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Platycerium superbum

Platycerium superbum, commonly known as the Stag Horn Fern, is a Platycerium species of fern. It is native to Australia.



The fern is native to north-east New South Wales (north of Nabiac) and Queensland.[1] It can also be found in parts of Malaysia.[2] In propagated form, the plant is grown successfully as far south as Victoria.[3]

During the 1990s, the fern was also discovered on the Hawaiian Islands where they are now considered a "problem species".[4]


Platycerium superbum is a bracket epiphyte naturally occurring in and near rainforests but is now also widely cultivated as an ornamental plant for gardens.

In both naturally occurring and propagated forms, these ferns develop a humus-collecting "nest" of non-fertile fronds and in doing so can grown up to 1 metre wide. The ferns also develop hanging fertile fronds that can reach up to 2 metres long.[2]

Both fertile and non-fertile fronds are broad and branching and grown to resemble the horns of a stag or elk, thus the common names stag horn or elk horn.[2]


In the wild, the nest structure captures falling leaves and other detritus which then decomposes to provide the plant with nutrients.[3] The ferns are known to favour a slightly acidic environment and so to encourage growth in propagated plants, some growers recommend adding used tea leaves directly to the plant's "nest".[2] Others recommend doing the same with banana peel.[5]



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