Chain Fern (Woodwardia radicans)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chain Fern
Woodwardia radicans

Plants can be grown as a ground cover when spaced about 1 metre apart each way[208].

The dried fronds and stems have been used in making baskets[257].

  • Medicinal Use

    Anthelmintic, astringent[178].

    A decoction of the roots has been used both internally and externally in the treatment of pain from injuries[257].

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[200]. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[172].

Cultivation & Habitat

Spores – best sown as soon as they are ripe, though they can also be sown in the spring. Sow them on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and keep humid until they are well established. Do not plant outside until the ferns are at least 2 years old and then only in a very well sheltered position. Plants produce a plantlet at the tips of each frond. These can be detached from the parent plant and rooted in humid conditions in a frame or the fronds can be anchored down and the plantlet allowed to root in situ[200]. Division in spring[188].
Requires a neutral to acid humus-rich soil[200]. Prefers growing in wet conditions, especially near running water[200]. Grows best in semi-shade[188]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, once established it tolerates temperatures down to about -5¡c[200, 260] and succeeds outdoors in the milder areas[208]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. A very ornamental plant[1].
South-western Europe and the Atlantic Islands.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.