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Scale Fern (Asplenium ceterach)

Ceterach officinarum. DC.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Scale Fern
Asplenium ceterach

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The whole plant is antitussive and diuretic[7]. It is widely used in the Mediterranean to treat gravel in the urine and is also used with other mucilaginous plants to treat bronchial complaints[7]. The taste is very bitter and needs to be sweetened with other herbs such as liquorice[7]. The plant is harvested from late spring to summer and can be dried for later use[7]. Some caution should be employed in its use since it has not been fully tested[7].

  • 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 on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Germinates in spring[1]. Spring sown spores germinate in 1 – 3 months at 15¡c[134]. Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse. Keep them humid until they are well established. When they are at least 15cm tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer.
A calcicole plant, it requires a freely draining but moist alkaline soil[1]. It tolerates full sun but prefers a position with at least part-day shade[200] and also grows in deep shade[219]. Plants can be grown in old brick walls[219]. A very ornamental plant[1]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
Central and southern Europe, including Britain, east to the Himalayas and Caucasus.

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.