Asplenium platyneuron

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: ebony spleenwort 
Type: Fern
Family: Aspleniaceae
Native Range: Southern Africa, North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Evergreen
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Heavy Shade


Best grown in gritty, humusy, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers rocky locations. Tolerates full shade. Avoid overwatering. Needs excellent drainage to minimize risk of crown rot. Tolerates some drought.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Asplenium platyneuron, commonly called ebony spleenwort, is an evergreen Missouri native fern which typically grows to 15" tall and occurs on rocky wooded ledges, rocky slopes and mossy banks. Arching, pinnate, somewhat glossy, dark green sterile fronds. Erect fertile fronds. Central stipe (stem) is dark purplish brown.

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.

Common name of spleenwort refers to purported medicinal value once attributed to the plant.


No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot can be a significant problem in poorly drained soils. Susceptible to slugs.


Plant in dryish, rocky, shady areas of rock gardens (will grow in rocky crevices), native plant gardens or woodland areas.