Height 0,6-l,2 m, diameter 30-60 cm. ASPLENIUM NIDUS is in nature an epiphytic species which grows on trees: from this has derived its specific name; it is commonly called also bird’s nest fern or deer tongue.
The glossy, bright green, whole and lanceolate leaves form a regular rosette that can grow to 0.9 m or more.
To the genre asplenium A.
nidus is an epiphytic species of Asian and Australian origin, very diffused as apartment plant. It produces ample tufts, which, as the botanical name suggests, recall the nest of the birds; the leaves of the bird’s nest fern come out from the centre of the tuft, initially rolled up, and develop in long, lance-shaped, arched, leaves which may reach the metre of length.
They are light green in colour, furrowed by an evident vein, of a very almost black colour on the lower page of the foliage; the consistency is papyrus and often they have a rather crumpled appearance. A single plant can reach 100-130 cm in height per 70-90 cm in diameter. Sometimes the basal leaves, falling down, give origin to a short dark stem; under the leaves are produced the spores, united in linear groups.
Diffused light, never direct sunlight
asplenium nidus is cultivated in a luminous place, but far away from the direct rays of the sun, which can irreparably burn the leaves, which, in such case, are to be removed at the base. The bird’s nest fern fears the cold, therefore it is cultivated as an apartment plant, with a minimum temperature not lower than 15-18°C.
The temperature is well to be constant throughout the year between 18 and 24 degrees.
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From March to October let’s water the venison tongue plants regularly, keeping the soil constantly moist, but not soaked in water; during the coldest months let’s water only sporadically, but avoiding that the substratum dries completely. During the vegetative period, let’s provide the nest fern with some fertilizer for green plants, mixed with the water of the watering. Throughout the year it is advisable to spray frequently the leaves of the tongue of the deer.
The ground should always be moist but not soaked in water, so when it gets hot you have to water 2 or 3 times a week. In autumn, watering should be thinned out. Water should be sprayed on the leaves to create moisture.
They prefer a soft soil, rich of organic matter and not too heavy; they usually utilize a substratum formed by two parts of peat, one part of sand or perlite, one part of universal mould and one part of bark not too much chopped up. The asplenium is repotted every 2-3 years.
This is done by sowing, sowing the spores towards the end of winter; or we proceed by dividing the heads and keeping well-developed roots for each practiced portion.
For the reproduction of these specimens it is possible to use the spores, but being the operation too delicate it is used to transplant the plants that are formed in the foliage in compound formed by peat and moist sand, putting the plant in the shade possibly under plastic at 15 degrees.
Pests and diseases
They fear the attack of aphids and cochineal; if the soil becomes very heavy, it can happen that the asplenium is attacked by radical rottenness or botrytis.
Bird’s nest fern, Deer tongue – Asplenium nidus: Species
A. nigrum. Coming from the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere and from Italy. Rustic species, suitable for rock garden and dry stone walls.
Height and diameter 20-30 cm and more.
It has glossy, black petiole, bipinnate, triangular leaves. The single pinnulae, with incised margins, are ovate-knotted.
A. bulbiferum. Australia, New Zealand. Height 45-60 cm, diameter 60-90 cm. Greenhouse or apartment species.
Lanceolate fronds, medium green, finely divided; the foliage often leads to the bulbous margins, which, when still united to the mother plant, give rise to new plants.
A. flabelifolium. Australia, New Zealand. Height 7-8 cm, diameter 30 cm. This species is cultivated in suspended baskets, in cold greenhouse;
the leaves, pale green, linear, are long and sparse, small fan-shaped pinnulae choirs, which form small plants on the leaves themselves.
A. septentrional. Northern hemisphere, Italy . Height 10-20 cm, diameter 5-15 cm. Rustic species, to be cultivated in the rock garden. The glabrous leaves are divided into 2-5 lanceolate-linear segments.
A. trichomanes (rust grass). Temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, Italy. Height and diameter 10-30cm. Rustic species, which grows in calcareous soils. excellent as a pot plant and for the rock garden.
The leaves have petioles and are pinnate, formed by oval pinnulae with black veins and lower page covered, in summer-autumn, with rust coloured sporangia.
A. viride. Northern Hemisphere, Italy. Height and diameter 10-25 cm. It is a rustic species, suitable for rock garden and dry stone walls;
the foliage is pinnate, with brown petioles at the base and green above. The pinnulae are ovate-rhomboidal.
A. ruta muraria (upright wall). Europe, Italy. Height and diameter lO-l5 cm. Rustic species, suitable for the rock garden;
the leaves have brown petioles at the base and bi-triple pinnulae, with minor segments of variable shape.