Asplenium nidus

Asplenium nidus

Asplenium nidus (syn.: A. ficifolium Goldm., Thamnopteris nidus (L.) C. Presl., Neottopteris rigida Feé) is a species of fern in the family Aspleniaceae, native to tropical southeastern Asia, northern Queensland in Australia, Hawaii, Polynesia, Christmas Island, India, and eastern Africa. It is one of several closely related species known by the common name Bird's Nest Fern.

It forms large simple fronds visually similar to Banana leaves, with the fronds growing to 50-150 cm long and 10-20 cm broad. They are light green, often crinkled, with a black midrib, and exhibit circinate vernation. Spores develop in sori on the underside of the fronds. These sori form long rows extending out from the midrib on the back of the outer part of the lamina (frond). The fronds roll back as they brown and create a massive leaf nest in the branches and trunks of trees.

The habit of this fern can be epiphytal or terrestrial, but it typically grows on organic matter. This fern often lives in trees like a bromeliad, where it collects water and humus in its leaf-rosette. It thrives in warm, humid areas in partial to full shade.

Plants named Asplenium nidus are commonly sold as house plants, though most of the specimens in the horticultural trade are not A. nidus, but different, but closely related species (R. J. Johns, in the 2001 Flora Malesiana Symposium).

It is also known as Wugus, an aboriginal name, in Taiwan. Furthermore, its sprout is edible and a very popular vegetable food in Taiwan.

Protection

In Hong Kong, this species is under protection based on Forestry Regulations Cap. 96A.

References

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