Ophioglossum reticulatum - L.
Common Name Adder's tongue fern
Family Ophioglossaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[200 ]. 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[172 ].
Habitats Grassland in open damp sandy soil at elevations up to 1,500 metres in Africa[200 , 299 ]. Moist sandy soils, seasonally wet soils, along roads, on termite hills, in montane grassland among rocks and forest margins, from sea-level up to 2,500 metres[299 ].
Range Pantropical.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Ophioglossum reticulatum is a tropical, perennial fern growing up to 35 cm high with fronds that are oval with heart-shaped base. The rhizome is erect and cylindrical, exhibiting many thin roots. The plant is a popular nutritious vegetable. The fronds, in particular, are cooked (blanched) or used in salads. A decoction of the rhizome is used topically on boils. The leaves, on the other hand are boiled in oil and applied to wounds. Leaf juice is drunk against spasms of the heart. Plant is grown from spores or rhizome.

Ophioglossum reticulatum Adder

Ophioglossum reticulatum Adder
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of fern
Ophioglossum reticulatum is a deciduous Fern growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.


Edible Uses
Young fronds are commonly eaten as a salad or vegetable[332 ]. A sweet flavour[46 ]. The leaves should be blanched only; if boiled too much they turn into slime[299 ].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

A warm decoction of the rhizome is used topically on boils[299 ]. The leaf juice is drunk against spasms of the heart[299 ]. The leaves, boiled in oil, are applied to wounds[299 ]. The plant is used as an anti-inflammatory medicine[299 ].


Other Uses
Other Uses None known
Cultivation details
The plant can become a weed of agriculture, but does little harm because of its small size[299 ]. When grown from spores, plants can be harvested for their leaves after 1 - 2 years[299 ]. When grown from rhizomes collected from the wild, harvesting may start after about 6 months[299 ]. The fronds are irresistible to insects and molluscs[200 ].
Spores - very difficult to germinate[200 ]. Division with care since the rhizome is brittle[200 ].
Other Names
Apatia, Bilai gangse, Chukut sadaun, Chukut siraru, Ektir, Isa nki ntana, Jibha, Jibre sag, Jukut siraru, Lai gangse, Yimuyidun, Adder’s tongue fern, herbe paille en queue, l'un dans l'autre, oreille de souris.
Found In
Africa, Asia, Australia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central America, China, Congo, East Africa, Equatorial-Guinea, Haiti, Lord Howe Island, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nepal, Northeastern India, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Southern Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tibet, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zululand,
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Least Concern
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Ophioglossum vulgatumAdder's Tongue, Southern adderstongue12


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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
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Subject : Ophioglossum reticulatum  

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