Rattlesnake Fern Forest of Kunfehértó
Area: 120 ha
Legal declaration by Decree No. 11/1975. OTvH
Biogeographic region: Sand Ridge
The reserve was established for the protection of a single species, Rattlesnake Fern. The forest used to be an oak forest with Lily-of-the-valley but by now most of the oak has been replaced by Black Locust. Since the discovery of the fern in 1951, researchers have been fascinated, why this is the only spot where it occurs. There are two opinions: Some say the species is native, while others claim that it might have been introduced unintentionally with soil on the roots of tree saplings during afforestation activities at turn of the 20th century, as in this period, saplings arrived from foreign countries.
The Rattlesnake Fern is among the most ancient ferns. In wet years, it can grow up to 50 cm in height and its leaves are compound and have a crenate margin, making it look similar to other ferns. Other species of its family occur all over the temperate belt of the northern hemisphere but are most common in North-America. Botanical surveys during the past few years revealed that another rare fern of the Great Hungarian Plain, Spinulose Wood Fern also occurs here, just like the orchids Small-leaved Helleborine, Broad-leaved Helleborine and Bird’s-nest Orchid.