Every month, Duinconservation tells about what can be seen in the dunes that month. This month in the ‘Today in the Dune’ section we look for the common oak fern.
Today the twenty-fourth episode:
Looking for the common oak fern
You encounter them everywhere in the dunes: the common oak fern. You see them in light coniferous and deciduous forests, on slopes and at forest edges. On the lime-poor northern slopes it often grows in company with the crow heath, which gives these slopes the typical dark green color. Under calcareous conditions it is often the creeping willow that keeps the oak fern company.
The oak fern also likes to grow together with the creeping willow in the valleys. Here you can look out for species such as moon fern and the more rare small and round evergreen.
The oak fern is a low-growing fern with feather-shaped incised leaves and a creeping rhizome. The plant always remains green, but in severe winters the leaves can also turn brown. New leaves appear in May and June, after which the old ones die. The plant roots superficially in places where organic material decays slowly.
In forests she prefers a spot near the pedunculate oak. Today also the name oak fern. Closer to the foredune, the plant manages to survive well in the dense marram grass. Outside the dunes, the oak fern is the most common fern on old walls. The plant can behave like a so-called epiphyte: it grows on a host without harming it. You will find this fern, for example, on old pollard willows and on mossy tree trunks.
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