Davallia hare’s foot fern

This small fern, with its finely partitioned fronds, is so pretty that it really merits wider distribution as an indoor plant. The usually tripartite feathered leaves form at intervals along the thick, aboveground rhizomes. Its densely distributed, yellowish, reddish-brown or white scales give it a woolly or hairy appearance which has given rise to the common name of hare’s foot fern. The longish, urn-shaped spore capsules form at the ends of the lateral veins. Although the genus encompasses out 40 species, the species most commonly found in the trade is Davallia tricomanoides. Other attractive species, such as Davallia fejeensis, Davallia mariesii or Davallia canariensis are mostly found in botanical collections.

Davallia

Family: Davalliaceae.

Origin: Temperate, subtropical but mostly tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Australia and Polynesia. Usually in trees and on mossy rocks. Davallia canariensis on the Canary Islands, Portugal, Spain and Morocco.

Position: Bright to semi-shady, no sunlight. During the summer 20° C (68° F); in winter 12-15° C (5459° F). Davallia canariensis will cope with lower temperatures. All species love high humidity.

Care: Always keep evenly moist. Do not allow to dry out. Avoid water-logging. Give weak doses of fertilizer every four weeks from early spring to early autumn. Davallia do well in the high humidity found in a glass case. Mist over often indoors. Only repot if necessary in the spring. Do not cover creeping rhizomes with compost. Use pots that are not too large and loose, well-drained compost (orchid compost, for example).

Propagation: From division or rhizome cuttings. Sowing spores is complicated. In specialist nurseries, propagation is carried out from tissue culture.

Pests, diseases: The rhizomes will decay if the compost is too moist, particularly in winter.

Warning: The fronds of certain species contain toxic cyanogenic glycosides.

01. June 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: House Plants, Indoor Ferns | Tags: | Comments Off on Davallia hare’s foot fern

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