Rare Ferns

Actiniopteris australis

The fan-shaped, indented, dark green leaves of this dwarf fern are reminiscent of palms. It grows to about 20 cm (8 in) tall and is very suitable for bottle gardens. The spores are protected by the curled-up edges of the leaves.

Family: Actiniopteridaceae.

Origin: Tropical Africa and Asia.

Position: Shady to bright; room temperature; high humidity.

Care: Water plentifully during spring and summer but avoid water-logging. During the winter, when the temperatures are lower, water less frequently. Even moisture is very important for this fern. Do not allow it to dry out or the fronds will turn silvery grey and will not recover again. Fertilize every four weeks.



Lygodium japonicum can climb up to over 15 m (50 ft) high in its natural habitat, using its long, wiry stalks and the stems of its leaves. It can be used as a "green tapestry" in a room. The spores develop on fine lobes along the edge of the fertile fronds.

Family: Lygodiaceae.

Origin: Tropics and subtropics.

Position: Bright to semi-shady. During the daytime 18-20° C (64-68° F); during the night around 16°C (61° F). Loves high humidity.

Care: Keep evenly moist all the time. Fertilize every four weeks. Spray frequently. Requires sticks, strings or wires as a climbing aid.



Many species of this genus are characterized by a white, light yellow or golden yellow floury film on the leaf undersides. The spores develop along the veins.

Family: Hemionitidaceae.

Origin: Mostly tropical America, also South Africa and the west African islands. Tendency to colonize dry positions.

Position: Bright. Temperatures around 15° C (59° F) are generally sufficient.

Care: Always keep just slightly moist. Avoid water-logging! Fertilize every four weeks. Do not spray as this destroys the floury film.


Hemionitis arifolia

Tiny plantlets develop out of the bulbils on the heart-shaped leaves of this unusual dwarf fern. Spores form along the veins on the longer-stalked fertile leaves.

Family: Hemionitidaceae.

Origin: Tropical Asia.

Position: Bright to semi-shady; room temperature.

Care: Keep constantly slightly moist. Avoid water-logging. Fertilize every four weeks. Only repot when necessary and do not use pots that are too large as this fern develops only a modest root system.


frond of Blechnum moorei

Blechnum moorei

Blechnum moorei from New Caledonia is an attractive, but very rarely obtainable fern species. Care is similar to that of other Blechnum species.


Arachniodes adiantiformis

This fern is popular as greenery to accompany cut flowers but is rarely offered for sale as a pot plant. It is a resilient fern for cooler positions (daytime 15-18° C/ 59-64° F). At night and in winter 10° C (50° F) will suffice.

Warning: Spore-producing specimens of this fern can cause skin irritation and should be avoided by people with allergic reactions.

01. June 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: House Plants, Indoor Ferns | Tags: , | Comments Off on Rare Ferns


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