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Mother Spleenwort Asplenium bulbiferum

Phonetic Spelling
as-PLEE-nee-um bulb-EE-fer-um
Description

Mother Spleenwort is a tropical fern native only to New Zealand, growing in most of its bush areas. Elsewhere it is sold commercially as an indoor, container-grown house plant.  It belongs to the Spleenwort family of ferns whose name is based on historical belief that these plants had medicinal value pertaining to the spleen.   Mother Spleenwort is characterized by feathery, finely cut foliage emerging from a single crown. Tall fronds, growing to a height of four feet, arch gracefully. Spleenworts produce no flowers or fruit and reproduce primarily through spores located in sori on the under sides of fronds. Mother Spleenwort also reproduces vegetatively, as its name suggests. Fronds develop little offsets that grow to about 2 inches in size, fall off, then grow into new ferns near the parent plant. This fern prefers low light in dappled to deep shade and well drained, moist, acidic soil. The native plant is edible and indigenous Maori use it as a food plant, collecting young fronds that are eaten raw or cooked like a vegetable. In zones where cultivation is suitable in landscapes, it should be sited in shady and sheltered areas, such as under an awning or in north-facing exposures avoiding sun and wind. It is attractive in containers, mass plantings, hanging baskets, or as specimen in shady or woodland gardens. Indoors it can be grown in a bright room, avoiding direct sun, and watering regularly to keep it evenly moist. An acidic potting mix containing clay, loam, chalk and sand is suitable.

 

VIDEO Created by NC State Extension's Homegrown series featuring Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#shade garden#lacy leaves#fern#deer resistant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#shade garden#lacy leaves#fern#deer resistant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Asplenium
    Species:
    bulbiferum
    Family:
    Aspleniaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Indigenous New Zealand Maori collect young fronds of this native edible fern and cook them like vegetables or use them raw. The young fronds are sometimes referred to as bush asparagus.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    New Zeland
    Distribution:
    South Asia, Australia, New Zealand
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer, Heavy Shade
    Edibility:
    Edible young fronds
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. The plant propagates vegetatively and by spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Fronds emerge from a single crown and are comprised of smooth, feathery, finely cut, alternately arranged bipinnate leaves. Plants propagate from spores that develop in sori on the undersides of leaves. This fern also propagates vegetatively, forming small offsets along the leaves that will drop to the ground near the parent plant and grown into new ferns.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade