The Victorians collected ferns with such fervour that native populations were decimated – the Killarney fern (Trichomanes speciosum), for instance, is now one of the rarest ferns in Europe and is protected under UK and EU legislation. The sites where it grows are shrouded in secrecy.
Plant collecting remains a threat to native ferns. In 2000 a hybrid spleenwort fern was removed from a wall in Leek, Staffordshire; it was the only known plant of its type in Britain at the time.
The Killarney fern is rare in Europe