Where seen? This huge rosette of large, fresh green fronds
is commonly seen wedged in the branches of large trees, including
roadside, forest and mangrove trees. These ferns are not parasites
and do not suck any water or nutrients off the host tree.
Features: The frond is fresh
green, a broad and very long ribbon (50-150cm) with slightly wavy
edges and a black central rib. The spores appear on the underside
in fine lines. The fronds emerge in a rosette around a central stem
which is usually not visible. Dead leaves collect in this 'nest' of
fronds and are held firmly in place as new fronds emerge. Roots from
the central stem grow into the dead leaves, further consolidating
the decaying leaves into a huge spongy mass. This mass soaks up rainwater,
while the ongoing decay releases nutrients. Thus the fern is self-sufficient
in food and water even though it lives high up from the ground. As
the older fronds die, they droop downwards forming a skirt of dry
fronds under the younger, green fronds.
Role in the habitat: The fern
is such a rich source of water and nutrients, that often, other ferns
and plants may grow on it. Sometimes, small
bats may roost under the fern, chewing off some of the inner portions
of the 'skirt' of dead leaves to create a cosy 'umbrella' for themselves. The Spotted Wood owl may also nest in this fern.
Human uses: According to Wee, the leaves are used to ease
labour pains by a tribe in Malaysia. The Malays use the leaves for
a lotion to treat fever.
Growing on a
Admiralty Park, Jun 09