Plant Guide > Ferns > Forked Spleenwort Fern

Forked Spleenwort Fern



Acrostichum septentrionale
Amesium septentrionale

The Forked Spleenwort Fern is like the Wall Rue, and has similar tufted fronds, but the whole frond is a grasslike spike, forked towards the top, and divided into two or three thickish sharp-pointed segments, about half an inch long, containing on the back two or more separate lines of sori, which eventually occupy the whole space. The fronds make their appearance m March or April, gain maturity in August, and remain green throughout the winter. There is scarcely any danger of confusing this fern with any other, although its similarity to the Buckshorn Plantain might mislead a very casual observer.

It is decidedly a rare British fern. It grows only in the interstices and fissures of rocks and stone walls. It is found at Llanrwst, near Conway, in Wales; in Cumberland, Yorkshire, and some other northern counties of Enbland; and in only two localities in Scotland. Mr. Ward found it plentifully in Somersetshire, and Mr. Newman says Poten, a well-known collector of ferns, brought hundreds of roots from the parish of Culbone, in that county. Gerarde speaks of it as a dweller in the mining districts, and calls it Muscus corniculatus. He says, "It riseth from the ground with many bare and naked branches dividing themselves at the top into sundry knags, like the forked hornes of a deere."

When cultivated, it requires the shelter of a close frame or bell-glass. The same treatment may be pursued as with Asplenium Ruta muraria, bearing in mind that no superfluous moisture must be allowed. Mr. Wollaston says that it not only requires very careful potting, but great care and attention afterwards. The best soil is sandy peat, with some old mortar mixed with it.