BIO 203


The Licorice Fern has a long history-backed reputation as a favored wild edible most noted with many Pacific Northwest Native peoples who have multiple uses for the ferns. One key reason that Polypodium glycyrrhiza became a native favorite among Western Coastal tribes is due to the sweet taste and medicinal uses of its rhizomes.

The rhizomes contain a potent steroidal compound called osladin, which is said to be three thousand times sweeter than sucrose. The rhizomes are used as a throat remedy by natives and as a sweetener for other foods lacking taste or sweetness!


In the United States it is currently illegal to harvest P. glycyrrhiza from the wild without a permit. This being said, the Licorice Fern can be found at nurseries and purchased at reasonable prices.


It is advised that women who are pregnant or any other individuals on blood anti-coagulants or have any other blood related disorders should never eat licorice fern.


The leaves of Licorice Ferns often times curl and dry up in summer when the mosses located at their bases become dormant. Despite the drying and discoloration, they are still considered evergreen.


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