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Common Name: Berry Bladder Fern
Cystopteris bulbifera is a Deciduous Fern up to 0.15 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
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[
Eastern N. America - Newfoundland to Manitoba, Wisconsin and Iowa, south to Georgia and Arkansas.
Shaded ravines, cracks and ledges on cliffs, rarely terrestrial; usually on calcareous substrates from sea level to 2500 metres[
Prefers a shady position in a moist but well-drained soil, succeeding in most soil types[
]. Plants can tolerate up to 4 hours direct sun per day[
]. Prefers a pH between 6.5 and 7, but tolerates a range from 5.5 to 7.5[
]. Plants can be grown on old mortared walls if they are in a shady position[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
Plants die back early in dry seasons[
This plant produces bulbils on the leaves, these fall off when mature and grow into new plants[
]. In this way the plant can become invasive[
Root. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails[
A good ground cover plant[
]. Forming a slowly spreading clump, it should be planted 30cm apart each way[
Spores - best sown as soon as ripe on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Germinates in 1 - 3 months at 20°c[
].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.
Division in spring.
Bulbils are produced at intervals along the midrib and these can be planted into pots as soon as they are ripe[