Fern Identification for botanical surveying and habitat classification


Ferns and their allies (Pteridophytes) have a reputation for being challenging to identify and they can prove daunting to the beginner and improver ecologist or botanist. Part of this is due lack of understanding of the different botanical and reproductive structures from more typical wildflowers.

This course provides the beginner and improver the skills required to identify a wide variety of species, recognise a number of species to genus and become familiar with the key identification features.

Many Ferns can be used to help determine the underlying geology and/or habitat, so can offer the ecologist another tool in their surveying skillset.

Several species are listed as either Schedule 8 or 9, so if they are found during a survey, accurate identification is essential to enable appropriate assessment and management to take place.

The day will start with an introduction to Fern structures and terminology, followed by how to identify the commoner fern species. Later on we will look at techniques for determining the more unusual species. Use will be made of the excellent FSC ‘Fern Guide’, as well as discussion of other resources and by the end of the day participants should feel confident in the use of this key.

Who Should Attend?

Local Authority ecologists
Ecological consultants
Conservation officers and staff within SNCOs and NGO’s.
Environmental managers,
Land Managers

Knowledge Level

Beginner - Intermediate

Prior Knowledge

No existing knowledge, or experience is essential, but attendees will gain the most from this course if they have some prior understanding of the parts of a plants, have used a key (not necessarily botanical) and have some prior knowledge of UK flora.

Field Identification Skills Certificate levels 2 and above

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand and identify the major parts of a Fern, covering basic morphology, reproductive structures and how these can be used to make accurate identifications.
  • Learn to recognise the major groups and key species of Ferns.
  • Learn how to separate some of the more challenging groups of ferns.


Tickets Person(s) Price
Early Bird Member Ticket
(Price valid from 13/07/2022 to 24/08/2022 inclusive)
1 £115.00
Early Bird Non Member
(Price valid from 13/07/2022 to 24/08/2022 inclusive)
1 £175.00