The Asplenium scolopendrium is a fern from the Aspleniaceae family and also commonly named heart’s tongue fern. The word skolopenda is Greek for centipede. That refers to the sori underneath the fronds which resemble the legs of a centipede.

The Asplenium scolopendrium is native to Europe.

The fronds are shiny, undivided and strap-shaped. In spring new fronds unfurl. At first they are light green and then they darken. Old fronds will die and I pull them away if they have turned brown.

On the underside of the frond spores are formed in sori. At first they are green and as they ripen they will turn dark brown. The Asplenium scolopendrium spreads through those spores. The heart’s tongue fern forms a clump that slowly grows higher and wider. The Asplenium scolopendrium becomes about as wide as it is high.

The heart’s tongue fern does not like the sun. At first my heart’s tongue fern had a position with too much sun and did not do very well. Now I have placed it in full shade with a relatively moist, well-drained soil and sheltered against the wind and it looks beautiful. I find seedlings also in full shade, moist and sheltered. I assume plants always choose a new spot of their preference to grow in so that must be it for this fern. Frogs, toads and other animals and insects like to shelter underneath the fronds.



Attract bees: no

Characteristic: evergreen

Deer resistant: yes

Exposure: shade

Flower color: not applicable

Flowering time: not applicable

Foliage color: green

Fragrant flower: no

Hardiness: -30 ºC (-22 F)

Height: 22 inches (55 cm)

Soil: normal/ moist