Re: tree ferns

Wayne Forrester (forrestr@mendel.Berkeley.EDU)
Mon, 24 Jul 1995 09:25:59 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 23 Jul 1995, Philip Thomas wrote:

> Cyathea (Hawaiian tree ferns) are slow growers.
> Is the Florida-grown tree fern Osmunda? (Is Osmunda a tree fern?)
> -pt
I am not an expert on tree ferns by any stretch of the
imagination, but I will try to answer this question. Osmunda ferns are
not tree ferns. They are bog growers which can get fairly large, up to 3+
feet tall. They have a very large, dense root mass which often extends
above the soil level a bit. The roots are harvested for asmunda fiber
used in cultivated some epiphytic plants. Osmunda fiber is not as readily
available as it once was due to overharvesting and habitat destruction.
True tree ferns grow in several parts of the world naturally
including Hawaii, Mexico, Tazmania and Australia, to name a few. They are
members of several different genera. I don't know whether they are all in
the same familay or not. I think they are universally slow growing. Here
in Northern California there are two varieties commonly grown as
ornamental garden plants. One is called the Tazmanian tree fern and I
forget what the other is called. I have one growing in a large tub on my
deck. It grows about 3 or 4 inches taller per year, and it will be many
years before it reaches it's maximum height of 20 feet or so. I would
guess that the tree ferns grown in Florida are also imported plants;
perhaps the same varieties commonly grown in California.
Wayne Forrester