Friday, August 27, 2010

Asplenium scolopendrium--Hart's Tongue Fern

This fern isn't very fern, but it has its own special beauty. It is evergreen and looks good all year long. The groups of spores, or sori, make herringbone lines on the back of the fronds, which, if you use your imagination, look like centipedes. That is why it is called "scolopendrium," which is Greek for "centipede." The common name also has an interesting derivation. "Hart" is a synonym for deer, and the fronds look like deer tongues to some people. During the Victorian fern-craze, it was a prized collectible. Sporing now at the UC Botanical Garden.

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