What’s in a name? Learn more on ferns

The multitude of Gaelic names for the seemingly humble fern and its associated species has prompted an invitation for folk to have their say on the matter of plant identification.

For a list of 85 names for ferns and associated species in Scotland has been produced by a team from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Bòrd na Gàidhlig, led by Gaelic educator Roddy Maclean.

And the next phase of SNH’s Gaelic naming project will see folk in Scotland being invited to have their say.

The public consultation will run from 16 November to 18 December to gather thoughts on the recently-compiled set of Gaelic names for ferns and their allies.

Some of the plant names are well-established and familiar to Gaelic speakers.

The team was, however, tasked with proposing names for species without a known Gaelic title, and to suggest preferred names (to be used in the context of education or science) where two or more exist.

And to help, the team referred to the English, Latin, Welsh and Irish Gaelic names for the species.

Robyn Ireland, SNH’s Gaelic communications officer, said: “We are committed to strengthening the language and encouraging its use in connection with nature, and we are thrilled to be able to contribute to its development through this naming project.

“We welcome thoughts on the proposed list of names, especially if people are aware of alternative names for the species.”

It is hoped this list of names will be useful to the Gaelic-speaking community, including schools and higher education centres.

The proposed list of names can be downloaded from: website