Platycerium

Source: Own work

Platycerium
Kew Gardens

Platycerium or staghorn fern is a fern with striking fronds that look like antlers.

A few species are suitable as house plant (Platycerium bifurcatum, Platycerium willinckii).

Other species either do not tolerate dry air of a living room or simply become too big.

Description:

Platycerium are epiphytic ferns with a short rhizome with 2 types of fronds: basal and protruding.

The basal leaves are sterile, shield- or kidney-shaped and stuck to the tree to protect the roots from damage and dehydration. The fertile leaves are dichotomous and protruding or pendent.

Some Platycerium species are solitary with only one rhizome, other form colonies form when new rhizomes are formed from root points.

The spores are formed in sporangia clustered in large sori, usually on the lobes or at the sinus between 2 lobes. The gametophyte is a small heart-shaped thallus.

Platycerium

Source: Own work

Platycerium
Kew Gardens

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Elkhorn fern, staghorn fern

Synonyms:

Alcicornium

Etymology:

Platycerium: from the Greek platys (broad) and keras (horn)

Origin:

South America, Africa, South-East Asia, Australia

Habitat:

From wet to semi-desertic climates

Hardiness:

USDA zone 9-11 though some species tolerate mild frost

Platycerium

Source: Own work

Platycerium
Jardin des serres d’Auteuil

Care:

Soil:

Potting soil, sphagnum, coconut fiber, compost

Light:

Shadow, partial shadow

Water:

Prefers rainwater, keep the substrate moist

Feed:

Organic fertilizer annually or liquid fertilizer 1:1:1 monthly during the growing season

Pot:

Platycerium is usually sold in pot but can be mounted on a vertical board with some substrate or in a hanging basket.

Difficult to repot as the roots are quite small.

Platycerium

Source: Own work

Platycerium
Jardin des serres d’Auteuil

Propagation:

Division, spores.

Division:

Some species produce suckers that can be removed by carefully cutting the rhizome with enough roots.

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