Genus: Acrostichum (ak-ro-STISH-um)
Species: danaeifolium (dan-ay-ee-FOH-lee-um)
When in Jamaica a couple years ago, we saw these massive ferns along the banks of the Black River growing in full sun and brackish marshes near the mangroves and looking very majestic. Needless to say we were both begging our boat driver to get close enough so we could get a good look and hopefully a few spores. We took our pictures and dreamed of these beautiful ferns gracing our yard, but no one knew their true name, just calling them the giant fern. So the name remained a mystery to me. I just put my spore down the end of September and it looks like they are going to take. I have a nice green mat so we will see.
Now, two years after our trip to Jamaica, we have finished our koi pond so off to the store I went to get some nice water plants to fill in some bare spots in and around the pond and to my amazement, I found this Jamaican fern.
Commonly known as the Giant fern in the tropics of the New World, the only place it is found growing in nature. Needless to say, I had to have one (or two) of these giant beauties.
This fern should grow for us here in the Houston area. It is a zone 9 fern and most of us are in zone 9 here. This is a very large fern with fronds that cluster and can reach up to 13 feet long in the wild anyway. We will see how well it does in captivity. If you don't have a pond, this fern can still be grown by placing its container in water, placing it in a whiskey barrel, or even placing it in a ceramic pot with no holes in the bottom to retain the water in the pot.
I'm very excited to see how it does!!!
I would like to thank Barbara Joe Hoshizaki for helping me identify this fern. You can read more on this fern in her book the Fern Grower's Manual page 156.