Biology

Size
  • Giant ferns, with hemispherical rhizomes of 1m across and 1.5m tall
  • Leaves huge, bipinnate, 6m long and 3m wide
Growth

Relatively fast growing.

Lifecycle

Ferns produce spores. These spores develop into a single celled, heart-shaped structure called the gametophyte.

On the gametophyte the male and female cells are produced, and the males swim to the females when there is sufficient moisture surrounding the gametophyte. After fertilisation, the embryo grows out into a sporophyte, the plants that produces the spores, and that we know as a fern.

Life expectancy

Plants can be very old, but no exact data is available.

The author knows of a plant that was planted c. 50 years ago and is still thriving well and growing vigorously.

Molecular biology

The starchy rhizomes are edible after long processing to remove toxins.

It is also used to flavour rice and to produce an intoxicating alcoholic drink.

Reproduction

Sexual reproduction by spores or vegetative reproduction by proliferous buds on the rhizomes.

Dispersal

The spores are dispersed by wind (anemochorous).

Stipules of the rhizomes have proliferous buds that can break off and produce new plants.