Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant)

Fern
Lomaria spicant.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Hard Fern
Blechnum spicant
Blechnaceae

A good ground cover plant[208]. Relatively slow growing but succeeding in the dense shade of trees[197, 200].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaflets have been chewed in the treatment of internal cancer, lung disorders and stomach problems[257].

    The fronds are used externally as a medicine for skin sores[257].

    A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea[257].

  • Edible Use

    Root – cooked. An emergency food, used when all else fails[177].

    Young shoots (often called croziers) – cooked[177]. The young tender stems can be peeled and the centre portion eaten[257]. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails[177, 213]. It is also chewed to alleviate thirst on long journeys[213].

  • 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 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. Overwinter for the first year in a greenhouse and plant outside in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.
A calcifuge plant[17], it prefers a moist shady nook in the rock garden or a position in open woodland in a moist soil[1]. Succeeds in quite dense tree shade if the soil is moist[200]. Prefers a moist position and a northerly aspect but succeeds in sun and in clay soils[1]. A polymorphic and very ornamental species[1], there are several named varieties[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
Most of Europe, including Britain, N. Africa, Japan, Western N. America.

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.