Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum

Common Names:
American fern, American hart's tongue fern, Hart's-tongue fern
(Fern.) comb. nov. ined.
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Brian Parsons and Roger McCoy
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
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The conservation of Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum is fully sponsored.
Brian Parsons and Roger McCoy contributed to this Plant Profile.


Asplenium 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)

American hart's-tongue fern forms rosettes of evergreen, undivided fronds, 5 - 17 inches long (12 - 42 cm), - 1 inches wide (2 - 4.5 cm) with two lobes at the base, making the base heart-shaped. 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) Plants produce new fronds in the spring; each frond survives for two growing seasons, producing spores on year-old fronds from May through August. Spore-producing structures, the sporangia, are grouped into small, linear sori found on the upper half of the lower surface of the frond.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research