted to showcase the distinct venation pattern of this species compared to other Ophioglossums. There are two bundles of veins in the petiole which merge at the base of the Fern leaf where they begin to branch. These specimens act as a record of scientific discovery in the field of Botany, and there are many more gems like this hidden away in the herbarium!
Recently I posted a picture of some Ophioglossum vulgatum that I found in a meadow in Cambridgeshire. Here’s one of its congeners: O. lusitanicum, or the Least Adder’s-tongue. Native to the western seaboard of Europe and several other regions around the world, this species is in Britain restricted to the charmingly named Wingletang Down on St Agnes in the Isles of Scilly.