Asplenium nidus

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See bird's-nest fern for other plants with this common name.
Asplenium nidus
Asplenium-detail.jpg
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Aspleniaceae
Genus: Asplenium
Species: A. nidus
Binomial name
Asplenium nidus
L. [1]
Synonyms[2]
  • Asplenium antiquum Makino
  • A. australasicum (J.Sm.) Hook.
  • A. ficifolium Goldm.
  • Neottopteris mauritiana Fée
  • N. musaefolia J.Sm.
  • N. nidus (L.) J.Sm.
  • N. rigida Fée
  • Thamnopteris nidus (L.) C.Presl

Asplenium nidus is an epiphytic species of fern in the family Aspleniaceae, native to tropical southeastern Asia, eastern Australia, Hawaii,[citation needed] Polynesia,[citation needed] Christmas Island,[citation needed] India,[citation needed] and eastern Africa. It is known by the common names bird's-nest fern[1][3] (a name shared by other aspleniums) or simply nest fern.[3]

Description[edit]

Asplenium nidus 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.

Native distribution[edit]

Birds nest ferns in tropical montane forest on Mount Manucoco, Atauro Island, East Timor

Asplenium nidus is native to east tropical Africa (in Tanzania, inclusive of the Zanzibar Archipelago); temperate and tropical Asia (in Indonesia; East Timor; the prefecture of Kyushu, and the Ryukyu Islands of Japan; Malaysia; the Philippines; Taiwan; and Thailand); and in Australasia (in the northern part of Queensland in Australia).[3]

Habitat[edit]

Asplenium nidus can survive either as an epiphytal, or terrestrial plant, but typically grows on organic matter. This fern often lives in palm trees or bromeliads, where it collects water and humus in its leaf-rosette.[citation needed] It thrives in warm, humid areas in partial to full shade.

Uses[edit]

Asplenium nidus in Malaysia
A seedling of Asplenium nidus growing on a tree trunk

With a minimum temperature of 10 °C (50 °F), Asplenium nidus is widely cultivated in temperate regions as a houseplant.[4] Apparently, most plants sold in America as A. nidus are actually Asplenium australasicum, which has longer sori, and a differently shaped midrib.(R. J. Johns, in the 2001 Flora Malesiana Symposium)

Asplenium nidus has been used locally in folk medicine (to treat asthma, sores and weakness) and hygienically to treat halitosis.[5]

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[6]

The sprouts of A. nidus are eaten as a vegetable in Taiwan.[citation needed] In Taiwan this plant is called 山蘇 (pronounced shān sũ) and typically cut into inch length pieces and fried with garlic and chilli peppers.

Protection[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b  Asplenium nidus was first described and published in Species Plantarum 2: 1079. 1753. "Name - !Asplenium nidus L.". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Name - !Asplenium nidus L. synonyms". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c GRIN (April 14, 1995). "Asplenium nidus information from NPGS/GRIN". Taxonomy for Plants. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  5. ^ James A. Duke. "Asplenium nidus (ASPLENIACEAE)". Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Asplenium nidus". Retrieved 5 June 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • (Portuguese) LORENZI, H.; SOUZA, M.S. (2001) Plantas Ornamentais no Brasil: arbustivas, herbáceas e trepadeiras. Plantarum ISBN 85-86714-12-7

External links[edit]