Lurking in the shadows of the main office building at MAGC is a monster. A plant the size of a person, and at least 50 years old. This new addition to our gardens is a staghorn fern, and was the gift of Carol Houck, who inherited this magnificent specimen from her mother and generously chose to offer it to us when she was moving out of state and couldn’t bring it with her. Because staghorn ferns are epiphytes and grow on other plants, like many orchids or air plants, we have mounted the fern on the wall next to the sign for the Main Office, where it gets just enough dappled sunlight to flourish. It gets its name from one of its two types of fronds, the antler-shaped leaves that give the fern its name. As with other types of ferns, the staghorn fern develops spores on the underside of these fronds, which are released into the air to produce new plants. Staghorn ferns also have a second type of frond that surround the base of the plant and take up water and nutrients. These dry and turn brown over time, but should not be removed and aren’t any indication that the plant isn’t doing well. Next time you stop by the office, be sure to look over your shoulder to catch a glimpse of this truly fantastic monster of a plant.
The fern arrives at MAGC.