Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ferns are among the easiest plants to identify

when i go for my walks at nature parks and forest reserves, i like to get acquainted with the flora and fauna. i have learned to appreciate the rich diversity of flora and fauna in our urban and rural gardens.

after having tasted the crunchy wild ferns (midin) in kuching, i am inclined to pay more attention to ferns these days when i go for my nature walks. i have come across a species which is similar to the 'midin' in sarawak.

most of the time after finding out the name of a certain plant, i tend to forget its name after a lapse of time. however, with ferns, i do not have this problem because the shape or outline of a fern usually gives a clue to its name. below are four common ferns found in our parks and reserves.

the giant sword ferns grows easily and so they can become quite invasive. i have seen them being grown in pots. they can even withstand strong sunlight. the name comes from its arching and trailing green fronds which resemble a broad sword. there is a whole row of giant sword ferns near the wallace education centre at dairy farm nature park.

the leaves of the staghorn fern are antler-like in appearance. staghorns are epiphytes - they 'grow on others'. however, they are not parasites as they do not draw any nutrition from their hosts. they are commonly found on trunks of trees. kent ridge park is one place where you can see lots of staghorn ferns.

tree ferns refer to any fern that grows with a trunk elevating the fronds above the ground level. i remember the huge ones found in fraser's hills in west malaysia and in the dandenong mountains in melbourne. tree ferns are quite common in our natural environment. i see quite a few along the trails at bukit batok nature park.

this is the most common fern in singapore. you do not have to go to nature parks or forest reserves to see the bird's nest fern. the tongue-shaped fronds of the bird's nest fern are borne from a central, funnel-shaped rosette of fuzzy, brown wool where the emerging fronds resemble bird's eggs, giving the plants its common name.

at the botanic gardens, there is a small section designated as the fernery. i had expected to see a greater variety of ferns here but was disappointed to find only a few species at the fernery.


nah said...

Amongst the different species of ferns, my favourite is the bird’s nest fern. It is an excellent household plant and it grows well in small pots, baskets or other containers. The glossy, bright green leaves act as decor to the house.

WK said...

There was a stamp issue in 1990 November featuring these 4 ferns:
Stag's Horn Fern
Maiden Hair Fern
Bird's Nest Fern
Rabbit's Foot Fern
tan wee kiat