Herbs & Plants

Asplenium trichomanes

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Botanical Name :  Asplenium trichomanes
Family: Aspleniaceae
Genus:     Asplenium
Species: A. trichomanes
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class:     Polypodiopsida
Order:     Polypodiales

Common Names : Maidenhair spleenwort,Dense spleenwort, Toothed spleenwort, Brightgreen spleenwort

Habitat : It is widespread in temperate and subarctic areas and also occurs in mountainous regions in the tropics. Its range includes most of Europe and much of Asia south to Turkey, Iran and the Himalayas with a population in Yemen. It occurs in northern, southern and parts of eastern Africa and also in eastern Indonesia, south-east Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and Hawaii. It is found in North America and Central America and Cuba, and the northern and western regions of South America such as Chile.

It grows in rocky habitats such as cliffs, scree slopes, walls and mine waste, the type of rock used as a substrate depending on the subspecies. It grows from sea-level up to 3000 metres in North America while in the British Isles it reaches 870 metres.

Asplenium trichomanes is an evergreen Fern growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in).

It grows in tufts from a short rhizome. The fronds are long and narrow, gradually tapering towards the tip. They are simply divided into small, yellow-green to dark-green pinnae. The stipe and rachis of the frond are dark all along their length. The fronds can reach 40 cm in length but are more commonly 8-20 cm. They bear long, narrow sori which contain the spores.


Rhizome: short-creeping, often branched, scales clathrate, black, or sometimes with brown borders, to 5 mm , lanceolate.

Frond: 20 cm high by 1.5 cm wide, evergreen, monomorphic or nearly so, but the sterile fronds are earlier and prostrate, blade/stipe ratio: 3:1 to 5:1.

Stipe: a diagnostic feature (10x hand lens) is a narrow wing running the length of the stipe and rachis; brown-black or coppery, lustrous all the way to the end of the rachis , dark brown to black, filiform scales at base, then glabrous above, vascular bundles: 2 c-shaped, back to back, uniting to 1 upwards in an x-shape.

Blade: 1-pinnate, linear, widest above the middle, tapering to either end, thin, glabrous or minutely hairy.

Pinnae: 20 to 35 pair, opposite to subopposite, oblong, round at apex; margins finely dentate; veins free, evident.
Sori: oblong to linear, about 1.5 mm long, , 2–5 pairs per pinna, indusium: translucent, pale tan, hidden by sporangia at maturity, on one side of the sorus, sporangia: brown, maturity: late summer to early fall.

Dimensionality: spreading.

It is hardy to zone 6. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from May to October.

Requires a well-drained position and lots of old mortar rubble in the soil[1]. Requires a humid atmosphere and some shade. A good plant for growing on a shady part of an old dry-stone or brick wall. Plants are hardy to about -30°c. 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. The spores usually germinate in the 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 greenhouse. Keep the plants humid until they are well established. Once the plants are 15cm or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring.

Edible Uses :  
Edible Uses: Tea.

The dried fronds have been used as a tea substitute

Medicinal Uses:
A tea made from the fronds is sweet, demulcent, expectorant and laxative. It has been used in the treatment of chest complaints and to promote menstruation

Known Hazards:  Although it is  found that 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.


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