Staghorns, An antler-shaped fern
This curious plant is native of Australia but the success of its adaptation to our geographic area in our continent is due to the temperature that predominates in many places of America, like this Caribbean island has. Its generic name, platycerium, means flat horns and refers to the leaves shape. The fern resemblance to staghorns makes it peculiar and unique.
It grows in tropical climates like Australia, Africa, Asia and America. The ideal temperature for its development is between 20°C and 25°C and it is very sensitive to temperature changes. The staghorn fern requires indirect natural light for its growth. One of its unusual features is that it barely has roots and therefore it normally attaches to the tree trunks and is called epiphyte plant, like orchids. It is a fern that lives over organic matter and the high humidity is essential for its development.
This plant has two types of leaves. The brown leaves are attached to the tree trunk from where they take nutrients and the green ones that have staghorn shape are responsible for the photosynthesis.
They can be found in its natural habitat, like rainforests and jungles where the humidity is very high and the light falls indirectly. They are always looking for any side cavities of an axis; however, they can be cultivated in our gardens using orchid pots with moss and peat. As it is an air plant, it contrasts with its surroundings highlighting its ornamental value without needing any essential care. For its best development, the plant should be fertilized every week with liquid fertilizer in decalcified water. Its reproduction via spores is complex. Its fronds are covered with fuzz that can't be removed in any case because acts as protection. It doesn't need a constant attention and the pot lasts many years. The best way to give it to someone is putting it into water for a while but this can just be done in warmest season.
There is also a coral that curiously has a similar shape to fronds and the staghorns. It grows in the Caribbean Sea and is known as elkhorn coral or staghorn. Nature continuously surprises us with its similar and outrageous things which make it more captivating each time.
TEXTO: Antonia Guerrero; IMÁGENES:Suresh
Tags: Fauna and Flora