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Athyrium filix-femina - (L.)Roth. ex Mert.

Common Name Lady Fern, Common ladyfern, Subarctic ladyfern, Asplenium ladyfern, Southern Lady Fern, Tatting Fer
Family Dryopteridaceae
USDA hardiness 3-8
Known Hazards The fresh shoots 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]. Although we have found no reports for this species, a number of ferns also contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[200].
Habitats Moist sheltered woods, hedgebanks and ravines[4], usually on acidic soils but also found in drier and more open habitats[187].
Range Throughout the N. Temperate zone, including Britain, to the mountains of India, tropical S. America.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern, Common ladyfern, Subarctic ladyfern,  Asplenium ladyfern, Southern Lady Fern, Tatting Fer


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Abalg
Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern, Common ladyfern, Subarctic ladyfern,  Asplenium ladyfern, Southern Lady Fern, Tatting Fer
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Piotrus

 

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Summary

Form: Irregular or sprawling.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of fern
Athyrium filix-femina is a deciduous Fern growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. The seeds ripen from July to August.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Asplenium felix-femina

Habitats

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

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Young shoots, harvested before they have fully unfolded, can be eaten cooked[256]. They must not be eaten raw - see the notes above on toxicity[172]. Used in spring, they are a bitter emergency food[172]. Rhizome - peeled and slow-baked[118, 257]. Reports that the root of this plant were eaten by native North American Indians are likely to be mistaken, it was probably Dryopteris expansa that was used[256].

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.

Anthelmintic;  Diuretic;  Poultice;  Women's complaints.

A tea of the boiled stems has been used to relieve labour pains[213, 222, 257]. The young unfurled fronds have been eaten to treat internal ailments such as cancer of the womb[257]. The roots are anthelmintic and diuretic[4, 222]. A tea of the boiled roots has been used to treat general body pains[213, 257], to stop breast pains caused by childbirth and to induce milk flow in caked breasts[222, 257]. The dried powdered root has been applied externally to heal sores[222, 257]. A liquid extract of the root is an effective anthelmintic, though it is less powerful than the male fern, Dryopteris felix-mas[4].

Other Uses

A good ground cover plant[200], forming a slowly spreading clump[208]. The cultivar 'Minor' has a denser habit and spreads more freely, making a better cover[208].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Ground cover, Massing, Woodland garden. An easily grown plant[4], it is calcifuge and prefers an acid soil with a pH from 4.5 to 6.5, but it tolerates alkaline soils if plenty of leaf mould is added[200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist sheltered site with moderately high atmospheric humidity[200]. A very ornamental [1] and polymorphic species, there are many named varieties selected for their ornamental value[187]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant.

Propagation

Spores - surface sow in a pot of sterile compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep moist, this is most easily done by putting the pot in a plastic bag. Pot up small clumps of the plants when they are large enough to handle and keep them moist until they are established. Plant out in late spring of the following year. Division in spring as plants come into growth. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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

 

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Author

(L.)Roth. ex Mert.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

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

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