We’re well and truly into autumn, a morning chill, a low sun and a palette of russett and golds.
Bracken is a formidable plant. It’s been around since the dinosaurs, with fossil records going back over the last 55 million years. But its success represents a real threat to biodiversity, shading out other plants, producing allelopathic chemicals and a deep leaf litter, which prevent other the seeds of other plants from germinating.
But bracken is not all ‘bad’. Bluebells benefit from leaf cover during the heat of the summer and it provides nesting, feeding and roosting habitat for many birds, and shelter for butterfly eggs such as Pearl-bordered fritillary. Historically, bracken has been used as bedding for animals, thatching for roofs and mulching.