Asplenium cryptolepis Fernald
Asplenium eberlei D.E.Mey.
Chamaefilix ruta-muraria (L.) Farw.
Phyllitis ruta-muraria (L.) Moench
Common Name: Wall Rue
Growing in rocks near Biel, Canton of Bern, Switzerland
Photograph by: MurielBendel
Asplenium ruta-muraria is an evergreen fern with an erect to shortly-creepng rhizome, producing a cluster of fronds 3 - 13cm long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a 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[
Through much of the temperate zones of Eurasia and eastern N. America
Old walls and basic rocks in hilly areas[
Requires a well-drained position and lots of old mortar rubble in the soil[
]. Requires a humid atmosphere and some shade[
]. A good plant for growing on a shady part of an old dry-stone or brick wall[
], also succeeding in full sun[
A very ornamental fern[
], it is very tough but slow to establish[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
The fronds are astringent, deobstruent, emmenagogue, expectorant and ophthalmic[
]. A distilled water made from the fronds has proved of benefit in the treatment of many eye complaints[
]. The plant is also considered to be useful in the treatment of coughs and ruptures in children[
]. It was at one time used as a herbal remedy for rickets[
] and its tannin content renders it suitable for stopping bleeding from small wounds[
The fronds are harvested in late spring and dried for later use[
Spores - best sown as soon as they are 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 spring[
]. Spring sown spores germinate in 1 - 3 months at 15°c[
]. Pot on small clumps of plantlets into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse. Keep the plants humid until they are well established. Once the plants are 15cm or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring.
Division in spring.