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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Southern Adder’s-tongue, Ophioglossum vulgatum

The Southern Adder’s-tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum), is a species of the plant genus Ophioglossum. It is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with a scattered distribution in Europe, Asia, northwestern Africa, and eastern North America. This small, hard-to-spot plant occurs singly in un-improved pastures, rock crevices and grassy path-sides but also occurs in colonies of hundreds of plants in sand dune slacks.

This plant grows from a rhizome base 4 to 8 inches tall (rarely to 12 inches). 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.
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.

Southern Adder8217s-tongue Ophioglossum vulgatum