Platycerium ferns are quite popular. They are strange looking plants with
two types of fronds--sterile
and fertile. The sterile frond or base frond,
protects of the roots and rhizome of the plant. It is appressed to the
fern. The fertile frond usually is pendent, but in the case of P. ridleyi, it is
Not all staghorns are the
same. There is considerable debate regarding the number of species there
Some taxonomists state that there are only 15 species, and
others recognize 18 species.
Platycerium ferns are found in
S. E. Asia, New Guinea, Australia, Africa (including Madagascar), Australia and
There are no Platycerium
native to the United States, although, Florida is a very good home for them.
The one species
from South America, Platycerium andinum, is a spectacularly
beautiful plant. Its placement in the Americas makes for
debate because no one has determined why it is separated from the other species.
Also, while the other
species make their homes in rain forests, P. andinum is
quite happy in a drier situation.
The commonest species of all
is undoubtedly P. bifurcatum. This species
is generally from Australia. In cultivation it is
usually found growing in
a giant ball, suspended by a chain from a tree.
A good place to learn
about staghorns is Platyerium
Hobbyists Handbook, by Roy Vail.