Saturday, April 2, 2011

The beautiful pest that came from China

Cyrtomium falcatum Asian fern is native to China, Korea and Japan. Belongs to the great family of the Polypodiaceae. Its beauty, hardiness, adaptability and ease of cultivation have made to it one of the most cultivated ferns in the world. In cold climates live well indoors as a houseplant and appreciates that place it near a window, it is sun-loving, lover of light. In hot, dry climates prefer shaded and cool with frequent watering. The problem arises when it is grown in mild and humid climates, especially in coastal areas. Then its spores dispersed by wind germinate anywhere with a bit of substrate and constant moisture and becomes an invasive pest, very difficult to control and eradicate.

Magnificent copy of Cyrtomium falcatum growing to three meters from the sea, splashed by the waves on a beach in the city of Horta on Faial Island in the Azores Archipelago. The large number of individuals threatens the survival of coastal fern par excellence, the native Asplenium marinum, as it occupies the same habitat and compete fiercely for colonize the few rocky cracks with a little substrate close to the sea.

Another example of coastal colonization of Cyrtomium falcatum in the Playa de Los Cancajos on the Canary island of La Palma. Enlarging the picture with a double click you can see a colony of this Asian fern growing on the upper edge of this small coastal cave, competing fiercely with the rich native Canarian flora.

Any place is used for to live. Here we see him grow as an epiphyte over the dried remains leaves of a Canary Island date palm in a garden in the city of Puerto de la Cruz on the Canary island of Tenerife. Gardeners respect it for its beauty, because we must recognize that its beautiful and shiny palm fronds give to it more attractive.

The coastal terraces where canary bananas are grown, whose land is always wet by the weekly watering of banana plantations are an ideal habitat for Cyrtomium falcatum. Here is a specimen with vigorous fronds grow about 70 centimeters between the stones of a wall patch to the partial shade of the banana plantations in the city of Tazacorte of the Island of La Palma. Enlarging the picture with a double click is best appreciated its beauty.

The first fronds of young specimens are easily confused with Canary ivy. Here is a copy on a wall bank of a canary banana plantation, accompanied by a Adiantum capillus-veneris, with which it competes for the same habitat.

The Cyrtomium falcatum also behaves as an invasive pest in the botanical gardens located in Mediterranean climates near the sea. Here we see this fine specimen in the Botanical Garden of Soller in Majorca, emerged from a spore in the wind from a balcony of a private house near the garden.

Its name "falcatum" means sickle or scythe, the way of the pinnae falcate with a leathery texture and bright.

Underside of the frond above with immature sori no order covering the entire bottom surface of the pinnae.

Details of previous immature sori, which are rounded and covered by a peltate indusium in the form of umbrella attached to the pinna by a central stem.

Mature sori in May with the indusium lifted revealing deployed and mature sporangia.

Details of Cyrtomium falcatum sori. It looks great as the peltate indusium and sporangia umbrella as brown balls peeking below the indusium after deployed explosively and disperse the spores as far as possible.


  1. Thank you very much for this very informative post, especially the first fronds that look like ivy leaves! Love from India.