English name: Bird’s-nest fern
Latin name: Asplenium nidus
Family: Spleenwort – Aspleniaceae
Origin: East Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia
This species is an epiphytic fern, growing especially on tree trunks, but also sometimes directly from the ground. It reaches a height of 50 to 150 cm. The leaves form in a rosette, and are large, straight, light-green and often crinkled, growing to a width of 10 to 20 cm; the midrib is dark brown. In the leaf rosette the fern gathers water and humus. Spores form and develop in long rows of sori clusters on the underside of the leaves.
This fern has been used as a local folk medicine, treating a range of illnesses. Its young shoots are eaten in Taiwan. They are cut in slices of 2.5 cm., and fried with garlic and chili. In Europe, the bird’s-nest fern is a popular potted plant.