Hard Shield Fern (Polystichum aculeatum)

Fern
P. lobatum. Aspidium aculeatum.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Hard Shield Fern
Polystichum aculeatum
Dryopteridaceae

Plants can be grown as a ground cover and are best placed about 60cm apart each way[208].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Eaten in curries[177]. We have no more details, it is probably the young leaves that are used though it might be the root.

  • 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. Division. This is best done in the spring.
Very hardy and easily grown in light shade in any reasonable soil[187]. Prefers a sandy humus-rich soil in a shady position that is moist even in winter[1]. Tolerates part sun for up to 6 hours a day if the soil remains moist[200]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.5[200]. A very ornamental plant[1]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. Remove old fronds from the plant in the spring because they may harbour fungal diseases[200]. Some named forms have been selected for their ornamental value[187].
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, S.W. Asia to China, Japan.

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.