Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Hart's Tongue Fern
Asplenium scolopendrium

Family: Aspleniaceae
Genus: Asplenium (ass-PLEE-nee-um) (Info)
Species: scolopendrium (skol-oh-PEND-ree-um) (Info)

Synonym:Phyllitis scolopendrium
Synonym:Scolopendrium vulgare
Synonym:Asplenium altajense
Synonym:Phyllitis japonica

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By Baa
Thumbnail #1 of Asplenium scolopendrium by Baa

By palmbob
Thumbnail #2 of Asplenium scolopendrium by palmbob

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #3 of Asplenium scolopendrium by kennedyh

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #4 of Asplenium scolopendrium by kennedyh

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Thumbnail #5 of Asplenium scolopendrium by kennedyh

By Baa
Thumbnail #6 of Asplenium scolopendrium by Baa

By rcn48
Thumbnail #7 of Asplenium scolopendrium by rcn48

There are a total of 20 photos.
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5 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Meghanshepard40 On Oct 11, 2012, Meghanshepard40 from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grew this fern on the north side of my house in sandy soil beside a red cedar stump. It got very little supplemental water in summer. I have since moved nine miles south of my old garden. I was back, after 3 1/2 years and it had no care at all since I left. It was disturbed two years ago, sewer problem, but is flourishing and has grown quite large.?!?!!! I just purchased another and am deciding where to place it. I love ferns and don't have much shade at new place. I recommend this fern for lovely foliage contrast. I live in Seattle, I grew it in the Madrona neighborhood

Positive Cretaceous On Mar 26, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Asplenium scolopendrium is fairly common in nurseries locally, and has thrived here in zone 9b. Native to Europe.

The American Hart's-tongue Fern, Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum, is generally smaller. It is considered threatened and is listed as a U.S. federal government protected plant.

Neutral flowAjen On Feb 10, 2007, flowAjen from central, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

I was very pleased when I found this in Wayside's catalog 2 years ago, I planted it and the next day when I went to water it, it was gone! Something ate it all the way down to the ground!!! I figured I wasn't going to plant another one just to feed whatever critter decided to use it for dinner. So sad.

Neutral rcn48 On Dec 19, 2004, rcn48 from Lexington, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Although this plant is only reported to grow in several counties in Michigan, we have always made a point to be on the lookout for it when visiting Northern Michigan each summer. On a recent botanical field trip to the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, we were pleased to find them growing profusely on Devonian Shield/Niagara Escarpment limestone alvars throughout the woodlands there.

Neutral Shadyfolks On Nov 13, 2004, Shadyfolks from Chesterland, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have grown this fern for three years now (Z5) and it was doing ok. This year I learned that it prefers an alkaline soil so I purchased some hydrated lime and sprinkled it around the plant and then watered it in. I have to say that within a few weeks the plant was improving and by the end of the season you could definately say the plant has never looked better.

Positive nevadagdn On Nov 12, 2004, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

Hart's Tongue fern survived well through our hot, dry summer. It got lots of water, plenty of shade, and rich, loamy soil.

Positive wnstarr On Feb 17, 2004, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Edgewood, Washington
Have great success with the hart's tongue fern here outside in our acid soil. Also have a sport that is crested. The crested one looks almost like a head of fresh garden lettuce. Both are winners. Each has its own merits.

Positive dubhloaich On Dec 6, 2002, dubhloaich from Scappoose, OR wrote:

I used to try and try to keep birdsnest ferns alive as house plants. Then I found the Heart's Tongue Fern, which grows quite nicely in my garden and I'll never buy another birdsnest fern.

Although it may prefer alkaline soil, mine do just fine in acidic soil.

Neutral Baa On Aug 27, 2002, Baa wrote:

A terrestrial fern from Europe and Western Asia.

Has broadly lance or strap shaped, glossy, mid-green, evergreen fronds each with a wavy margin.

Loves fertile, constantly moist but well-drained soil in partial shade and is one of the few Asplenium species that prefers an alkaline soil.

The plant pictured dropped out of the sky one day and just missed me by a foot. It had been dislodged by the workmen removing the chimney. It was promptly planted in it's new position and has grown happily ever since.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

El Cerrito, California
Hayward, California
Batavia, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
East Tawas, Michigan
Brooklyn, New York
Clinton Corners, New York
Flat Rock, North Carolina
Chesterland, Ohio
Corning, Ohio
Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Lake Forest Park, Washington
Puyallup, Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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