from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of numerous widely distributed evergreen ferns of the genus Asplenium, having undivided to featherlike fronds with oblong to linear sori arranged along the veins.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Any fern of the genus Asplenium.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) Any fern of the genus Asplenium, some species of which were anciently used as remedies for disorders of the spleen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of a number of types of ferns in the genus Asplenium

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun any of various chiefly rock-inhabiting ferns of the genus Asplenium


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[So called because it was thought to cure spleen disorders.]


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  • apparently a cockamamie sort of cure, believed "useful for ailments of the spleen, due to the spleen-shaped sori on the backs of the fronds" according to Wiki

    September 21, 2009

  • Safe past the Gnome thro' this fantastic band, 55

    A branch of healing Spleenwort in his hand.

    Then thus address'd the pow'r: "Hail, wayward Queen!

    Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen:

    Parent of vapours and of female wit,

    Who give th' hysteric, or poetic fit, 60

    On various tempers act by various ways,

    Make some take physic, others scribble plays;

    Who cause the proud their visits to delay,

    And send the godly in a pet to pray.

    A nymph there is, that all thy pow'r disdains, 65

    And thousands more in equal mirth maintains.

    But oh! if e'er thy Gnome could spoil a grace,

    Or raise a pimple on a beauteous face,

    Like Citron-waters matrons cheeks inflame,

    Or change complexions at a losing game; 70

    If e'er with airy horns I planted heads,

    Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,

    Or caus'd suspicion when no soul was rude,

    Or discompos'd the head-dress of a Prude,

    Or e'er to costive lap-dog gave disease, 75

    Which not the tears of brightest eyes could ease:

    Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin,

    That single act gives half the world the spleen."

    "The Rape of the Lock", Canto IV

    September 26, 2009