Hard Shield Fern
Herb: Hard Shield Fern
Latin name: Polystichum aculeatum
Synonyms: Aspidium aculeatum, Polystichum lobatum
Family: Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)
Edible parts of Hard Shield Fern:Eaten in curries. We have no more details, it is probably the young leaves that are used though it might be the root.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Deciduous woodland, often on limy soils, and sometimes on shaded limestone outcrops. Especially in the wetter areas of Britain.
Other uses of Hard Shield Fern:Plants can be grown as a ground cover and are best placed about 60cm apart each way.
Propagation of the herb:Spores - best sown as soon as they are ripe, though they can also be sown in the spring. Sow them on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. 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 and then only in a very well sheltered position. Division. This is best done in the spring.
Cultivation of Hard Shield Fern:Deciduous woodland, often on limy soils, and sometimes on shaded limestone outcrops. Especially in the wetter areas of Britain.
Medicinal use of the herb:None known
Known hazards of Polystichum aculeatum: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.