Platycerium ridleyi Christ., 1909
|Common Names:||Ridley's Staghorn Fern|
Nest fronds slightly lobed, patterned by raised veins with sunken areas in between and the upper edge not erect but inflexed. Fertile fronds with two or more ascending and repeatedly forked sterile branches that end in rounded tips and a fertile lobe. The fertile lobe is spoon-shaped, strongly concave beneath, about 6 cm long plus a stalk that can be as long as 20 cm. Spores are packed tightly on the undersurface of the lobe.
Malaysia, Lingga Archipelago, Borneo and probably Sumatra.
First collected from tall trees in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the fern is now long extinct. It is currently a collector's item, sold in plant nurseries sourced from Thailand mostly.
This is an epiphyte of tall trees in the primary lowland rainforest, often by rivers. Numerous ants live within the nest, probably bring in nutrients to the plant as it does not trap litter like other litter trapping epiphytic ferns.
For an account of the life history of a fern, see Pyrrosia piloselloides.
Platycerium ridleyi is sought after by collectors. The plants are sourced from Thailand are sold in local plant nurseries at exorbitant prices. However, the success rate is dismal and very few people have successfully grown it at home. In the absence of ants, the plant needs a constant supply of nutrients in the form of leaf compost or other organic fertilisers. Tissue culture has been tried with success.
de Winter, W. P. & V. B. Amoroso (eds.), 2003. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 15(2). Cryptogams: Ferns and fern allies. Prosea Foundation, Borgor, Indonesia. 268 pp.
Holttum, R. E., 1966. A revised flora of Malaya. II Ferns of Malaya. Govt. Printing Office, Singapore (2nd ed.). 653 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.
Parris, B. S., R. Khew, R. C. K. Chung, L. G. Saw & E. Soepadmo (eds.), 2010. Flora of Peninsular Malaysia. Series I: Ferns and Lycophytes. Vol. 1. Malayan Forest records No. 48. Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, Kepong. 249 pp.
Wee, Y. C., 2005. Ferns of the tropics. Times Editions-Marshall Cavendish, Singapore. 2nd ed. 190 pp.