London (change)
14 messages
11/07/2014 at 14:54


I am very new to gardening. In fact, I've just ventured in to my new garden for the first time!

As I started to tidy up the garden in attempt to rid it of all the weeds I came across a plant or weed (no idea!) that I want to get rid of. There's a couple of them, and as I started to remove one I noticed at the roots it has some soft oval shaped balls (that's my best description, sorry!) Can anyone help tell me what they are, if I should be cautious of them?


11/07/2014 at 14:57

It's bracken, you can dig it out and dispose of it. They do seed later in the year so get rid of it now. It's harmless but can be invasive.

11/07/2014 at 15:01

Thank you Dave, those little egg looking things scared me for a minute. I think I may need to toughen up a little! thanks  

11/07/2014 at 15:04

Don't worry claire27, they won't hatch they are the new foliage for next year.

11/07/2014 at 16:20

Are you sure that's bracken Dave? It look like a good garden fern to me. Dryopteris or Polystichum, I always get those to muddled. You need a third opinion here before you dump it Claire

11/07/2014 at 16:26

too late! i've already pulled them up  

11/07/2014 at 16:28

Looks like a shield fern to me, dryopteris filix-mas maybe? Grows like a weed in my garden.

11/07/2014 at 16:37

I looked too and wasn't convinced about Bracken but couldn't have named it.

I seem to remember that there is a way of telling Bracken from Ferns but I just can't bring it to mind...........something to do with the way the fronds uncurl ?  Someone will know I'm sure

I've got several ferns ( tho don't know all the names ) and I wouldn't be so quick to rip out............that one looks too fine cut for Bracken

11/07/2014 at 17:02
I thought it was a fern but like you I'm not overly experienced!
11/07/2014 at 17:06

I think thats a fern i have a ton of bracken in my garden ( which i leave in the woods) and it only tends to produce one stem at a time... My ferns look more like this.... I vote keep

11/07/2014 at 17:12

It's not bracken, I was just being polite when I asked 'are you sure?'

Claire, on a forum it's best to wait for a few opinions before acting. 

11/07/2014 at 17:14

Dryopteris filix-mas, a lovely fern. What a shame it's been pulled up! Incidently, Bracken is far from harmless - it is designated as an invasive species in the wild, and the spores can be carcinogenic if breathed in.

11/07/2014 at 20:17


11/07/2014 at 21:17

That's what is great about this forum- it's educational. Before this recent spate of ferns and bracken I honestly thought bracken was the name for dried up ferns.

Now I know bracken and some ferns are 3 pinnate and bracken fronds unfurl singly, which I'll try and remember for future ref..

Claire, I'm thinking from your original post that you didn't want it anyway?

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14 messages