Forked spleenwort

Epithet means "northern."

description: The rhizome is erect. The brownish-transi-tioning-to-green stipes split once or twice into forks at the tips and that is the extent of the frond. There are no pinnae. Sori and indusia are linear along the narrow ultimate segments.

range and habitat: This is a fern of acid habitats usually at high elevations in North America, Europe, including the British Isles where it is rare, Asia, China, and Taiwan.

culture and comments: Easily confused with a wispy tuft of bright green grass, Asplenium septentrionale does not readily adapt to domestication. It is charming and needs a niche in an acid pocket ("like those in old overalls" [Schenk, pers. comm.]). Pot culture with acidic grit and good drainage offers the best opportunity for success. For a similar visual I recommend A. xalternifolium, the hybrid with A. trichomanes, which is far more vigorous and generous with frond output.

Slender fronds of Asplenium septentrionale sheltered by boulders in the Swiss alps.

Asplenium ruta-muraria in an alpine setting near the summit of Austria's Grossglockner Pass.

Upright fronds of Asplenium trichomanes in the alpine garden at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.

Asplenium trichomanes subsp. hastatum in the garden of Asplenium specialist Stefan Jessen.

Sori on the fronds of Asplenium trichomanes

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