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: