Diplazium pycnocarpon (Spreng.) Broun
Asplenium pycnocarpon Spreng.
Athyrium pycnocarpon (Spreng.) Tidestr.
What the heck is a spleenwort? There’s an old belief, the doctrine of signatures, that plants whose shape resembles some part of the human body were meant to be used for medically treating that part. Nobody is certain when this concept originated, but in the early 1600s a shoemaker from Görlitz, Germany, one Jacob Böhme, had a vision along the same lines, and wrote a book about it. Although Böhme made no medically related claims about his beliefs, others interpreted the idea literally and began treating people.
In the case of spleenwort, the tiny sori (spore packets) on the bottoms of the leaves are shaped like spleens. ”Wort” is an ancient word meaning “plant.” So spleenwort means “plant that has something on it that looks sort of like a spleen so it must be medicine for spleen problems.”
And people wonder why I’m suspicious of herbal remedies.
Diplazium pycnocarpon at Illinois Wildflowers
Diplazium pycnocarpon at Ontario Ferns
Diplazium pycnocarpon on plants.ces.ncsu.edu
Diplazium pycnocarpon on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site
Diplazium pycnocarpon at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Diplazium pycnocarpon on eFloras
Cobb, Boughton, Farnsworth, Elizabeth & Lowe, Cheryl, Peterson Field Guides: A Field Guide to Ferns and Their Related Families of Northwestern and Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005, p. 122
Diplazium pycnocarpon description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
Range: Zones 3-8: