Botanical Name: Dryopteris barbigera
Subfamily : Dryopteridoideae
Genus: Dryopteris, Adans.
Common Names: Wood ferns, Male ferns (referring in particular to Dryopteris filix-mas), or Buckler ferns
Habitat: Dryopteris barbigera is native to E. Asia – Himalayas in the Alpine zone from Kashmir to Sikkim. It grows on Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge.
Description: Dryopteris barbigera is a FERN. Many of the species have stout, slowly creeping rootstocks that form a crown, with a vase-like ring of fronds. The sori are round, with a peltate indusium. The stipes have prominent scales. Hybridisation is a well-known phenomenon within this group, with many species formed by this method.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. Prefers an acid to neutral soil, succeeding in ordinary fertile soil in a shady position. Prefers a moist soil, but is drought tolerant when established. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing dee.
Through 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: Not known to us.
The root contains about 2.1% ‘filicin’, a substance that paralyses tapeworms and other internal parasites and has been used as a worm expellent. 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 harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use, it should not be stored for longer than 12 months. This remedy should be used with caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The root is toxic and the dosage is critical. See also the notes below on toxicity.
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.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.