Water Fern - Azolla filiculoides

    Alt Name
    Fairy Fern

    This is a floating aquatic fern. Each individual plant is 1 to 2 cm across, green tinged pink, orange or red at the edges, branching freely, and breaking into smaller sections as it grows. It often takes on a red colour in summer and when stressed.

    Identification difficulty

    Mostly in still and slow moving water.

    When to see it

    Best seen in warmer months as it dies back in winter.

    Life History

    It is a floating aquatic fern, with very fast growth, capable of spreading over lake surfaces to give complete coverage of the water in only a few months.

    UK Status

    Increasingly common and now fairly frequent in the southern half of England, less common elsewhere.

    VC55 Status

    Increasingly common and now fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 8 of the 617 tetrads.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map