Hart's-tongue fern - Asplenium scolopendrium, click for a larger image
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Hart's-tongue fern - Asplenium scolopendrium
Syn. - Phyllitis scolopendrium
Family - Aspleniaceae
Also known as - Burnt weed, Christ's hair

A common species of evergreen fern found across the UK and Europe but unlike other ferns, for example the Male Fern it has simple undivided leathery fronds growing from a basal rosette which are 10-65cm (4-25in) long and 3-6.5cm (1.2-2.6in) wide with wavy edges.  With a dark green and luxuriant growth they can be found on damp soils and limey surfaces in shady places, occasionally in full sun but with stunted yellow growth.

Moist mossy soils and crevices in old brick walls are typical locations.  Occasionally seen as a commercial house or ornamental plant.  The fruting bodies or sori are arranged in rows perpendicular to the leaf stem is reminiscent of a centipede's legs and in this context "scolopendrium" means "centipede".  Grows to 30-60cm (1-2ft) high with a 25-50cm (10-20in) spread.  In the USA a variant A. scolopendrium var. americanum was listed as endangered in 1989.  Hart's-tongue fern can be diploid (Europe) or tetraploid (USA).

FBCP do not advise or recommend that Hart's-tongue fern - Asplenium scolopendrium is eaten or used as an herbal remedy.   Apparently used in the 1800's as a tonic for the spleen.

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