Male Fern - Dryopteris filix-mas agg.
Family - Dryopteridaceae
Also known as - Worm fern
This plant is poisonous
A widespread and common fern in the UK, the Male fern is native in much of the Northern Hemisphere including North America where is rarer and Europe. Growing to 1.5M (60in) in damp shady spots, it is a semi-evergreen plant with an upright habit preferring woodlands and shady banks. The plant grows from a single crown, emerging in the spring as a rolled leaf growth sometimes called a "Crozier" from its similarity to a Bishops Crozier. Light Green leaves are bi-pinnate, long narrow feather like fronds tapering from the middle to a point at the tip and to around half width at the base. The fruiting bodies or sori are small nodules arranged in two rows of five or six on the leaf underside, initially green maturing to brown when the spores are released the autumn.
Numerous cultivars and varieties are sold as garden plants with the cultivar "Cristata" having the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Male fern hybridise readily with other Male fern species.
FBCP do not advise or recommend that Male Fern - Dryopteris filix-mas agg. is eaten or used as an herbal remedy. Male Fern roots were apparently used as a method of tapeworm removal from the body, now supplanted by modern less toxic remedies.
Leaf emergence or "Croziers"
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