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Common Name: Marsh Fern
Thelypteris palustris is a Deciduous Fern up to 0.75 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
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[
Europe, incl Britain, from Norway south and east to Spain, temperate Asia to China, E. N. America.
Marshes and fens, often abundant in carr or alder wood[
Thrives in sun or shade in almost any soil with a pH between 5 and 7[
]. Grows well by water[
] and in wet woods[
A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
Plants have a wandering root system and can be invasive[
Edible young fern[
]. The part that is eaten is not specified, it is likely to be the young leaves as they unfurl in spring and early summer.
The roots have been used in the treatment of women's complaints[
Spores - best sown as soon as they are ripe, though they can also be sown in the spring. Sow them on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. 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 and then only in a very well sheltered position.
Division. This is best done in the spring[