Biology and distribution

Asplenium nidus was first described by the great naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

There are about 700 species in the genus Asplenium, and Asplenium nidus is one of several closely related and similar-looking species, which all have the common name bird’s nest fern. Because it can be difficult to tell apart some species of bird’s nest fern, they are often referred to as a ‘species complex’.

The Asplenium nidus complex is distributed from east Africa and India, through south-east Asia and southern China to eastern Australia, Polynesia and Hawaii.

This fern can grow on the ground but is more frequently found growing as an epiphyte on trees.

The apple-green fronds can grow to a length of 150cm, and have a blackish midrib when mature. Long rows of sori (clusters of sporangia, within which the spores develop) form on the underside of the fronds.

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