Fern identification

Fern-focused field meetings in 2023

Looking to get started with fern ID at a BSBI workshop? Our event in Lanarkshire on 2nd September combines a morning in the classroom with expert tutors followed by an afternoon in the field to try out your new skills. More details here. Cost £40 but 50% discount for BSBI members and full-time students.

Or maybe you're ready for the next step? Also on 2nd September, in Co. Wexford, a free training day focused mainly on scaly male ferns (a tricky group). More details here.

Online fern ID course for beginners

Launched in 2021, Joshua Styles' very popular online fern ID course is available to all members and non-members wanting to improve their pteridology ID skills!

The fern course followed on from Joshua's online Dandelion ID course. Now, this one-hour course is available as a video link and aims to get you started with fern ID.

Use the buttons below to pay the small course fee (£5 or €6) for the fern ID video, which lasts around one hour. Once your payment has been received, you will immediately receive a link to the training video, which you can then access as many times as you like.

If you experience any issues with accessing the video, please contact us.

BSBI Plant Cribs

From the BSBI Plant Crib, you can view or download individual cribs to help you identify ferns in the following genera or groups:

Fern Galleries

Take a look at the plant ID: getting started page on this website where you will find links to websites with correctly identified images of British and Irish wild plants, including ferns.

Britain's Ferns

If you're looking for a book to help you get started with Fern ID, check out Britain's Ferns by James Merryweather, published by WildGuides/ Princeton University Press. It won the 2021 Presidents' Award which is awarded jointly by the Presidents of the BSBI and the Wild Flower Society.

British Pteridological Society

Our sister society, the British Pteridological Society, has some excellent online resources to help you learn more about ferns, and many are freely available to non-members. Try their Identification page with a Key to Common British Native Ferns; there's also a Glossary to help you understand fern-related terms.