Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is it a fern?

The Staghorn Fern - is a regular fixture on tall trees at our Kambatik Botanic Garden.

Mention of ferns the common perception is of the lacy type of ferns or the more dramatic ones like the Staghorn fern as shown above. But here we have too the creeping type of ferns called Drymoglossum piloselloides. The local Malays call it " Duit-Duit" which means coins. Others call it " Sakat Ribu - Ribu" - meaning thousands of epiphytes because of the numerous small leaves. Sometimes it is also known as " Sisik Naga" or Dragon Scales. At the Mid Hill footpath, these ferns creep tall trees ( see inset) Dragon's Scales get established on the fork of trees where there are abundant algae, lichens and dirt for the fern to forage. These ferns have fleshy leaves to assist in water storage and the stomata mainly open at night when the temperature is low and this help to reduce water loss through transpiration.
Close up of the Dragon's Scales

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