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Polystichum aculeatum - (L.)Roth.

Common Name Hard Shield Fern
Family Dryopteridaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[200]. 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[172].
Habitats Deciduous woodland, often on limy soils, and sometimes on shaded limestone outcrops[187]. Especially in the wetter areas of Britain[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, S.W. Asia to China, Japan.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Polystichum aculeatum Hard Shield Fern


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illustration_Polystichum_lobatum0.jpg
Polystichum aculeatum Hard Shield Fern
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:MPF

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of fern
Polystichum aculeatum is an evergreen Fern growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen from July to August.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

P. lobatum. Aspidium aculeatum.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

Eaten in curries[177]. We have no more details, it is probably the young leaves that are used though it might be the root.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Plants can be grown as a ground cover and are best placed about 60cm apart each way[208].

Special Uses

Ground cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Very hardy and easily grown in light shade in any reasonable soil[187]. Prefers a sandy humus-rich soil in a shady position that is moist even in winter[1]. Tolerates part sun for up to 6 hours a day if the soil remains moist[200]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.5[200]. A very ornamental plant[1]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. Remove old fronds from the plant in the spring because they may harbour fungal diseases[200]. Some named forms have been selected for their ornamental value[187].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Spores - best sown as soon as they are ripe, though they can also be sown in the spring. Sow them on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and keep humid until they are well established. Do not plant outside until the ferns are at least 2 years old and then only in a very well sheltered position. Division. This is best done in the spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Polystichum acrostichoidesChristmas FernFern0.6 4-9 MLMFSM12 
Polystichum munitumGiant Holly Fern, Western swordfernFern1.0 4-8  LMFSDM123

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Expert comment

Author

(L.)Roth.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

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