FSC Ferns AIDGAP features identification keys to all the ferns of Britain and Ireland. The author includes 59 species of fern, 6 clubmosses, 3 quillworts and 8 horsetails.
Designed for use with living specimens in the field, the Ferns AIDGAP guide starts with an introductory key to major groups. Further illustrated keys take identification to species level.
Ferns and allied plants appeared 400 million years ago, around 250 million years before the flowering plants. Although ferns lack flowers and seeds, they are not primitive. Instead they spread through spores, a reproductive process shared with mosses and liverworts. The most visible parts are the spore-bearing leaves, or fronds.
Frond structure and shape are key to fern identification. In some species, the spore-bearing structures on the underside of the fronds are further useful clues.
Accurate identification of specimens is an important part of biological fieldwork. Although popular groups like wild flowers and butterflies are well served, many other groups are neglected. Since 1976, the AIDGAP project has published over 40 straightforward and clearly written identification keys to many different groups of plants, animals and other taxa. In many cases the AIDGAP volume is the only non-technical work covering the taxa in question.
Although written by specialists, all AIDGAP guides go through field tests in draft form. As with all guides in the series, the Ferns AIDGAP underwent extensive testing before publication, by beginners and specialists alike. The guide was revised in the light of their experience.