Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Asplenium australasicum; Birdsnest fern;

I do like the Asplenium australasicum in my garden.
I intend to grow many more especially in my native garden.

The Bird's Nest Fern is a useful plant for shady areas. Being naturally an epiphyte or lithophyte, it's good for growing under trees where few other plants can compete with tree roots. The dramatic form works well with a modern garden style as well as a more naturalisitic rainforest garden.

Also called crow's nest fern. The commonly grown species is Asplenium australasicum but is still widely known as Asplenium nidus (The true A. nidus is not commonly cultivated.)

It grows in a great variety of sites in rainforests as an epiphyte on large trees or independently growing on the forest floor and rocks if good light is available.
It is found in Queensland, New South Wales to the south coast, and Asia. In southern Queensland and New South Wales the fern is generally larger than in northern Queensland, and there are suggestions that this smaller fern may be a distinct genetic race.
It is well adapted to the sometimes harsh conditions of the rainforest and recovers quickly with the assistance of rain even though the leaves may look wilted, brown and beyond repair.
Reproduction is achieved through sporing. The sori are located at the midrib of the frond.

The nest shaped radiating fronds catch dead leaves and other rainforest litter which is caught as the leaves bend outward with age.

The litter rots and forms a growing medium for the root system of the fern and other epiphytes.
The root system is small, considering the size of the fern, but it is dense and spongy and is covered with persistent brown root hairs.

Its genus contains about 650 species, 26 of them in Australia.

It is excellent for growing in a pot, tub or basket (due to its small root system), but is also suitable for culture in the ground. It dislikes being in full shade and wet soil and prefers filtered sunlight and a dry situation such as under eaves or large gums for example.

Particularly due to its tussock of radiating fronds, it is very popular in cultivation throughout the world.


Floridagirl said...

Titania, this is one of my faves as well. It took a devastating winter for me to learn to really appreciate this beauty. It shines so brightly in my garden when so much else is brown. Will definitely be planting more this year. I love your pic with the unfurling fronds in the center. Very nice effect!

Janie said...

Beautiful plant, and interesting to learn how it makes use of rainforest litter.

Di said...

Titania, beautiful foliage! and makes for such bold statements in the garden. I love how the new fronds look as they begin to unfurl.

noel said...

aloha titania,

beautiful birds nest...they grow wild here in the rainforest on top of the accacia trees and they are huge! wish i could climb up to get some :(

Bangchik said...

Beautiful birds nest fern, big and healthy. I grew one little birds nest fern. It soon need a larger pot. ~bangchik

Ami said...

Love the grossy foliages and the shape of this plant! I wish I can find one here... Good educational information as well. Thanks!

The Rainforest Gardener said...

One of my favorite plants! I have the broad leaved kind that you have pictured, but it has died back these last 2 winters before returning. I plan on getting a larger specimen and butting it in a more protected spot like my courtyard, and I also plan on getting some of the more cold hardy japanese birdsnest ferns. These are the ones with the narrower leaves that are more or less shaped like a narrow v.

sweet bay said...

What a beautiful plant, and a very interesting post.

lotusleaf said...

I have two of these plants. I like them a lot because they are so green and fresh looking even in the height of summer. I didn't know that they originated in Australia.

Muhammad khabbab said...

Very pretty fern, though not common in my area. Beautiful plant.

Titania said...

Floridagirl, It is a wonderful plant with many uses in the garden. I love to see it high up in the trees. It seeds in nooks and crannies. Tiny seedling can be transplanted and survive as long as they are kept moist.

Janie, yes, it is interesting to see how plants have adapted quite cleverly.

Di, They are so easy to look after!

noel, sometimes they fall down,when the are getting to heavy or a branch breaks!

Bangchik, yes I believe they make good potplants.

Ami, I hope you find a specimen in a nursery, I don't know if seed is available.

Rainforest Man, Yes, I think that would be better, some have interesting patterns. They are very beautiful too.

Sweet bay, thank you for your visit.

Lotusleaf, Our gardens are international!

Muhammad thank you for stopping by.

Thanks for your welcome visits and valued comments. T.

Anonymous said...

Trudi, it's so interesting to learn about how the fern makes use of the litter. And I didn't think it'd do well on the ground. Maybe I could try that. I have some on my mango tree. But they do not look as healthy as yours.

Your images are beautiful. What a refreshing green colour!

Ann said...

Hi Titania,

I thought you would be very good with the boomerang to chase of the dingos from your farm?

In Singapore, I used to find tuny birds nest ferns and grow them to big bushes.

My bro-in-law, a native of Borneo, they harvest the young fronds and eat them.


The first photo is not bird's nest fern. Do you know the name? In Singapore, it is called Johore fern ( a state in Malaysia)

Stephanie said...

The second pic with so many fronds growing out amazes me! I can tell you that this is such a strong plant. They can survive really well in any weather condition here (even if it gets really hot!).

Titania said...

Ann; thank you for your comment. I think I better chase away the emus!
Ann, I must say the fern in the first picture is also Asplenium australasicum. It might just look a bit different how I have taken the photo. It is also a little bit a younger plant.

Stephanie, I had some tiny, minute ones self seeded into a hole of an orchid pot. As I do not water those pots every day , these tiny ferns sometimes dry out, looking dead, but as soon they get a drop of water they perk up again. Amazing. I have to repot the poor things! are you growing some in pots?

Titania said...

Kanak, they grow well on the ground as long they get some overhead shade so the fronds do not get burnt by the sun. I like that concept of collecting the leaf litter for food!

Sunita said...

I really started appreciating this plant when I saw it grow all over the place in Singapore and Malaysia. It's such a strong-looking fern, almost indestructible!

NellJean said...

Beautiful plant. All the Asplenium family are beautiful ferns.

Stephanie said...

Yup I have one planted in pot :-D

Leah said...

Hi everyone. I'm in Sydney, Australia and I bought a birds nest fern a few months ago. It still is looking really beautiful but I've noticed that the new fronds are alot thinner than the original fronds. Any ideas what the cause could be? I've got it indoors in filtered light and I've been watering it once a week. The fronds come in 1 or 2 at a time. Cheers, Leah...