Harts Tongue Fern Asplenium scolopendrium

Scientific Name: Asplenium scolopendrium (Aspleniaceae). 'Scolopendrium' means 'centipede' and refers to the pattern the spores make on the back of the leaves, looking like centipede legs.

English Name: Harts Tongue Fern (Spleenwort family). A 'hart' is another name for 'stag' or male Red Deer.

French Name: Scolopendre (='centipede'); Langue de cerf (='stag tongue').

5 Key Characters:
  • long leaves reminiscent of tongues, 10 - 60 cm long and 3 - 6 cm wide.
  • grows on limestone, in the shade.


Habitat: Limestone and neutral substrate, in the shade. Damp rocks, old walls, wells.

Status: Abundant. The species is native to the Touraine and Berry (indeed, the whole of France), but is often also grown as a garden cultivar. A folk remedy used as a spleen tonic.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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