The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







  • Asplenium bulbiferum - Mother fern
  • Asplenium nidus - Bird's-nest fern
  • Asplenium platyneuron - Ebony spleenwort
  • Asplenium rhizophyllum - Walking fern
  • Asplenium scolopendrium - Hart's-tongue fern
  • Asplenium trichomanes - Maidenhair spleenwort
  • Full list of Asplenium species

Asplenium is a genus of ferns, one of only two genera in the family Aspleniaceae. The other, Ceterach , is of questionable validity as a separate genus.

This genus of ferns is called spleenworts. Older segregate genera such as Camptosorus and Phyllitis have been convingly demonstrated to be properly in Asplenium. The name (both common name and scientific name), derives from an old belief, based on the doctrine of signatures, that the fern was useful for ailments of the spleen, due to the spleen-shaped sori on the backs of the fronds (wort is an ancient name that simply means plant).

A few of these ferns have some economic importance in the horticulture trade. The Bird's-nest fern , Asplenium nidus, is commonly found for sale as a house plant, as is the closely-related Asplenium antiquum. The Mother fern , Asplenium bulbiferum, is sometimes available at greenhouses, and is of interest, along with the related Asplenium viviparum, for the many small bulblets borne on the fronds that may grow into new plants. The Ebony spleenwort, Asplenium platyneuron, is also sometimes sold in nurseries as a hardy plant. However, many spleenworts are epipetric or epiphytic and are difficult to cultivate.

Some classifications include Asplenium in the order Aspleniales.

Last updated: 05-24-2005 11:38:52
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