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

Culture

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 that purportedly resemble the many legs of a centipede (skolopenda meaning centipede in Greek). 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.

Formerly included in the genus Phyllitis and is synonymous with Phyllitis scolopendrium.

Genus name comes from the Greek a meaning without and spleen meaning spleen.

Specific epithet means millipede an allusion to the rows of sori.

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

Problems

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

Garden Uses

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