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Birds Nest Fern Asplenium nidus

Other Common Name(s):

Description

An epiphytic fern in the spleenwort family that is often grown as a houseplant though in their native habiat they are found growing in rainforest nestled in the tops of tall trees.   It forms a rossette of large, simple fronds similar to banana leaves. Its common name arises from fronds rolling back and turning brown as they die causing a 'birds nest' to develop in the crown of the plant.  This center of the plant is also a place where other dead organic material is collected to nourish the plant. Because they are an epiphyte they need high humidity and soil moisture.  This can be difficult to achieve in indoor situations especially in the winter so consider misting the plants or placing a humidifier nearby.  They perform best in a porous, well-drained, potting mixture and placed in a location like a north-facing window with bright filtered light. Direct sun can burn the leaves and too much shade and they will suffer.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious problems.  Scale and slugs may be a problem.  Keep out of drafty areas as it can cause burning of foliage.  

Family name Asplenidaceae (Polypodiaceae)

Quick ID Hints:

  • Fronds simple*, subsessile**, broad and elongate
  • Sori & indusium linear*, numerous, on upper frond

Epiphytic; rhizome short and erect, brown to purple and black. Leaf simple, sessile to short-petiolate, erect, stiff, arranged in basal rosette (nest-forming); lamina ovate becoming broad lanceolate, acute, entire, variable undulate; rachis prominent, black. SORI in upper half of frond, linear, between veins; indusium linear, eventually reflexed. Paleotropics.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#houseplant#container plant#shade tolerant#showy leaves#epiphytic#interiorscape#rabbit resistant#high humidity#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#houseplant#container plant#shade tolerant#showy leaves#epiphytic#interiorscape#rabbit resistant#high humidity#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Asplenium
    Species:
    nidus
    Family:
    Aspleniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Polynesia, HI, SE Asia, Australia, Madagascar
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Rabbits
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Epiphyte
    Fern
    Houseplant
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Occasionally Wet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    11a, 11b, 12b, 12a
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Light green, glossy, simple, entire, strap shaped wrinkly with a black midrib. Fronds can grow to be 4-5' long and 8" wide. Sori are found in clusters on the undersides arranged in a herringbone fashion from the mid-rib to the margin of the leaf in black straight lines.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade
    Humidity
    Rabbits