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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.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

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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