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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
HART'S TONGUE FERN
syn. Phyllitis scolopendrium, Scolopendrium
Pronounced: a-SPLAY-nee-um sko-lo-PEN-dree-um
Europe, Western Asia, Eastern North America.
Sunset zones: 2b-9, 14-24.
USDA zones: 6-8.
Heat zones: 8-6.
Height: 28 inches (71 cm).
Width: 24 inches (60 cm).
Flowering attributes: Sori is arranged in a herringbone pattern.
Nine to eighteen inches long, glossy, strap-like green leaves with wavy margins.
Humus rich soil; add lime for extra calcium.
Sow spores when ripe.
Divide in late winter or early spring.
Prune dead fronds in early spring.
Rainy Side Notes
Unlike other ferns, Asplenium scolopendrium bears undivided fronds. Scolopendrium is based on the sori on the back of the leaves resembling centipede legs. Its epithat comes from the Greek word for centipede, scolopendra. This handsome fern grows globally, with scattered populations in eastern North America, many of which are endangered. Occasionally, it is found growing in acidic earth; however, it's more commonly found on limestone soil. Hart's tongue fern grows well in cool, moist air in rocky woodlands, on slopes and sheltered cliff sites. Well suited for growing outdoors in our maritime climate, it also makes an excellent container plant, as long as you add extra lime to the soil mix and do not allow the soil to dry out.
Very tropical looking, it's attractive in the shade garden. Even during the dark days of winter, the glossy evergreen fronds look fresh and new. Hart's tongue fern is stunning next to epimediums (Bishop's cap) or soleirolias (Baby's tears) planted at its feet.
Photographed in author's garden.