What’s Bloomin’ Wednesday!
for March 4th, 2020
The staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) is an impressive plant. They are tropical epiphytes – that means they grow on another plant, but they are not parasitic. Other examples of epiphytes besides ferns are orchids, bromeliads, and air plants. While well-adapted to the climate in Florida, these plants are not Florida natives.
According to the Florida Plant Atlas, staghorn ferns have been vouchered in Florida in the counties of Sarasota, Broward, and Miami-Dade. That means specimens have been collected from those locations and deposited in an herbarium, a collection of dried plants that are used for research and study.
Lucky us – we have a mighty staghorn fern here in Lee County at Lakes Park. This plant grows two different kinds of leaves or fronds. One type, called basal or sterile fronds are used to hold on to the host plant. The other fronds, called folliar or fertile, are reproductive via sporangia that grow on the underside. The spores from these structures form new plants when germinated.
Find the STAGHORN FERN in the Lakes Park Botanic Garden
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