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Blechnum spicant - (L.)Roth.

Common Name Hard Fern, Deer fern
Family Blechnaceae
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 Woods, heaths, moors, mountain grassland and on rocks, to 1200 metres[17].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, N. Africa, Japan, Western N. America.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Blechnum spicant Hard Fern, Deer fern


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Blechnum spicant Hard Fern, Deer fern
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of fern
Blechnum spicant is an evergreen Fern growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen from June 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 and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Lomaria spicant.

Habitats

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

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Root - cooked. An emergency food, used when all else fails[177]. Young shoots (often called croziers) - cooked[177]. The young tender stems can be peeled and the centre portion eaten[257]. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails[177, 213]. It is also chewed to alleviate thirst on long journeys[213].

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.

Astringent;  Cancer;  Skin;  Stomachic.

The leaflets have been chewed in the treatment of internal cancer, lung disorders and stomach problems[257]. The fronds are used externally as a medicine for skin sores[257]. A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea[257].

Other Uses

A good ground cover plant[208]. Relatively slow growing but succeeding in the dense shade of trees[197, 200].

Cultivation details

A calcifuge plant[17], it prefers a moist shady nook in the rock garden or a position in open woodland in a moist soil[1]. Succeeds in quite dense tree shade if the soil is moist[200]. Prefers a moist position and a northerly aspect but succeeds in sun and in clay soils[1]. A polymorphic and very ornamental species[1], there are several named varieties[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].

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Propagation

Spores - best sown as soon as they are ripe 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. Overwinter for the first year in a greenhouse and plant outside in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. 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 :

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Roth.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

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

Readers comment

   Tue Apr 27 19:10:19 2004

Can you give us the food chain of a blechnum spicant please?

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Subject : Blechnum spicant  
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