Ferns are one of the world’s oldest plants, first appearing 360 million years ago in the Carboniferous period. The term Fern refers to a very large number of species – the common names for the main groups are Maidenhead Fern, Bird’s Nest Fern, Boston Fern and Ribbon Fern.
Ferns come in a wide variety of textures and forms. Adiantum, known as Maidenhead Fern, can be defined by their feathery, attractive leaves. Nephrlepis, the Boston Ferns, are known for their long and pointy fronds and the Pteris, or Ribbon Ferns, are favoured for the range of shades they appear in from green to silver to white.
Ferns originated in hot tropical climates and are now found in abundance in countries such as Australia and the Philippines. They prefer a warm moist room, with plenty of air and light.
Ferns are easy to culture at home and can be propagated by runners or division. They produce with spores as opposed to seeds or flowers.
There are over 12,000 species of ferns which are then grouped into the various genus, orders and classes, to collectively make the fern Division or Phylum, known as Pteridophyta.
Ferns prefer porous soil and a moist room. Although they like light, it’s important not to wet the leaves and then expose them to harsh sunlight. It’s best not to use leaf shine on a fern. Keeping ferns in a warm room is ideal. It’s important to keep ferns damp but certainly not wet.
Did you know?
- The fern holds great cultural significance for New Zealanders and is the emblem for many of their national sports teams.
- The term ‘Pteridomania’ was created to describe the Victorian obsession with ferns, which were used not just as ornamental plants, but featured in pottery, sculpture and even gravestones and christening gifts.