Plant of the week - Hart’s-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium)
A common European fern species, but no less fascinating. It is unusual in having simple undivided fronds. Their tongue-like shape gave rise to their name, as well as the inclusion of the word ‘Hart’, meaning a male adult deer. The etymology of its name goes even further, as the fern’s sori (the structures underneath the leave which produce spores), share a similar pattern with centipedes legs, hence the specific name is ‘scolopendrium’ which is Latin for centipede.
Leaves are on average 10-60cm in length and relatively narrow at 3-6cm.
The species is often found in neutral and basic soils, and can often be seen growing out of cracks in rock and old walls. There is actually one growing out of my chimney of my house!
Photo on wall: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Spiers_harts_tongue_fern.JPG
Leaf detail: http://www.crocus.co.uk/images/products2/PL/00/00/00/18/PL0000001808_card_lg.jpg