Australian Native Plants

  Platycerium grande (Staghorn Fern)


Platycerium grande photo
Staghorn Fern

Photograph copyright: oznativeplants - all rights reserved.




STAGHORN FERN FACTS

distribution map showing range of Platycerium grande in Australia

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


Common Name
Staghorn Fern

Description
The Staghorn fern is an epiphytic (a fern that grows on the branches of tree canopies or on fallen logs). Staghorn ferns develop deeply lobed sterile leaves, and basket shaped nest leaves that catch falling debris. Then nest leaves are green and very hairy when young, and grow tightly against the host. As the plant matures, the fertile antler fronds start to grow. The "antlers" are the true leaves of the fern. These hang downwards and are narrow and forked from less than half way down the leaf stem. The antler-like fronds have spores in a large mass at the base of the first fork, and these become brown and fluffy when mature. Antler fronds hang to a length of up to two metres. The old, dead fronds remain on the plant and help to fix the plant to its support and catch fallen leaves. They create their own compost from material caught in the fronds.

Height
fronds to 2m long

Habitat
grows on both trees and rocks, usually in rainforest

Distribution
Queensland, northern New South Wales

Classification
Class:Polypodiopsida
Order:Polypodiales
Family:Polypodiaceae
Genus:Platycerium
Species:grande
Common Name:Staghorn Fern


Relatives in same Genus
  Platycerium bifurcatum