Hart’s tongue fern

Another of the species found in the reserve by BSBI County Recorder Richard Aisbitt during his visit to the reserve last summer: hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium).

Hart’s tongue fern is an evergreen plant, widespread in deciduous woodland in England and Wales but much rarer in Scotland. It is an indicator species, indicative of ecological continuity, and its presence can help identify old or ancient woodland.

Easy to recognise, hart’s tongue fern is the only native fern that hasn’t got divided leaves. Its strap-like fronds are erect, bright green and, when well established, can grow up to 50cm long.

It has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat digestive problems but modern analysis has found it to contain compounds useful in the treatment of high blood pressure and the healing of open wounds.

Header image: by Fernando Losada Rodríguez (CC BY-SA 4.0) wikimedia.org

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