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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. It clings to trees using roots and is rhizomatous, the rhizomes spreading to short-creeping, often branched, and are hidden by fronds. It will continue to develop pups from these rhizomes, forming a colony of plants. It gets its common name from its leaves, they resemble the forked antlers of a stag.

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', though are usually only 2'-3' in cultivated environments.  They are gray-green and grow outward from the crown, covered with a grayish-white felt.

It is a commonly grown houseplant. When potting, use epiphytic or sphagnum fern mixture. Potted plants can be watered from the bottom. It can even be grown on a slab of wood or bark. Water its crown on a regular basis while allowing the roots to dry slightly between waterings, never letting the roots dry out completely.

Quick ID Hints:

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

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#epiphytic#fern#pet friendly#rabbit resistant#hanging baskets#deer resistant#colonies#rhizomatous#fantz#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#container plants#hsc#hsc-f
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#epiphytic#fern#pet friendly#rabbit resistant#hanging baskets#deer resistant#colonies#rhizomatous#fantz#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#container plants#hsc#hsc-f
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Platycerium
    Species:
    bifurcatum
    Family:
    Polypodiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    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.
    Climbing Method:
    Clinging
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 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
    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
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 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. They grow close to the crown and turn brown with age. Fertile fronds are deciduous, short-stipitate, erect to arching or pendent, dichotomously branched into several lobes (antler-like), and covered with down. The spores grow from the tips.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer