Killarney Fern: A consultant’s experience


Killarney fern (Trichomanes speciosum) is a European protected species. Its sporophyte (the recognizable fern stage) is rare in the UK, but the algal-like gametophyte can be quite frequent along flashy rivers desirable for hydropower schemes. Both forms benefit from legal protection and are therefore constraints to development. In this short presentation, Paul will talk about surveys for the latter form, why it is a development issue, and how it can be recognised.


Join the CIEEM Academia Special Interest Group for their monthly meeting, featuring a combination of a presentation from a guest speaker and a group discussion. This month, we will be hearing from Paul Lister Smith who will be sharing details of Killarney Fern (Trichomanes speciosum) surveys from experiences as an ecological consultant.

This species remains listed as rare and vulnerable in Britain and Ireland, with over-collecting by gardeners and botanists in the Victorian era having caused a significant decline. It inhabits damp caves or rock clefts. We look forward to finding out more about this fascinating species.

Paul is formally trained in the biology of plants and fungi. He graduated with a BSc in botany from the University of Bristol in 1981 and went on to gain a PhD in vascular plant systematics. He is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, a Chartered Environmentalist and has worked for the public, private and NGO sectors. He has produced SSSI condition assessments for Natural England and is a Senior Associate Teacher with the University of Bristol.

Paul has studied the flora of the UK for over 40 years, covering sites from the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall to the Keen of Hamar in Shetland. He now teaches ecological impact assessment, ecology and wildlife conservation issues at undergraduate and post graduate levels. With a practical, knowledge of Spanish, he also teaches subtropical botany in the Canary Islands. Paul has specialist interests in bryophytes, lichens and fungi.

Knowledge Level

Suitable for all


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