Cryptogramma crispa
Cryptogramma crispa.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Polypodiophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Pteridaceae
Genus: Cryptogramma
C. crispa
Binomial name
Cryptogramma crispa
(L.) R.Br. ex Hook.
Synonyms [1]
  • Osmunda crispa L.
  • Allosorus crispus (L.) Röhling

Cryptogramma crispa, the parsley fern,[2] is an Arctic–alpine species of fern. It produces separate sterile and fertile fronds, up to 30 cm (12 in) tall, and is a pioneer species on acidic screes.


The fronds of C. crispa are 30 centimetres (12 in) long and appear in two distinct forms. Sterile leaves are 2–3-pinnate with the pinnules 5–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in) long by 3–7 mm (0.1–0.3 in) wide, while fertile leaves are 3–4-pinnate, and with narrower pinnules.[3] The fertile leaves have sori scattered along the veins, each with a strongly enrolled false indusium. The sporangia are yellow and mature around midsummer.[1]

Distribution and ecology

Cryptogramma crispa grows among acidic rocks in areas where snow lies until late in the year. It is a pioneer species on stable scree slopes and also occurs on cliffs and dry stone walls.[4]

In Europe, C. crispa has an Arctic–alpine distribution,[5] growing in the mountains of Central and Southern Europe, as well as in the north of the continent, including Scandinavia and higher ground in the British Isles.[6] In Ireland, it is rare and concentrated in the east of the country, leading Praeger to conjecture that the Irish examples are recent colonists from Great Britain, arriving as airborne spores.[7]

Similar plants, which may belong to the same species occur in East Asia and North America,[5] although these are usually considered a separate taxon.[8]

Spores attributable to C. crispa have been discovered in deposits in Snowdonia from the last glacial period, as well as from more low-lying sites in Cheshire.[7]

Taxonomic history

The parsley fern appeared in Carl Linnaeus' 1753 work Species Plantarum, the starting point for botanical nomenclature, under the name Osmunda crispa. The specific epithet crispa means finely waved or curled.[1] It is placed in the family Pteridaceae, part of the order Polypodiales.[9]


  1. ^ a b c "Cryptogramma crispa (L.) R. Br. ex Richardson". Hardy Fern Library. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ Clive A. Stace (2010). "Cryptogramma R. Br. – Parsley Fern". New Flora of the British Isles (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5.
  4. ^ T. D. Dines (2002). "Cryptogramma crispa". In C. D. Preston, D. A. Pearman & T. D. Dines (ed.). New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora: An Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Britain, Ireland, The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-851067-3.
  5. ^ a b Christopher Nigel Page (1997). "Cryptogramma crispa (L.) Hook.". The ferns of Britain and Ireland (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 148–151. ISBN 978-0-521-58658-0.
  6. ^ J. Jalas & J. Suominen, ed. (1972). Atlas Florae Europaeae. Distribution of Vascular Plants in Europe. 1. Pteridophyta (Psilotaceae to Azollaceae). Helsinki: The Committee for Mapping the Flora of Europe & Societas Biologica Fennica Vanamo. pp. 121 pp.
  7. ^ a b Sir Harry Godwin (1956). "Adiantaceae". The history of the British flora: a factual basis for Phytogeography. Cambridge University Press. p. 92.
  8. ^ Eric Hultén (1968). "Cryptogramma R. Br.". Flora of Alaska and neighboring territories: a manual of the vascular plants. Stanford University Press. pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-0-8047-0643-8.
  9. ^ Maarten J. M. Christenhusz, Xian-Chun Zhang & Harald Schneider (2011). "A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns" (PDF). Phytotaxa. 19: 7–54. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.19.1.2.

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