Herb: Berry Bladder Fern

Latin name: Cystopteris bulbifera

Synonyms: Felix bulbifera, Polypodium bulbiferum

Family: Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)

Edible parts of Berry Bladder Fern:

Root. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails.

Description of the plant:


15 cm
(6 inches)

Habitat of the herb:

Shaded ravines, rocky (mainly calcareous) slopes and steep banks.

Other uses of Berry Bladder Fern:

A good ground cover plant. Forming a slowly spreading clump, it should be planted 30cm apart each way.

Propagation of the herb:

Spores - best sown as soon as 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 1 - 3 months at 20C.Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and keep humid until they are well established. Do not plant outside until the ferns are at least 2 years old. Division in spring. Bulbils are produced at intervals along the midrib and these can be planted into pots as soon as they are ripe.

Cultivation of Berry Bladder Fern:

Shaded ravines, rocky (mainly calcareous) slopes and steep banks.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Cystopteris bulbifera:

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.