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Forest Royalty – 

the Staghorn Fern 

The staghorn fern-03

I can honestly say that my life was unexpectedly changed by a forest fern – the staghorn fern. There was something majestic about its striking appearance that immediately caught my attention. As my curiosity grew, so did my interest. I learned about this regal tropical fern through research, the internet and talking to experienced fern-growers. I became more and more involved and before I knew it, a new career path emerged.

 

Fern ancestry

Ferns thrived on Earth thousands of years before humans appeared. Fossil remains have been found showing that they date back 420 million years. For a long time, ‘tree ferns’ were the most common plant found growing on the Earth’s surface.

Staghorn ferns

Staghorn ferns come in many forms. They are a member of the plant family known as Platycerium. From this genus there are 18 species and several varieties and hybrids.
Their fronds grow and extend from the center of the plant and are quite spectacular looking, especially if their fonds grow upwards or in a drooping downward manner. Also, the staghorn fern is an epiphytic fern (a plant that grows on a host, but does not take any nutrients from the host) and grows naturally on trees.

Ferns reproduce through their spores. These spores are protected by casings, which can be found on the underside of the leaf, along its edges or end of the leaf. When they are mature, the casings will pop allowing the spores to drop or be cultivated in a laboratory setting. Ferns have roots, stems and leaves. They grow from rhizomes. Since staghorn ferns are epiphytes, they do not grow naturally in the ground, but instead use their roots to anchor themselves to their environment’s host trees. They are unusual plants for they thrive on humid air. This is how they absorb moisture, do not need soil and get nutrients from different sources. For staghorn enthusiasts, like myself, these ferns can be attached to boards and hung inside or outside home or office environments.

A new career path

My passion and collection of staghorn ferns filled and literally took over all available space within our apartment. It was time to make a decision. I took a leap of faith and with lots of encouragement and support, started my own fern nursery.
In Taiwan, staghorn ferns have become one of the most popular ferns to buy. Most nurseries are focusing on growing their staghorn ferns, as ‘forest ferns’ within an expansive outdoor environment – most people don’t have enough outdoor space to grow them. This is why our focus is to grow them for indoor living and enjoyment.

For me, there is something refined, cultured and regal about staghorn ferns that are grown indoors. Fascinated at how an indoor environment can make such a difference, my gallery team and I have employed the use of technology and artistic design to grow our staghorn ferns. The results have been astonishing. Their carefully crafted forms are like works of living wall art.

Collectors, interior designers, architects, galleries and museums recognize the exceptional beauty of staghorn ferns that are raised indoors. They are seeking ferns that will add a distinctive and unique look to their home or workplace.
Our company’s gallery collection has an ambiance of simple elegance. Mounted on the walls are exquisite examples of staghorn ferns – the captivating antler fronds with their large bifurcated leaves and shield fronds that surround the root ball as it anchors the fern. When collectors visit, they are immediately drawn to each display and our concept of presenting staghorn ferns as pieces of indoor living art. Being able to show them how to use their creativity for their own staghorn fern art wall pieces brings such shared happiness.

Allen Kuo is an animation
director and the founder of Aroot, an upscale staghorn fern nursery. His vision, knowledge, technology, creative outlook and staghorn designs are what make his collections unique.

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