Ophioglossum vulgatum

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Ophioglossum vulgatum
Ophioglossum vulgatum Saarland 01.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Polypodiophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Ophioglossales
Family: Ophioglossaceae
Genus: Ophioglossum
O. vulgatum
Binomial name
Ophioglossum vulgatum

Ophioglossum vulgatum, commonly known as adder's-tongue,[1] southern adders-tongue or adders-tongue fern, is a species of fern in the family Ophioglossaceae.[2]

The adder’s tongue fern is generally believed to have the largest number of chromosomes with 1262, compared to the human’s 46.


It is native to many regions with a wide scattered distribution: throughout temperate through tropical Africa and throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere in Europe, northeastern North America, temperate Asia, and Eurasia.[2][3]

This small, hard-to-spot plant can occur singly in unimproved pastures, rock crevices and grassy path-sides, but also can occur in colonies of hundreds of plants in sand dunes.[citation needed]

Growing in sand-dunes on Anglesey


Ophioglossum vulgatum grows from a rhizome base to 10–20 cm tall (rarely to 30 cm). It consists of a two-part frond, separated into a rounded diamond-shaped sheath and narrow spore-bearing spike. The spike has around 10-40 segments on each side.

It reproduces by means of spores.


This species is rare in most European countries. In Ukraine, there were recorded 280 loci: 152 before 1980, after 1980 – 120, as before and after 1980 – 8 locations.[4]


Traditional European folk use of leaves and rhizomes as a poultice for wounds. This remedy was sometimes called the "Green Oil of Charity". A tea made from the leaves was used as a traditional European folk remedy for internal bleeding and vomiting.[5]


Linnaeus described adder's-tongue with the binomial Ophioglossum vulgatum in his Species Plantarum of 1753.[6]


  1. ^ Stace, Clive (2010b), New Flora of the British Isles (3rd ed.), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5, p. 9
  2. ^ a b "Ophioglossum vulgatum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  3. ^ USDA
  4. ^ Parnikoza I., Celka Z. An Archive of the Ophiglossaceae in Ukraine
  5. ^ Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases: Ophioglossum vulgatum
  6. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1753). Species Plantarum. Vol. II (1st ed.). Stockholm: Laurentii Salvii. p. 1062.

6. [1]

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