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 Asplenium subsp. var.  
Asplenium marinum (aka).jpg
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Asplenium is a genus of about 700 species of ferns, often treated as the only genus in the family Aspleniaceae, though other authors consider Hymenasplenium separate, based on molecular phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences. The type species for the genus is Asplenium marinum.

Many groups of species have been separated from Asplenium as segregate genera. These include Camptosorus, Ceterach, Phyllitis, and Tarachia, but these species can form hybrids with other Asplenium species and because of this are usually included in a more broadly defined Asplenium.

Some of the older classifications elevate the Aspleniaceae to the taxonomic rank of order as Aspleniales. The newer classifications place it in the subordinal group called eupolypods within the order Polypodiales. Within the eupolypods, Aspleniaceae belongs to a clade informally and provisionally known as eupolypods II.

It has been found that in some species, the chloroplast genome has evolved in complex and highly unusual ways. This makes standard cladistic analyses unsuited to resolve the phylogeny of that particular group of ferns, and even very sophisticated computational phylogenetics methods yield little information. In addition to hybridization running rampant in parts of this genus, there are also some species like the Mother Spleenwort (A. bulbiferum) or A. viviparum which mainly reproduce asexually, essentially cloning themselves over and over again. While most are diploid or tetraploid, some species (e.g. A. shuttleworthianum) are octoploid.[1]

The most common vernacular name is spleenworts, applied to the more "typical" species. A. nidus and several similar species are called bird's-nest ferns, the Camptosorus group is known as walking ferns, and distinct names are applied to some other particularly well-known species.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Asplenium (Greek, not the spleen; referring to supposed medicinal properties). Polypodiaceae. A large, widely distributed genus of ferns, containing some 200 species. Some of them hardy, and many others grown in the greenhouse.

Aspleniums are distinguished by the free veins, and by the elongated sori covered by an indusium, which normally is attached to one side of a vein. The species here included under Asplenium, which have some of the sori curved across the subtending veinlets and certain differences in the internal structure of the st. are placed by many botanists in a separate genus, Athyrium; in the list below, Nos. 10, 25, 26, and 27 belong in this group.

Aspleniums enjoy an abundance of moisture at the roots, but they will turn brown in the winter months in an excessively moist atmosphere. They should be kept in a very- lightly shaded position. A good potting material consists of equal parts of rich soil and leaf-mold or peat. The following are some of the most useful commercial kinds: A. Belangeri, height 2½ feet; A. bulbiferum (including A. laxum), which grows quickly into a handsome specimen about 20 inches high, and seems to stand the hot, dry American summers better than other species; A. salicifolium; and A. viviparum, which is dwarf, compact, with lace-like fronds, and easily propagated. For hanging-baskets, A. flaccidum is best. The foregoing species and others of like habit develop small plantlets on the surface and edge of pinnae. As soon as these are sufficiently strong, they may be detached, with a small piece of old pinnae, and pricked into shallow pans, the older part being placed below ground to hold the young plant firmly in position until roots have formed. The best soil for this purpose is composed of equal parts of fresh garden soil, leaf-mold or fine peat, and sand. Plant very firmly, and place in a shady, moderately moist and close position, where in ten or fifteen days they will make roots. The foregoing ones do best in a temperature of 50° F A. cristatum is easily grown from spores, and is very useful for fern-dishes.

Supplementary list of less common trade names: A. aculeatum, Hort. Hab.(?).—A. arboreum. See Diplazium.—A. bifidum A. lineatum.—A. decorum, a sport from A. bulbiferum.—A. decussatum. See Callipteris.—A. ellipticum, Hort., a trade name.—A. flaccidum, Forst. Coolhouse basket fern from Austral., Tasmania and New Zeal. Lvs. 2-3 ft. long, 4-8 in. broad: stipes stout, flexible, greenish, naked; pinnae numerous, close or distant, lanceolate, leathery, 4-8 in. long, ½-¾ in. broad. Very variable.—A. Goringianum var. pictum. Mett (Athyrium Goringianum var. pictum. Hort.). Distinguished from all other members of the genus by the bright color of its entirely deciduous lvs., which are 10-15 in. long, spear-shaped, and pendulous. Possibly the only hardy variegated fern. It, however, needs glass protection for best results. Stalks purple or claret-colored: Lvs. green with a central band of gray; lvs. divided into sharply toothed pinnules on which the oblong or kidney-shaped son are arranged in 2 rows parallel to the midvein. Japan.—A. laceratum, Desv. Allied to A. Nidus and possibly a variety of that species. Lvs. narrower, cut into irregular lobes, each lobe having black stripe about 3 in. long. Brazil.— A. lanceum. See Diplazium. —A. Laurentii, Christ, var. denticulátum. Allied to A. macrophyllum but smaller. Congo.—A. lineatum, Swartz. Warmhouse species from Mauritius and Bourbon, is very variable, running into forma with lfts. again pinnate, which have either small, linear pinnules or these again twice cut: Lvs. 1-2 ft. long, 4-6 in, wide: stalks erect, 6-9 in. long, more or less scaly.—A. longissimum, Blume. The best of all the genus for large baskets. Lvs. 2-3 ft. long, 4-6 in. broad: stalks blackish, 3-12 in. long: lfts. sessile, auricled. E. Indies. S. 1:602.—A. macrophyllum, Swartz. Coolhouse species from Polynesia, Malaya, China, and Himalayas. Lvs. 6-18 in. long, 6-12 in. wide: stalks brownish: lfts. 6-12 pairs, stalked, 3-6 in. long, 1-3 in. wide, sharp-pointed, serrate.—A. Shepherdii, Spreng. See Diplazium.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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Selected species==

Forked Spleenwort (A. septentrionale)



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  1. Shepherd et al. (2008)
  2. Asplenium ×kenzoi Sa. Kurata Germplasm Resources Information Network
  3. Murakami, N., S. Nogami, M. Watanabe, K. Iwatsuki. 1999. Phylogeny of Aspleniaceae inferred from rbcL nucleotide sequences. American Fern Journal 89: 232-243. Template:Doi

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