Few epiphytes from Platycerium

In this region there are altogether 3 species. They are differentiated by:-

[a] the manner the fertile fronds carry the spores, [b] variations in the measurement and profile of the fronds.

Species found here are the :-

Central Peninsula -up north - P. coronarium
 Southern Peninsula - P. ridleyi
   Northern Peninsula - P. wallichi

The most common and also attractive with its lengthy leaves is The majestic Platycerium coronarium. This plant is found in Central Peninsula Malaysia and then, northwards in Thailand.


It is recognized by its fertile leaves 

long and pendulous.

They nest on very old trees in low elevation along roadsides or on the upper branches of the tallest tree in the primitive forest.

Nest leaves -when living erected have free upper edges up to 60 cm and sinuses of 25 cm deep.


Fertile leaves -Fertile leaves are up to 200 cm long limply pendulous and repeatedly dichotomous. The 3 forking are very unequal.


Fertile lobe - Shortly stalked, semi circular about 25 cm round. Very broad base, is wider than the length. Fleshy and the whole concave lower surface covered with a dense felt of stellate  hair.


This long pendulous fertile leaf frond is produced one at a time. Not specifically any period but irregular intervals. At any one time, the plant normally carries 3 fertile leaves to each branch of the rhizome.

Together with the P. wallichii, these 2 species are commonly seen in Peninsula Malaysia. Below is a picture to distinguish them

The 2 plants growing side by side in my own garden

Distinctive characteristics?

P. wallichii produces new leaf frond in pairs, usually in each growing season.

P. coronarium are produced one at a time at irregular intervals.

Then the P.coronarium has pendulous leaf frond while that of the P. wallichii are more erect.

Platycerium wallichii are native to the more northern region of the Peninsular


They are seen more often in places north of Penang Island.

 i.e. Thailand down to Langkawaii.

This fern is found in fairly exposed area, in fact some plants were collected growing on trees by the seaside.

Nest leaves -are 60 cm or more , as wide and long, erected and much lobed. Sinuses are about half way to the base. [picture left]

Fertile leaves -produced in pairs, [see picture below] about 60 cm long. The lamina extending down to the broadly cuneate base. Rarely longer than nest leaves.

Fertile lobe - Not as a separate structure. sporangia are found on the lower surfaces  [Very prominent as convex rounded lobes] of first 2 sinuses of leaf fronds.

An equally large plant as the P.coronarium.  With equal size nest and fertile fronds, the plant ends up looking shorter.

The sporangia are larger than those of the P.coronarium. hidden in thinner layer and covered by a felt of uniform length stellate hairs.

Platycerium ridleyi  found in the southern Peninsular, the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

This is a much smaller plant as compared to the other 2 mentioned above. Unlike other Platycerium, the nest-leaf fronds of this plant do not form a open basket.

 Some collections had being made in the riversides in Johore.

It had also being seen along the East Coast states of Pahang and Trenggannu.

They do grow on low branches but never in open or developed areas. The principal differences from the P. coronarium are:-

Whole plant - much smaller in size than the P. coronarium
Nest leaves - slightly lobed with the upper edges not erected but inflexed.
Fertile leaves - 2 short ascending repeatedly forked sterile branches and one fertile lobe.
Fertile lobe - widening from a narrow base, almost circular, longer than wide and strongly concave beneath. About 6 cm long.

For comparison with pictures of Stag's horn commonly found in books, here are pictures some of the non- Malaysian plants.

The Platycerium wallichii is the nearest ally to the Australian Platycerium grande.
The Australian has their Elkhorn, 

the Platycerium bifurcatum


The Staghorn Ferns - as spotted in Malaysia

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