Wednesday, January 14, 2009


No, I'm not out of alphabetical order, at least not entirely. This odd looking fern is Phyllitis scolopendrium, but is also sometimes called Asplenium scolopendrium, though it seems to have nothing in common, at least looking at it, with the other aspleniums which are much more fern looking. This one has broad, thick, leathery leaves. It is a rather smallish plant, not over 8 or 10 inches tall. It is listed as hardy here in zone 6, even sometimes zone 5, but I find it is short lived outside, especially if we have a bad winter. The name comes from the Greek for 'centipede' which is for the two rows of regularly arranged linear sori (spore cases) on the lower surface of the frond. I do have a crested version of this one, but no picture, that has done well next to a large rock for a number of years. Not sure if the location is better or what, but I won't complain since it is a lovely plant and quite different. I have read that it doesn't like an acid soil and it was suggested that adding some limestone (not lime because that would be overkill) that will change the pH might be beneficial. This one is a North American native, but there are also European versions of it so it should be available most everyplace if you want to try it. Good drainage also appears to be essential to this one, much more than some of the other ferns which are happy living on stream edges and in swamps. More on those later.
Jane - who is expecting temperatures well below zero farenheit for the next few nights and maybe even a few inches of snow.

No comments: