Hart's-tongue Fern

Latin name: Phyllitis scolopendrium

Family: Aspleniaceae (Spleenwort family)

The Hart’s-tongue fern is unusual because unlike most British ferns it has simple leaves rather than the more typical pinnate or feathery leaves. It is an evergreen plant and part of the spleenwort family. The name 'spleenwort' refers to this plant family’s use as a treatment for conditions affecting the spleen and liver.

The Hart's-tongue fern is common throughout the British Isles except for northern Scotland where its distribution is more scattered. It can be found in shady moist rocky places including banks, walls and woods.

Hart's-tongue fern grows well in shady conditions and prefers lime-rich soils. In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, it can be found in dark and damp environments including the grikes of limestone pavements and in woodlands such as upland mixed ashwoods. Both of these habitats can be found in abundance in the South of the National Park.

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The unfolding of Grass Wood throughout the year is a story of rich fulfilment. From 'Wharfedale' by Ella Pontefract & Marie Hartley

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