Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Platycerium coronarium (J. Koenig ex O. F. Müll.) Desv.

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Filicophyta
Class:Pteridopsida
Order:Polypodiales
Family:Polypodiaceae
Genus:Platycerium
Species:P. coronarium
Common Names:Staghorn Fern, Stag's Horn Fern, Disc Stag's Horn Fern, Paku Langsuyar,Semun Bidadari, Rumah Langsuyar
Status:Common

Description

This native, epiphytic fern species has a short stem with two distinctive-looking types of leaves (fronds).

One type of leaves are the nest leaves (<60 cm) which curl inwards as they mature and are wrapped against the trunk of the host tree, trapping much debris and dead decaying leaves to serve as a source of nutrients for the plant. The nest leaves  are broad and dichotomously lobed, with visible veins on the apical part. Old leaves are persistent while new fronds grow on the outer part of the plant. These layers of enclosing nest fronds keep moisture intact and protect the roots of the plant.

The other type of leaves are the fertile leaves which are long (<2 m), pendulous, and hang beneath the nest leaves but consists of many repeatedly dichotomously branching parts. These branching fronds resemble the antlers of deers, thus giving rise to the plant's common name 'Staghorn Fern'.

The spores develop in large, fleshy, ear-like structures (8 x 1.5 cm to 21 x 16 cm) growing from the hanging fertile fronds of the fern. The lower surface of the fertile fronds are often densely covered by sporangia and stellate hairs.

Read more about the Polypodiales order.
Read more about the Polypodiaceae family.

Localities

Found throughout Singapore.

Locality Map

General Biology

This fern can grow on many types of host trees such as Rain Tree (Albizia saman), and Terentang (Campnosperma auriculata) in various habitats, ranging from primary and secondary forests to plantations, coastal forests and the urban environments.

Life Cycle

For an account of the life history of a fern, see Pyrrosia piloselloides.

Ecological Role

Nests of ants are sometimes found among the spongy rhizome and hairy roots of the ferns. Snakes, rats and other small animals are also found living amongst the large fronds of the plant.

Human Uses

The Staghorn Fern is a popular ornamental plant among hobbyists. This attractive fern is also cultivated on street trees.

It was also recorded that the ash from this fern was used in Malaysia to treat enlargement of spleen by rubbing the ash over the body.

References

Chong, K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & R. T. Corlett, 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 273 pp.

Johnson, A. , 1977. The Ferns of Singapore Island. Singapore University Press, Singapore. 128 pp.

Kwa, S. H., Y. C. Wee, T. M. Lim & P. P. Kumar, 1995.  Establishment and physiological analyses of photoautotrophic callus cultures of the fern Platycerium coronarium (Koenig) Desv. under Co2 enrichment.  Journal of Experimental Botany 46:1535-1542.

Kwa, S. H., Y. C. Wee, T. M. Lim & P. P. Kumar, 1995.  IAA-induced apogamy in Platycerium coronarium (Koenig) Desv. gametophytes cultured in vitro.  Plant Cell Reports 14:598-602.

Lum, S. K. Y., H. T. W. Tan, Y. C. Wee, 2007. Trees of the Bukit Timah Campus: A tribute to old friends. National University of Singapore and Nature Society (Singapore). 128 pp.

Piggott, A. G. , 1988. Ferns of Malaysia in Colour. Tropical Press Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia. 458 pp.

Tan, H. T. W., 2011. Staghorn fern. P. 467. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Wee, Y. C. 1983. A Guide to the Ferns of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre, Singapore. 72 pp.

Wee, Y. C. 2005. Ferns of the tropics. Times Editions-Marshall Cavendish, Singapore. 2nd ed. 190 pp.

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