Asplenium ceterach

Rustyback Fern

Asplenium ceterach on a wall in Oxford

Asplenium ceterach on a wall in Oxford

A perennial small wintergreen wall fern, often known by the name Rustyback due to the appearance of the back of the frond.  It favours high base content habitats.


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2 thoughts on “Asplenium ceterach”

  1. Are Asplenium ceterach and Ceterach officinarum synonyms? Is there a preferred name for the species? Thanks

  2. Hi Christian,

    An interesting question. The short answer is Asplenium ceterach, however both names appear in common use.

    The full citation appearing in the IPNI is:

    Asplenium ceterach L.
    Sp. Pl. 2: 1080. 1753 [1 May 1753]

    There is a scan of the Species plantarum page here:

    The synonym appears in Flore Francaise as

    Ceterach officinarum DC.
    Fl. Franc. [de Candolle & Lamarck], ed. 3. 2: 566. 1805 ; Chr. 210. NPfl. 244

    with DC. Indicating the author is Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778-1841).

    I’ve also noticed the synonym Ceterach officinarum Willd. in common use, including by our own James Merryweather in A Checklist of the Ferns and Other Pteridophytes of the British Isles

    The Plant List (published by Kew), Tropicos and NHM Species Dictionary uses Ceterach officinarum Willd.
    The IPNI, BSBI & BPS use Asplenium ceterach L.

    Not as clear cut as one would hope!


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