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Uses

Toxic parts

The fresh shoots contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[1]. Although we have found no reports for this species, a number of ferns also contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[2].

Edible uses

Notes

Young shoots, harvested before they have fully unfolded, can be eaten cooked[3]. They must not be eaten raw - see the notes above on toxicity[1]. Used in spring, they are a bitter emergency food[1]. Rhizome - peeled and slow-baked[4][5]. Reports that the root of this plant were eaten by native North American Indians are likely to be mistaken, it was probably Dryopteris expansa that was used[3].

Leaves

Material uses

A good ground cover plant[2], forming a slowly spreading clump[6]. The cultivar 'Minor' has a denser habit and spreads more freely, making a better cover[6].
There are no material uses listed for Athyrium filix-femina.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A tea of the boiled stems has been used to relieve labour pains[7][8][5]. The young unfurled fronds have been eaten to treat internal ailments such as cancer of the womb[5]. The roots are anthelmintic and diuretic[9][8]. A tea of the boiled roots has been used to treat general body pains[7][5], to stop breast pains caused by childbirth and to induce milk flow in caked breasts[8][5]. The dried powdered root has been applied externally to heal sores[8][5]. A liquid extract of the root is an effective anthelmintic, though it is less powerful than the male fern, Dryopteris felix-mas[9].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Spores - surface sow in a pot of sterile compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep moist, this is most easily done by putting the pot in a plastic bag. Pot up small clumps of the plants when they are large enough to handle and keep them moist until they are established. Plant out in late spring of the following year. Division in spring as plants come into growth. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Athyrium filix-femina. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

An easily grown plant[9], it is calcifuge and prefers an acid soil with a pH from 4.5 to 6.5, but it tolerates alkaline soils if plenty of leaf mould is added[2]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist sheltered site with moderately high atmospheric humidity[2].

A very ornamental [10] and polymorphic species, there are many named varieties selected for their ornamental value[11].

Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[12].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Athyrium filix-femina. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Athyrium filix-femina.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Athyrium filix-femina
Genus
Athyrium
Family
Polypodiaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
2
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
partial sun
Shade
permanent shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    ?
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Athyrium filix-femina0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.42.5 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.2 Turner. N. J. Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples UBC Press. Vancouver. ISBN 0-7748-0533-1 (1995-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Gunther. E. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. University of Washington Press ISBN 0-295-95258-X (1981-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.55.65.7 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.2 Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.3 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    10. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    11. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
    12. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    13. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-17

    "image:Athyrium filix-femina0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Athyrium filix-femina"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyPolypodiaceae +
    Belongs to genusAthyrium +
    Functions asGround cover +
    Has binomial nameAthyrium filix-femina +
    Has common nameLady Fern +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partLeaves + and Root +
    Has edible useUnknown use +
    Has hardiness zone2 +
    Has imageAthyrium filix-femina0.jpg +
    Has mature height0.6 +
    Has mature width0.5 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAnthelmintic +, Diuretic +, Poultice + and Women's complaints +
    Has primary imageAthyrium filix-femina0.jpg +
    Has search nameathyrium filix-femina + and lady fern +
    Has shade tolerancePermanent shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceVery acid +, Acid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy +, Clay + and Heavy clay +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferencePartial sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameAthyrium filix-femina +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Inhabits ecosystem nicheSoil surface +
    Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Athyrium filix-femina +, Athyrium filix-femina +, Athyrium filix-femina +, Athyrium filix-femina +, Athyrium filix-femina + and Athyrium filix-femina +