Ebony Spleenwort Asplenium platyneuron

πŸ‘€ Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
πŸͺ Not edible
β€πŸŒ± Easy-care
ebony spleenwort

ABOUT

Asplenium platyneuron, commonly known as Ebony Spleenwort, is a modestly ornamental fern that boasts distinctive features contributing to its aesthetic appeal. The fern's foliage is characterized by lance-shaped fronds which bear a resemblance to long, slender swords. These fronds are composed of multiple smaller leaflets called pinnae, which are neatly arranged in an alternate fashion along the central stem, known as the rachis. The overall color of Ebony Spleenwort's fronds predominantly exhibits a lush, vibrant green, providing a fresh and natural look. However, the stems stand out with their striking dark brown to black shade, resembling the color of ebony, which is how the plant gets one part of its common name. The bold contrast between the green of the leaves and the darkness of the stems adds to the visual interest of this fern. The texture of the fronds is quite smooth, with the edges of the leaflets ranging from entire to slightly toothed, contributing a subtle complexity to its appearance when viewed closely. The undersides of the fronds may feature reproductive structures, but these are often inconspicuous and do not detract from the overall simplicity and elegance of the plant's form. Ebony Spleenwort flourishes in a variety of habitats, often found nestling in rocky terrains and crevices, where it seemingly springs out of the rough surfaces, adding greenery to otherwise barren landscapes. Despite its delicate appearance, this fern is hardy and can adapt to different environments, making it a versatile addition to garden settings where it can provide a touch of woodsy charm without overwhelming other flora. Its compact and tidy growth habit enables it to fit into small spaces gracefully, adding texture and depth wherever it grows. In summary, the appearance of Ebony Spleenwort is notable for its elegant, sword-shaped fronds with contrasting dark stems, combining resilience with a refined aesthetic suitable for various natural and cultivated environments.

Plant Info
Care
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Ebony Spleenwort, Brownstem Spleenwort, Common Spleenwort

    • Common names

      Asplenium ebeneum, Asplenium platyneuron var. bacculum-rubrum, Asplenium platyneuron var. ebeneum, Asplenium schweinitzii, Asplenium trichomanes var. pachyrachis, Chamaefilix ebenea, Chamaefilix schweinitzii, Diplazium ebeneum, Neurophyllum platyneuron, Tarachia ebenea, Tarachia platyneuron.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Ebony Spleenwort is generally not considered toxic to humans. There is no widely recognized evidence of toxicity or serious consequences from ingesting parts of this fern species. As with any non-food plant, individual allergic reactions or digestive upset may occur, but Ebony Spleenwort is not known for containing poisonous substances that would cause severe symptoms of poisoning.

    • To pets

      The Ebony Spleenwort is not known to be toxic to pets. There is no significant evidence to suggest that ingestion of this fern would lead to poisoning in animals such as cats and dogs. However, it's always advisable to prevent pets from eating non-food plants as individual sensitivities can vary, and ingestion could potentially cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some cases.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle

      Perennials

    • Foliage type

      Evergreen

    • Color of leaves

      Green

    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-1.5 feet (30-45 cm)

    • Plant type

      Herb

    • Hardiness zones

      3-9

    • Native area

      North America

Benefits

  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ecological support – Asplenium platyneuron, commonly known as ebony spleenwort, provides habitat and food for various insects and wildlife.
    • Ornamental value – This fern adds aesthetic appeal to gardens and indoor settings with its distinctive dark central stem and bright green fronds.
    • Erosion control – The root system helps stabilize soil, preventing erosion in areas where it is planted.
    • Low maintenance – Ebony spleenwort is relatively easy to grow and does not require extensive care, making it suitable for novice gardeners.
    • Drought tolerance – Once established, it can tolerate periods of drought, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Shade tolerance – It thrives in partial to full shade, offering a green solution for darker areas of gardens and landscapes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    Asplenium platyneuron, commonly known as the ebony spleenwort, has had historical uses in herbal medicine, although modern scientific evidence for its efficacy is lacking and it is not commonly used today. Any purported medical properties listed below should be approached with caution, as they are based on historical or traditional claims rather than rigorous scientific research. Always consult with a healthcare provider before using any plant for medicinal purposes.

    • Diuretic: Traditionally used to increase urine output.
    • Expectorant: Historically used to aid in the expulsion of phlegm from the lungs.
    • Emmenagogue: Used in traditional practices to stimulate menstrual flow.
    Given the lack of scientific validation and the potential risks of using plants such as Asplenium platyneuron for medical purposes, reliance on these traditional uses is not recommended without the advice of a healthcare professional.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Ebony spleenwort can be used in landscaping for rock gardens or shaded woodland areas, providing evergreen texture and visual interest.
    • It may serve as a bioindicator for environmental quality, particularly in detecting heavy metals in the soil due to its sensitivity to pollution.
    • This fern can be used in terrariums and vivariums, creating a lush, tropical look and providing hiding spots for small fauna.
    • Ebony spleenwort can be employed in educational programs to teach about plant reproduction, particularly fern life cycles and spore propagation.
    • It is sometimes used by artists and crafters for creating botanical prints or pressed fern artwork due to its intricate fronds.
    • The fern can be used in erosion control on shady slopes where its root system helps to stabilize the soil.
    • Ebony spleenwort may be incorporated into green roofs or living walls in shady locations, contributing to urban biodiversity.
    • Cultivated as a companion plant, it can provide ground cover that helps maintain soil moisture for other shade-loving plants.
    • This plant is often used in rain gardens, which are designed to absorb rainwater runoff and filter pollutants.
    • Ebony spleenwort could potentially be employed in phytoremediation projects to rehabilitate disturbed or polluted shady sites.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Ebony Spleenwort is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Ebony Spleenwort is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: The Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) has the ability to grow in various conditions, often in rocky terrains and crevices, symbolizing strength and the capability to thrive in challenging environments.
    • Longevity: This hardy fern can live for many years, representing endurance and the passage of time.
    • Protection: Historically, ferns were believed to ward off evil spirits, and Ebony Spleenwort, as a type of fern, may carry this symbolic meaning of safeguarding and offering spiritual protection.
    • Healing: Ferns, in general, have been used in traditional medicine, and the Ebony Spleenwort is no exception. It may represent healing and the use of natural remedies.
    • Secretiveness: Ferns have a mysterious life cycle that was not understood for many years, and this enigmatic nature can be associated with the Ebony Spleenwort, symbolizing hidden knowledge or secrets.

πŸ’§
Every 3-4 days
Water
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500 - 2500 Lux
Light
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6%
Humidity
πŸͺ΄
Every 2-3 years
Repotting
🌱️
Spring-Early Summer
Propogation
βœ‚οΈοΈ
Not needed
Pruning
  • water dropWater

    Ebony Spleenwort, or Asplenium platyneuron, should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which typically means about once a week, depending on the humidity and temperature of the environment. The watering method should gently soak the soil, avoiding water on the fronds, until water runs through the drainage holes of the pot. Use approximately 16-24 ounces of water for smaller pots or up to 1 gallon for larger pots each time you water, ensuring the plant is never left sitting in water as this can cause root rot.

  • sunLight

    Ebony Spleenwort thrives in indirect light or partial shade, making it an ideal plant for North or East-facing windows where bright, direct sunlight is minimal. The best spot for this fern is where it can receive dappled sunlight or the soft light found under a canopy of trees when planted outside, as intense direct sunlight can cause the fronds to scorch.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The ideal temperature range for Ebony Spleenwort is between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive minimum temperatures down to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and maximum temperatures up to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Consistent temperatures within this range are ideal for healthy growth, avoiding the extremes that can stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Ebony Spleenwort isn't typically necessary, as it's a self-maintaining plant with fronds that naturally die back and can be removed to keep the plant looking tidy. If you do prune, do so in the spring to remove any old or damaged fronds. Cut the fronds close to the base using sterilized scissors or pruning shears, and this will also give the plant a chance to channel energy into new growth.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Ebony spleenwort thrives in a well-draining, humus-rich soil mix with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 5.0 to 7.0. A good mix could include peat, perlite, and finely ground pine bark to ensure adequate aeration and moisture retention.

  • plantRepotting

    Ebony spleenwort does not require frequent repotting; it can typically be repotted every 2 to 3 years, or when the plant outgrows its container, to refresh the soil and provide room for growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Ebony spleenwort prefers a humidity level of 60-70%, which is on the higher end of indoor humidity levels, akin to what it would find in its natural woodland habitat.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in indirect light, keep humid, and maintain moist soil.

    • Outdoor

      Partial shade, moist soil, shelter from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) begins its life cycle when mature spores released from the underside of fertile fronds are carried away by wind or water. Upon finding a suitable moist habitat, the spores germinate to form tiny, heart-shaped gametophytes, which are the sexual stage of the plant. These gametophytes produce both male and female reproductive organs; when they mature, the sperm swims toward the egg to achieve fertilization and initiate the next phase. The zygote then develops into a new sporophyte, which is the familiar leafy fern plant. As this new sporophyte grows, it produces fronds that uncurl from a fiddlehead to a full frond, and once the plant is mature, these fronds produce sori on their undersides that contain spores, thus completing the cycle. This cycle, from spore to mature sporophyte, typically spans several months to a couple of years, depending on the environmental conditions.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The Ebony Spleenwort, scientifically known as Asplenium platyneuron, can be propagated primarily through spores as it does not reproduce by seeds or cuttings like many flowering plants. The optimal time for collecting and sowing spores is during late summer when they are mature and the foliage of other plants does not overshadow the ground where sporelings will grow. The process involves collecting ripe spores from the undersides of fronds, which appear as small, brown to black dots in clusters called sori, ensuring a careful approach to avoid spore dispersion. Once gathered, the spores can be sown on a surface of moist, sterile potting mix, preferable within a container that allows humidity retention. Keeping the environment consistently moist and shaded, the spores will eventually germinate, which can take several weeks to months, producing tiny, heart-shaped gametophytes that later develop into new fern plants.