Who We Are
Join Now - Membership Application
Meeting & Events
Annual Auction
Show & Sale
Contact Us
Photo Gallery
What is a Fern
Native Ferns
Staghorn Ferns
Bird's Nest Fern
Cultivation & 
Fern Links
Planning your Landscaping
Planting Trees 
& Shrubs
Hummingbird Garden
Gardening Tips

Angiopteris and Marattias

Angiopteris sp.

Most ferns are firstly recognized by their fiddleheads or croziers.  Not all ferns have this feature, but an overwhelming majority of them do. As the fiddlehead matures, it expands.  The fiddlehead is the entire frond of the fern that is compressed and as the fiddlehead grows, the true nature of the fern becomes apparent.  (This particular species is a new Angiopteris in cultivation.  It is rumored to come from the Malaysian state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.  This interesting Angiopteris is once-pinnate, as opposed to the usual configuration of bi-pinnate.)

Angiopteris smithii
(syn. Macroglossum smithii)
Marattia attenuata

(This particular Angiopteris is new to cultivation.  It is a different species than the one whose fiddlehead is shown above.  There are two different species in the South Florida area, however they are not in general cultivation.)

Marattias and Angiopteris are very ancient ferns that  have changed very little since their appearance on earth.  They belong to the Marattiales. In the group there are currently seven genera:  Angiopteris, Archangiopteris, Christensenia, Danaea, Macroglossum, Marattia, and Protomarattia.  Only Angiopteris and Marattia are in wide cultivation.  Some people think of Angiopteris as tree ferns, or being tree fern-related.  They are not.  While Angiopteris and Marattias can attain great sizes (as do tree ferns), they are entirely different from tree ferns, which belong to the Dicksoniaceae..

There is no known specific number as to how many species actually exists.  Some scientists put the number has high as 300 named species, and others cite only 11 species, with the majority of the 300 being varieties of one species, Angiopteris evecta.

Macroglossum however may be a synonym for Angiopteris, as in the newly introduced species, Macroglossum smithii.  This species, a native of Sarawak (Borneo) is one of two once-pinnate Angiopteris known.  The other species, found in Sabah on Borneo is the other.  There currently does not seem to be a name for this species, but taxonomists are working on it.  In cultivation
it has proved to be a very good grower for South Florida. 

Another new Angiopteris is A. fokiensis.  This plant is from China, Laos and North Vietnam. It has a very unusual stipe.