Information on Hart's-tongue

Common Name: Hart's-tongue
Scientific Name: Asplenium scolopendrium
Irish Name: Creamh na muice fia
Family Group: Thelypteridaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


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Hart's-tongue is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Also known as Asplenium scolopendrium, this is a widespread and familiar fern usually found by damp ditches, on limestone walls and in hedgerows.  It produces long (60cm) untoothed leaves with slightly wavy edges, heart-shaped at the base but tapering towards the apex.  The spores are arranged in lines along the reverse of the leaves.  This perennial plant is an evergreen, the leaves remaining on in a somewhat battered state and being replaced by fresh leaves in June.  It is a native plant which belongs to the family Thelypteridaceae.  

I first recorded this plant growing on the wall of our home in Co Dublin in 1965 and photographed it in Co Wicklow in 2005.  

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Hart's-tongue
Hart's-tongue

From Culpeper's Complete Herbal of 1653: 

 'Hart's-Tongue is much commended against the hardness and stoppings of the spleen and liver, and against the heat of the liver and stomach, and against lasks*, and the bloody-flux.  Dioscorides saith, it is good against the stinging or biting of serpents.' 

* see the Glossary of Old Medical Terms here http://www.leelehman.com/medical_1.html