Hart's-tongue Fern

©Paul Lane

Hart's-tongue fern

Scientific name: Asplenium scolopendrium
The hart's-tongue fern is a hardy fern of damp, shady places in woodlands. It also makes a good garden fern. It has simple, tongue-shaped, glossy, green leaves that have orange spores on their undersides.

Species information


Height: up to 60cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The hart's-tongue fern is a medium-sized fern that can be found growing in damp, shady gorges and banks in woodlands, as well as on rocks, walls and mossy branches. It is a hardy plant and is ideal for gardens - plant it in shade under trees, or on walls or gravelly areas for attractive cover all year-round.

How to identify

The hart's-tongue fern is a very simple fern: the frond is a single, glossy, green blade, with orange spores underneath.



Did you know?

The hart's-tongue fern gets its name because it is thought to look like the tongue of a deer. The leaves are, indeed, tongue-shaped, with pointy, curly tips.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.