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Giant leather fern
Acrostichum danaeifolium

Copyright by: George D. Gann

General Landscape Uses: A large specimen or accent fern useful in wet areas nearly throughout South Florida. It is especiall useful along the edges of freshwater or brackish ponds and marshes.

Ecological Restoration Notes: Nearly ubiquitous in wetlands throughout South Florida and can become dominant in certain situations.

Availability: Widely cultivated.

Description: Large shrub-like herbaceous fern with ascending or arching fronds. Fronds to about 10 feet long or more.

Dimensions: Typically 6-12 feet in height. As broad or broader than tall.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Monroe County Keys north to St. Johns and Dixie counties; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes north to Indian River and Manatee counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: A wide variety of freshwater or brackish wetlands from marshes to swamps.

Soils: Wet to moist, poorly-drained to inundated organic freshwater or 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 full sun.

Flower Color: N/A.

Flower Characteristics: There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Inconspicuous spores.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from spores. Small plants can be transplanted.

Comments: This is the more common of our two native species of Acrostichum. It can be distinguished from A. aurem by its longer fronds and more crowded pinnae (leaflets).

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Acrostichum danaeifolium available from:

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