Aroids and other genera in the Collection      Take the Tour Now?     Orchids

The Exotic Rainforest
Plants in the Exotic Rainforest Collection


Platycerium alcicorne (Willemet) Desv.
Staghorn Fern

One of the more interesting ferns and unusual plants in any collection, Platycerium alcicorne often gets enormous.  And the bigger it grows the bigger the price on it's head!  In Miami, a plant the size of ours can demand $300 or more.  A friend had one of these giants (over 12 feet across)  hanging in his yard.  More than one person tried to steal it so they could cut it up and sell it as large pieces.  Finally, out of frustration, he hired a crane and had the plant raised high in an Oak tree attached to a chain with heavy 4 inch links.  It worked.  No one ever tried to steal the plant again. 

Our P. alcicorne is now approximately 6 feet from tip to tip.  But it is growing quickly as is evidenced by the inset photo taken two years earlier.  It has begun adding many new fronds.   We started this specimen in 1998 from 3 tiny cuttings d at a Home Depot store in Miami.  The starts were attached to the outside of a wire basket lined with a coconut liner and filled with sand, soil, peat and Perlite.  Platycerium likes to stay damp, but not wet.  If watered too often the plant will deteriorate and die.  And despite popular belief, it does like the sun, just not direct hot sunlight.  The brighter the light the faster the plant grows.  We have also noticed there is always an increased amount of growth in the fall each year.  Found in tropical Australia, Indonesia and on the island of Madagascar, P. alcicorne is one of several popular species grown by collectors.  Our plant is "popular" with several of our green tree frogs (inset, right).  Try to find him on the plant.