Botanical Name : Asplenium Adiantum nigrum
Family: Aspleniaceae / Polypodiaceae
Species: A. adiantum-nigrum
Synonym: Black Maidenhair.
Common Name:Black spleenwort
Habitat : Asplenium Adiantum nigrum is found mostly in Africa, Europe, and Eurasia, but is also native to a few locales in Mexico and the United States.It grows on Rocky woods, hedgebanks, shady walls and rocks
Asplenium adiantum-nigrum is an evergreen Fern growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).This spleenwort has thick, triangular leaf blades up to 10 centimeters long which are divided into several subdivided segments. It is borne on a reddish green petiole and the rachis is shiny and slightly hairy. The undersides of each leaf segment have one or more sori arranged in chains.
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Lowest pinnules of middle pinnae c 6-10 mm. Lowest pinnae 2-6 cm
ID: Stalk blackish, rachis green except at base. Midrib of pinna has characteristic winged appearance, see pic on left. Lowest pinnae longest, overall shape narrow-triangular.
Other features: Leaves are rather leathery and glossy. Sori are linear, on veins, covering much of the underside of the pinna.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from Jun to October.
Requires a partly shaded site with preferably less than 3 hours sunshine daily. Plants can be grown in old brick walls. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Spores – best sown as soon as they are ripe on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Germinates in spring. Spring sown spores germinate in 1 – 3 months at 15°c. Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse. Keep them humid until they are well established. When they are at least 15cm tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer.
The plant is bitter, diuretic, laxative and ophthalmic. It is taken internally to treat diseases of the spleen, jaundice and ophthalmia. It is said to produce sterility in women. A decoction or syrup made from the fronds is emmenagogue, expectorant and pectoral. It is used to relieve troublesome coughs.
Hair………A decoction of the herb is a good hair wash.
Known Hazards: Although there is no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.