Australian Native Plants

  Platycerium bifurcatum (Elkhorn Fern)


Platycerium bifurcatum photo
Elkhorn Fern

Photograph copyright: oznativeplants - all rights reserved.

Platycerium bifurcatum photo
Elkhorn Fern - young plants

Photograph copyright: oznativeplants - all rights reserved.




ELKHORN FERN FACTS

distribution map showing range of Platycerium bifurcatum in Australia

Map is from The Atlas of Living Australia web site, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License


Common Name
Elkhorn Fern

Description
The Elkhorn is an epiphytic fern (a fern that grows on the branches of tree canopies or on fallen logs). The shield fronds are deeply lobed. The fertile fronds are strap shaped (to 3cm wide) and stand semi-erect, drooping downwards with age. The base of the fertile frond is slender and narrowly wedge-shaped, and the upper half of the frond is forked two or three times. The spores are found at the tips of the fertile fronds. Small plants called "pups" grow from buds on the outer regions on the shield fronds, enabling the plant to multiply into a large mass. Sometimes the mass is so large that the whole colony falls to the ground.

Height
90 cm

Spread
80 cm

Habitat
rainforest to areas of swamp and open forest, often grows in large masses on boulders or trees

Distribution
far Northern Queensland to southern New South Wales



Classification
Class:Polypodiopsida
Order:Polypodiales
Family:Polypodiaceae
Genus:Platycerium
Species:bifurcatum
Common Name:Elkhorn Fern


Relatives in same Genus
  Platycerium grande