DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The common staghorn fern, Platycerium bifurcatum, growing on a tree trunk in Victoria, Australia. P. bifurcatum is a native of temperate and tropical forest, widely distributed in Africa, Asia and Eastern Australia. It is also a popular house plant and garden plant, but requires frost protection in cooler climates.The picture shows the centre of a plant commencing growth in Spring. Two types of frond are visible. The flat veined green lamella is a sterile frond; at the end of the season this will turn brown and contribute to the "nest" made up of the dried sterile fronds of previous years ( top left ). From the centre of the sterile frond are growing a series of fertile fronds. Initially narrow with a serrated end, these develop into large forked structures bearing spores on their under surface.
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