Plant Guide > Ferns > Lanceolate Spleenwort Fern

Lanceolate Spleenwort Fern



The Lanceolate Spleenwort is a low tufted fern, with twice-pinnate lanceolate fronds, which are usually three to six inches high, the longest pinnae rather below the middle of the frond. They are ovate, deeply and sharply toothed or lobed. The sori are two to four on each segment, distinct and oblong when young, but when old united into an irregular mass, and covering the upper part of the segment. It is not in perfection until September or October, and remains green through the winter.

This plant was well known to John Ray and the older botanists ; it is one of the few species that have escaped all confusion in nomenclature.

It is a very local fern, and though not confined to the sea-coast, must be considered chiefly a maritime species; for, with the exception of Tunbridge Wells and Snowdon, it does not appear to have been found far from the sea. In the south of England, near the coast, it is seen springing out of almost every wall. Among the damp rocks of Lizard Point, in Cornwall, it attains great luxuriance. In the Channel Islands, Jersey especially, it is very abundant.

Like other maritime species of ferns, it is not adapted for out-door cultivation, especially near London. In a hothouse, under a frame, or in a Ward's case, it does well, if properly managed. Probably there may be a little difficulty in a closed case, from its objection to continual moisture without evaporation; but this can be obviated by securing good drainage, and by occasionally admitting the air into the case.

Mr. Newman gives directions for the cultivation of this fern in a greenhouse, which, if properly attended to, would, we doubt not, secure success. He says: "Fill the flower-pot to the depth of four inches with small pieces of charcoal, in pieces not larger than a hazel-nut, clean silver-sand, fibrous peat chopped into bits, and light friable loam sifted fine, so as to get rid of pebbles; these ingredients, after being mixed well to-ether, should be passed through a coarse sieve. Hold the fern in the middle of the pot, with the roots spread as widely and loosely as possible, and with an iron spoon fill in the mixture, carefully and equally, shaking it down until the pot is full. Stand the pot in a feeder, constantly full of water, but supply no water on the fronds or the surface soil."