Asplenium scolopendrium, the Hart's tongue fern for moist and dry shade

A medium sized native fern with distinctive strap like fronds that grow almost upright. You are most likely to see dwarfed versions of them growing out of cracks in walls.

In woodland conditions they will grow larger and appear a deeper green with the fronds growing to about 60 cm or 2 feet in length.

Unusual looking British native fern

As ferns go they are quite unusual in that the fronds are solid. You are spoiled by the amount of variants there are. The Asplenium scolopendrium listed below are ones that are more easily available and provide a good cross section of the varieties available.

asplenium scolopendrium unfurling fronds
Fronds unfurling on this asplenium scolopendrium (18th May)
Small and large scolopendrium together
A small ruffled edge Hart's tongue fern n front of larger scolopendrium (26th May)

The range of frond styles vary from ruffled edges of Angustatum or Angustifolia, Muricata, Undulatum and Marginatum to the more uniform wavy edges of 'Crispum Moly'.

Ruffled Asplenium scolopendrium

Ruffled asplenium scolopendrium from side
Ruffle frond of Asplenium scolopendrium cultivar not known (26th May)
Ruffled asplenium scolopendrium from above
The same Ruffle frond A.scolopendrium viewed from above (26th May)

The range of frond styles vary from ruffled edges of Angustatum or Angustifolia, Muricata, Undulatum and Marginatum to the more uniform wavy edges of 'Crispum Moly'.

Crested Asplenium scolopendrium

More unusual are the crested cultivars that look like they are from the prehistoric era with the likes of 'Cristatum' and 'Furcatum' the Forked Hart's Tongue Fern. 'Ramomarginatum' is one of the more overly crested and has highly ruffled edges which gives it a moss like appearance.

Fern characteristics

Underside of frond as it unfurls
Underside of frond as it unfurls (18th May)
Frond width
Fronds can grow to 6cm in width (18th May)

As ferns go this is quite unusual in appearance as the fronds are undivided and so when they unfurl in late spring and early summer they remain a block of solid green.

The size varies depending on the variant but the classic Stag's horn is the largest. I have established ones that have fronds reaching 40cm (15 inches)and 6cm (2 inches) at their widest.

Asplenium scolopendrium Images

asplenium scolopendrium new spring growth
asplenium scolopendrium new spring growth (18th May)
Growing in dry shade with other ferns
This native fern is quite tolerant of dry shade (18th May)
new frond emerging
Classic scolopendrium (Hart's Tongue) shape of new new emerging frond (18th May)
asplenium scolopendrium angustatum
The frilly ruffled edges of asplenium scolopendrium angustatum (18th May)
asplenium scolopendrium angustatum shade
asplenium scolopendrium angustatum in heavy shade (6th june)
ruffled fronds of angustatum
Ruffled fronds of asplenium scolopendrium angustatum (6th June)
harts tongue ferns growing on north facing aspect of memorial located in Bainton Village, Lincolnshire
fern growing on north facing aspect of memorial located in Bainton Village, Lincolnshire (26th June)

Recommended Asplenium scolopendrium ferns to buy

These are native UK ferns, are evergreen and are very hardy H6 (-20c).

You can buy the Hart's Tongue fern and other evergreen ferns from the smaller nurseries that sell through Amazon.

Asplenium scolopendrium
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Angustifolia'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Moly'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Cristatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Furcatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Kaye's Lacerated'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Marginatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Muricata'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Ramomarginatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Undulatum'

List of Asplenium scolopendrium ferns

Asplenium scolopendrium (Crispum Cristatum Group) 'Crispum Cristatum Bolton'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Crispum Cristatum Group) 'Kirkby Lonsdale'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Crispum Fimbriatum Group) 'Drummondiae'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Crispum Group) 'Christopher Robinson'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Crispum Group) 'Crispum Bolton's Nobile'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Crispum Group) 'Golden Queen'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Crispum Group) 'Horning'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Crispum Group) 'Kaye's Splendour'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Crispum Group) 'Kaye's Superb'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Laceratum Group) 'David Avery'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Marginatum Group) 'Irregulare'
Asplenium scolopendrium (Sagittatocristatum Group) 'Apple Court'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Angustatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Apple Court'
Asplenium scolopendrium Brachiatum Crispum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium Brachiatum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Capitatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Circinatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Conglomeratum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Cornutoabruptum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crenatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium Crispum Cristatum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium Crispum Fimbriatum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium Crispum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Robinson'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Speciosum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Subfimbriatum Cristatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Superbum Kaye'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Variegatum Bolton'(v)
Asplenium scolopendrium Cristatum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Digitatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Feizor'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Fimbriatum Cristatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium Fimbriatum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Furcatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Ingeborg'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Kaye's Lacerated'
Asplenium scolopendrium Laceratum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Maerens'
Asplenium scolopendrium Marginatum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Muricatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Muricatum Crispum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Peraferens'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Plumosum Lupton'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Ramocristatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium Ramomarginatum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Ramosum Merryweather'
Asplenium scolopendrium Ramsoum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Sagittato-crispum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Sagittatocristatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Sagittatoprojectum Sclater'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Sagittatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Sagittatum Cristatum Superbum Kaye'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Spirale'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Stagshorn'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Transverso-cristatum'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Treble'
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Undulatum Crispum'
Asplenium scolopendrium Undulatum Cristatum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium Undulatum Group
Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum
Asplenium scolopendrium variegated (v)
Asplenium scolopendrium 'Variegatum Ramosum'