Asplenium scolopendrium
Common Name: hart's tongue fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Aspleniaceae
Native Range: North America, northern Africa, western Asia, Europe
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Best grown in medium moisture, well-drained, alkaline to slightly acidic soils in part shade to full shade. Thrives in humusy, limestone soils. Needs superior soil drainage to avoid root rot.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Asplenium scolopendrium, commonly called hart’s tongue fern, is a rhizomatous, evergreen fern that typically produces an erect-arching clump of tongue-shaped, leathery, bright green fronds (12-18” long) which may have wavy margins. Sori are arranged on the frond undersides in rows. Primarily native to Europe, although there exists a rare American variety (Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum) that reportedly may be found in a very limited number of sites in Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan, New York and Ontario. The American variety is currently classified as threatened in its entire range. Plants sold in commerce are the European variety. Synonymous with Phyllitis scolopendrium.

The genus name Asplenium comes from the Greek and means "without a spleen", possibly in reference to the belief that certain species of this plant could treat problems of the spleen.

The specific epithet scolopendrium comes from the Greek skolopenda means "centipede" an allusion to the rows of sori on the underside of the leaves.

Common name is in reference to the supposed resemblance of the frond shape to a deer’s tongue.


No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot can be a problem in poorly drained soils.


Woodland gardens and shade gardens. Good selection for shady areas of limestone rock gardens.