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Ebony Spleenwort Ferns

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Spleen Wort Fern - Asplenium platyneuron Hardy Planting Zones- 3-9 Sun or Shade – Full to Partial Shade Mature Height - 6-12" Mature Width- 6-12" Bloom Season – Non-flowering Gardener Status- Beginner

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Here's how your plants will look on arrival. All plants are dormant with no leaves or foliage.

Ebony Spleenwort Fern - Asplenium Platyneuron

It is scientifically called Asplenium platyneuron, and it is a perennial fern. It consists of small tufts or individual leaves of simple-pinnate leaves. Those individual leaves length is ½-1½' and 1-2" across. Having semi-evergreen leaves that are fertile, erect and longer than sterile evergreen leaves. Each of the compound leaf having 10-40 leaflets pairs together with ist rachis or the central stalk. The leaflets arrange themselves alternately along the rachis, unlike in opposite pairs. Leaflets toward the bottom and the top of each leaf have small size unlike those toward the middle. Both of petiole and rachis of mature leaves are dark purplish brown and terete; usually glabrous, but they sometimes have sparse white hair.

Those medium leaflets have delicate-elliptic or delicate-oblong shape, crenate-serrate which is along the margins, and also glabrous; young leaflets mostly have lustrous quality. On the upper side of leaflets are basally auricled which give them asymmetrical appearance; where the narrow deltate auricles overlap rachis. Their leaflets have pinnate veins; each having a central vein and many lateral veins. The veins that are lateral are forked. For mature fertile leaves, their leaflets have two columns that are elongated sori on bottom part; where sori become oriented diagonally towards the central veins. During the summer, spores become released away to the wind or fall early. The root system contains a short rhizome having fibrous roots.

For cultivation purpose, it will prefer dappled sunlight or partial sun, in slightly dry or moist conditions, and soil that is sandy, loamy, or rocky. Unlike other spleenworts that are restricted in rocky habitats, this Ebony spleenwort is well adapted to the terrestrial conditions. It is having an advantage of thriving well in gardens.

Native Ebony occasionally found in Southern Illinois, while in northern becomes absent or uncommon. It is spreading in new locations but its habitat is sandy woodlands, rocky wooded slopes, sandy savannas, upland woodlands, rocky cliffs, small meadows, sandstone, sandy meadows, limestone glades and rocky banks found along the roads.


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The Ebony Spleenwort Fern is a North America native, commonly found east of the Rocky Mountains and into South Africa. Its name is derived from its dark, reddish-brown, shiny stem and leaf axis, which spouts a once-divided, pinnate leaf. The resilient but small Ebony Spleenwort Fern grows in a broad range of habitats, including living on rocks and in various soils. It is not overly sensitive to soil pH. It is not affected by insects or disease, so it makes a tremendous low-maintenance addition to any woodland garden.