Herbs & Plants

Dryopteris crassirhizoma

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Botanical Name:Dryopteris crassirhizoma
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Dryopteris (dry-OP-ter-iss) (Info)
Species: crassirhizoma
*Dryopteris buschiana
*Dryopteris filix-mas (L.) Schott, misapplied
*Dryopteris buschiana Fomin
*Dryopteris setosa Kudo

Common Name :Guan Jung, Crown Wood-Fern

Habitat : Dryopteris crassirhizoma is native to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, and Siberia.It grows on mountains all over Japan. A terrestrial fern, growing on the humus-rich floor of temperate forests, often in colonies . Grows in  wooded slopes. Hardy to -25°C, USDA Zone 5.

Dryopteris crassirhizoma is a very beautiful fern. It is very vase-shaped, though the semi-evergreen leaves lie flat in the winter, then die back as the new fronds emerge.


Rhizome: stout, 10 cm across, erect, bearing more than ten ascending fronds in a beautiful whorl, scales lanceolate to linear, larger ones more than 4 cm long.

Frond: 100 cm high by 20 cm wide, deciduous, monomorphic, blade/stipe ratio: 4:1.

Stipe: grooved, straw colored, densly scaly, lanceolate to linear, brown, lustrous, vascular bundles: 3-7 in a c-shaped pattern.


Blade: almost 2-pinnate, deltate-ovate to lanceolate, widest at the middle, herbaceous , linear to ovate scales below, absent above.

Pinnae: catadromous; costae grooved above, continuous from rachis to costae; segments oblong, rounded; margins crenate; veins free, forked, immersed on upper surface.

Sori: round, confined to upper pinnae, indusium: reniform, at a sinus, sporangia: brownish.

Prefers an acid to neutral soil, succeeding in ordinary fertile soil in a shady position. Prefers a moist soil, but is drought tolerant when well established. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Spores – can be sown at any time of the year in a greenhouse. Surface sow on a sterilised compost and keep moist, possibly by placing the pot in a plastic bag. Germinates in 1 – 3 months at 20°c. Pot up small clumps of the plants when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a shady part of the greenhouse until large enough to plant out. Division in spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring


Edible Uses:  Young fronds are sometimes eaten.  No further details are found, but we would advise caution. See the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
The root contains ‘filicin’, a substance that paralyses tapeworms and other internal parasites and has been used as a worm expellant for humans and also in veterinary medicine. It is one of the most effective treatments known for tapeworms – its use should be immediately followed by a non-oily purgative such as magnesium sulphate in order to expel the worms from the body. An oily purge, such as caster oil, increases the absorption of the fern root and can be dangerous. The root is also taken internally in the treatment of internal hemorrhage, uterine bleeding, mumps and feverish illnesses. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use, it should not be stored for longer than 12 months.  Externally, the root is used in the treatment of abscesses, boils, carbuncles and sores.
In recent times this herb has been prescribed as a preventive measure during influenza epidemics. Guan zhong preparations strongly inhibit the flu virus in vitro. In one clinical trial, 306 people took twice-weekly doses of guan zhong and 340 served as controls. In the treatment group, 12 percent became ill versus 33 percent of the controls. Local versions of guan zhong from Guangdong, Hunan, and Jiangxi provinces have mildly inhibitory effects in vitro against many pathogenic bacteria. Guan zhong also is effective against pig roundworms in vitro, and it expels tapeworms and liver flukes in cattle.
In other studies, decoctions and alcohol extracts of dong bei guan zhong strongly stimulated the uterus of guinea pigs and rabbits. It increased the frequency and strength of contractions. Intramuscular injections of dong bei guan zhong preparations were used with more than 91-percent success to treat postpartum, post miscarriage, and postsurgical bleeding. Guan zhong is usually combined with other anti-infection herbs, like isatis, and provided in prepared remedies for both treating and preventing respiratory tract infections. For example, a folk practice in southern China is to treat drinking water with this herb to ward off common cold. Disease spread is also prevented by burning guanz hong with moxa (Artemisia argyi) as a fumigant.
Known Hazards : Although we have found no reports for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable. The fresh plant contains 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. However, there have been reports for other species of ferns suggesting that even cooked fronds can have a long term harmful effect. Some caution is therefore advised.

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.


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