Osmunda ternata Thunb.
Sceptridium ternatum (Thunb.) Lyon
Botrychium ternatum is a perennial fern growing from a short, erect rhizome. It produces a single frond each year, usually 15 - 55cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens.
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[
E. Asia - China, Japan. Korea, Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, Vietnam.
Thickets and grassy places in lowland and low mountains[
]. In the shade of shrubs; at elevations from 400 - 1,000 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Botrychium ternatum is found in a large part of China, ranging from the temperate climate of the northeast (hardiness zone 5 - 6) to the subtropics of the south. Some reports say it is not hardy outside the very mildest regions of the temperate zone[
], but plants obtained from the north of its range should be considerably hardier than this.
Prefers a sandy loam with just a small portion of peat[
]. Requires sharp drainage[
]. Best grown in an open position[
]. Plants can be difficult to establish. The prothalli (young plants formed when the spores germinate) of this plant form a symbiotic relationship with a mycorrhizal fungus, similar to the association of orchid seedlings with an invading fungus[
Unlike most species of ferns, the fronds of this species grow up straight and not curled inward, crozier fashion[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
Leaves - cooked[
]. A soft delicious taste[
The plant is stomachic, tonic and vulnerary[
The root is used in the treatment of dysentery[
Spores - best surface sown as soon as they are ripe in a greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. Placing the pot in a plastic bag helps to maintain a humid atmosphere which promotes germination and growth. Prick out small clumps into pots when they are large enough to handle and keep moist until established. Grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter and plant out in late spring.
Division. It is best not to try and disturb this plant[