Asplenium platyneuron (L.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.
Aspleniaceae (Spleenwort Family)
USDA Symbol: aspl
Sterile and fertile fronds are entirely different in appearance and habit. Sterile fronds are only 2-6 in. long, have short, blunt, alternate pinnae, and are evergreen. Fertile fronds are 1-2 ft. long, erect-arching, and bear short, alternate pinnae below and longer, opposite pinnae above. Fronds occur in loose clusters, arising from the clumping rootstock. Colonizing roots are black and wiry.
The word, ebony, refers to the fact that the stalk turns a shining black with age.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Normally 12 to 18 inches high
Leaf: Fertile leaves dark green. Infertile leaves paler.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , AZ , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Native Distribution: Ontario and ME to s. MN & s.e. CO, s. to FL & TX. North America east of the Rockies, Zones 5 to 9. Also southern Africa.
Native Habitat: Moist, shaded spaces between rocks; old fields; sandy pinelands; thickets; roadsides
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2) , Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Gravelly, slightly acid, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Limestone-based. Grows well in acid or alkaline soils.
Conditions Comments: One of the most drought-tolerant ferns, this fern also takes more sun than many, provided it's kept moist enough. Must have good drainage, and does not tolerate flooding. Will need extra water in dry areas to make a ground cover, and even then will only cover loosely.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Good for light, airy cover in drier areas than most ferns can handle.
Interesting Foliage: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division
Description: Root division while dormant or spores
Maintenance: Water occasionally to maximize its cover and to keep it green through hot, dry summers.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 1231 - Guide To the Ferns of Grey and Bruce Counties, Ontario (1999) Owen Sound Field Naturalists
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Asplenium platyneuron in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Asplenium platyneuron in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Asplenium platyneuron
MetadataRecord Modified: 2018-05-18
Research By: TWC Staff