Herb: Fragrant Woodfern


Latin name: Dryopteris fragrans


Synonyms: Polypodium fragrans


Family: Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)



Edible parts of Fragrant Woodfern:

The leaves are made into a tea.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Fern

Height:
20 cm
(7 3/4 inch)

Habitat of the herb:

Rocks and screes in Arctic Finland. Shaded cliffs and talus, often of limestone at elevations of 50 -1800 metres in northern N. America.

Other uses of Fragrant Woodfern:

The plant has been used as a bedding.

Propagation of the herb:

Spores - can be sown at any time of the year in a greenhouse. Surface sow on a sterilised compost and keep moist, possibly by placing the pot in a plastic bag. Germinates in 1 - 3 months at 20C. Pot up small clumps of the plants when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a shady part of the greenhouse until large enough to plant out. Division in spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of Fragrant Woodfern:

Rocks and screes in Arctic Finland. Shaded cliffs and talus, often of limestone at elevations of 50 -1800 metres in northern N. America.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Dryopteris fragrans:

Although we have found no reports for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable. The fresh plant contains 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. However, there have been reports for other species of ferns suggesting that even cooked fronds can have a long term harmful effect. Some caution is therefore advised.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.