Phyllitis scolopendrium var. americanum

Common Names:
American fern, American hart's tongue fern, Hart's tongue fern, Hart's tonguefern
L. Fern
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
The Holden Arboretum

The conservation of Phyllitis scolopendrium var. americanum is fully sponsored.
Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons contributed to this Plant Profile.


Phyllitis scolopendrium var. americanum, or American hart's tongue fern, is the North American variety of a European species that was described in 1753 by Linnaeus as Phyllitis scolopendrium. This variety was discovered in North America in 1849 in Tennessee, and since then has been found in Alabama, New York, Michigan, and Ontario Canada. The American hart's tongue fern differs from its European relative based on several distinct morphological (shorter fronds, fewer indusia, etc. (Fernald 1935)) and genetic features (144 rather than 72 chromosomes (Britton 1953)). (USFWS 1989)

This fern has evergreen, strap-shaped fronds that are lobed at their base. They grow from 5-17 inches long and 3/4 to 1 3/4 inches wide. The green petiole portion of this frond is from 1 to 5 inches (3 to 12 cm) long, with cinnamon-colored scales on its surface. Fronds arise in clusters from short, creeping rhizomes that are themselves covered in cinnamon-colored scales. (USFWS 1989)

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research