Asplenium scolopendrium var. scolopendrium

Asplenium scolopendrium or hart’s tongue fern is an evergeen limestone-loving plant. Two varieties of the genus exist. They are nearly impossible to distinguish by form—the clearest distinction is that the American variety is tetraploid and var. scolopendium is diploid. Variety scolopendrium is found primarily in Europe, but is also found in parts of Asia and northern Africa. Variety americana is rare and found in isolated populations in North America. Some botanists place one of these populations, found in Mexico, into a third variety—lindenii. Our plants and virtually any found in cultivation are of var. scolopendrium—var. americanum performs poorly in cultivation—it barely survives in the wild. Plants are quite variable and the species hybridizes with other Aspleniums. Several forms have been selected for ornamental use.

Asplenium scolopendrium spreads by rhizomes to form drifts in shady areas, growing slowly, but needing little attention from the gardener. The erect leaves are 10-60 cm long and 3-6 cm wide—in extreme cases they may grow to 90 cm by 10 cm. The two rows of lines of sori arranged along the rachis of the leaf were thought to resemble a centipede. The species takes its name from this appearance—scolopendra is Greek for centipede.

Asplenium scolopendrium var. scolopendrium

5 responses to “Asplenium scolopendrium var. scolopendrium”

  1. Troy Mullens

    Thanks for sharing this very cool plant and the information.

  2. Meg Bernstein

    I have four of these plants growing in acid soil in moist shady spots. The deer don’t eat them, a serious requirement for any garden where I live. I might add a bit of lime around them after reading your comments, but they are doing very well as they are.

  3. terri shane

    love, love, love this!

  4. Nancy lundquist

    Beautiful! When sharing info on growing the fetured plant zone info
    would be helpful

  5. Eric La Fountaine

    This plant is generally listed as a zone 6-8 plant in North America. For more information, Plants For A Future has excellent cultural information on this species.

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