Herb: Wall Rue

Latin name: Asplenium ruta-muraria

Family: Polypodiaceae (Polypody Fern Family)

Medicinal use of Wall Rue:

The fronds are astringent, deobstruent, emmenagogue, expectorant and ophthalmic. A distilled water made from the fronds has proved of benefit in the treatment of many eye complaints. The plant is also considered to be useful in the treatment of coughs and ruptures in children. It was at one time used as a herbal remedy for rickets and its tannin content renders it suitable for stopping bleeding from small wounds. The fronds are harvested in late spring and dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


10 cm
(4 inches)

Habitat of the herb:

Old walls and basic rocks in hilly areas.

Propagation of Wall Rue:

Spores - best sown as soon as they are ripe on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Germinates in spring. Spring sown spores germinate in 1 - 3 months at 15C. Pot on small clumps of plantlets into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse. Keep the plants humid until they are well established. Once the plants are 15cm or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Old walls and basic rocks in hilly areas.

Known hazards of Asplenium ruta-muraria:

Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable. Many ferns also 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.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.