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Platycerium bifurcatum

Previously known as:

  • Platycerium alcicorne
Phonetic Spelling
plat-ee-SIR-ee-um by-fur-KAY-tum
Description

Staghorn fern is an epiphyte occurring naturally in tropical areas.  An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water (in marine environments) or from debris accumulating around it. Its rhizomes are spreading to short-creeping, often branched, and are hidden by fronds.

There are two types of fronds, the first being infertile.  They are small leaves that cover the root crown.  The second, which are fertile, grow up to 4'.  They are gray-green and grow outward from the crown.  They are covered with a grayish-white felt.

Water its crown on a regular basis, while allowing the roots to dry slightly between waterings, while never letting the roots dry out.

It is a commonly grown houseplant.  When potting, use epiphytic or sphagnum fern mixture.  Potted plants can be watered from the bottom.  

It gets its common name from its leaves, they resemble the forked antlers of a stag.  Can be grown on a slab of wood or bark.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Fronds are dimorphic, shield-like, and antler-like
  • Sori massed onlobes of antler-like fronds

VIDEO Created by NC State Extension's Homegrown series featuring Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#epiphytic#fern#rabbit resistant#deer resistant#fantz#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#epiphytic#fern#rabbit resistant#deer resistant#fantz#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Platycerium
    Species:
    bifurcatum
    Family:
    Polypodiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeast Asia, Australia, Polynesia, subtropical Australia
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is seldom damaged by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Epiphyte
    Fern
    Houseplant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Cascading
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9a, 9b, 10b, 10a, 11a, 11b, 12a, 12b, 13b, 13a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plants reproduces via spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leathery gray-green fronds covered with a grayish-white felt. Leaves are dimoprhic in two rows. Sterile fronds are few, persistent, appressed to substrate, sessile, circular to oblong (shield-like), thing, and papery. Fertile fronds are deciduous, short-stipitate, erect to arching or pendent, dichotomously branched into several lobes (antler-like), and covered with down.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer