Golden leather fern
Acrostichum aureum

Landscape Uses:

A large accent fern in wet areas along the coast. It is especially useful along the edges of brackish or saltwater ponds and marshes.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

A somewhat uncommon understory element of tidal swamps and marshes.
Grown by enthusiasts.
Large shrub-like herbaceous fern with ascending or arching fronds. Fronds to about 6 feet long.
Typically 4-6 feet in height. As broad as tall or broader, but often growing in large masses.
Growth Rate:
Monroe County Keys north along the coasts to Palm Beach and Manatee counties; West Indies and widely distributed in the New and Old World tropics. Very rare and scattered in the Monroe County Keys and perhaps absent from the middle Keys.
Tidal swamps and marshes; sinkholes in rockland hammocks.
Wet to moist, poorly-drained to inundated organic brackish soils.
Nutritional Requirements:
High; requires rich organic soils for optimal growth.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance:
Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.
Light Requirements:
Light shade to moderate shade.
Flower Color:
Flower Characteristics:
There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.
Flowering Season:
All year.
Inconspicuous spores.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from spores. Small plants can be transplanted.
This is the less common of our two native species of Acrostichum. It can be distinguished from A. danaeifolium by its shorter fronds and more separated pinnae (leaflets). It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.

Sally Channon, August 2015
In habitat, Juno Dunes Natural Area
Palm Beach County, Florida, USA; Enlarge
Keith Bradley
Keith Bradley
Jay Horn
Jay Horn