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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Staghorn Fern

Common Name : Staghorn Fern
Scientific Name: Platycerium bifurcatum

Scientific Classification
Kingdom Plantae
Division Pteridophyta

Class Pteridopsida

Order Polypodiales

Family Polypodiaceae


Platycerium is a genus of fern in the Polypod family, Polypodiaceae. Ferns in this genus are widely known as Staghorn or Elkhorn ferns due to their uniquely-shaped fronds. This genus is epiphytic and is native to tropical areas of South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Austria and New Guinea.

The plant grows with one kind of frond against the tree and another type jutting out like a flattened male deer's antler, away from the tree, hence the name Staghorn fern. The later fronds are the fertile spore-carrying kind. If the conditions are right the spores will germinate naturally on surrounding trees.

These oddly-shaped ferns can be found in gardens, especially tropical gardens. Staghorns can be propagated by carefully dividing large healthy ones into smaller, separate plants. These new plants can then be strapped to trees with an old stocking until they take to the tree themselves.

A mature staghorn can grow more than a meter wide. When positioned well, Platycerium species are able to add privacy and a natural look to a garden.


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