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Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)


  1. UGF vs. Cables, Java Fern, FROG regulator
    by Erik Olson <(e-mail)> (Wed, 26 Apr 1995)
  2. Java Fern and pronouncing Aponegeton
    by (WRIGHT HUNTLEY) (Wed, 26 Apr 1995)
  3. Java Ferns
    by David Randall <> (26 Apr 95)
  4. Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #37
    by George Booth <> (Wed, 26 Apr 1995)
  5. Java Fern
    by (Hoa G. Nguyen) (Mon, 1 May 95)
  6. Plant Stuff
    by David Randall <> (01 May 95)
  7. Forms of Java Fern
    by (Sun, 30 Apr 1995)
  8. Javas and Light Level
    by David Randall <> (02 May 95)
  9. java fern blotches?
    by David Randall <> (10 Jun 95)
  10. Java Fern
    by Liisa Sarakontu <> (Mon, 19 Jun 1995)
  11. Coppersafe and Java Fern
    by David Randall <> (13 Jul 95)
  12. Coppersafe & Java Fern
    by David Randall <> (13 Jul 95)
  13. RE: Java Fern
    by Bruce Hansen <> (Tue, 5 Mar 1996)
  14. Re:Tropica site and Jave fern black spots
    by krombhol-at-felix.TECLink.Net (Paul Krombholz) (Thu, 15 Aug 1996)
  15. Black java fern leaves
    by eworobe/cc.UManitoba.CA (Sun, 21 Dec 1997)
  16. Java Fern
    by "Dixon, Steven" <stdixon/> (Fri, 23 Jan 1998)
  17. Java Ferns
    by krandall/ (Sat, 22 Aug 1998)
  18. cutting java fern
    by krandall/ (Sat, 30 Jan 1999)
  19. aquatic ferns
    by Steve Pushak <teban/> (Thu, 07 Oct 1999)
  20. Stapled Java ferns and Bolbitis?
    by krandall/ (Sun, 19 Sep 1999)
  21. clear tips on new java fern leafs
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/> (Mon, 21 Feb 2000)
  22. Java Ferns
    by Karen Randall <krandall/> (Thu, 10 Aug 2000)
  23. java fern
    by "ali dadu" <tilan/> (Sat, 05 May 2001)
  24. Narrow Leaf Java Ferns
    by Loh Kwek Leong <timebomb/> (Sat, 4 Aug 2001)

Microsorum pteropus
, a top view (click on picture for full frame).

Microsorum pteropus "Windelov"

photo by Erik Olson

UGF vs. Cables, Java Fern, FROG regulator

by Erik Olson <(e-mail)>
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 1995

> From:
> Subject: Java Ferns
>      I obtained a Java fern (Microsorum pteropus) and attached it to a 
>      piece of driftwood with a rubber band about 3 (almost 4) weeks ago.  
>      So far it is not doing anything...not dying, certainly not growing or 
>      producing new leaves.  Anyone have experience with this plant?  Do 
>      they take a long time to acclimate?  Once acclimated, how fast can 
>      they be expected to grow under good conditions (light, CO2, etc)

Wow, good to see more people using the right name for Java Fern (and I 
thought I was just being anal when I mentioned that in the FAQ... then lo 
and behold, there's Neil Frank making note of it in TAG!)

Mine like the high light.  They also like CO2.  They spread like
wildflowers under these conditions, and went from two little $4 cuttings
to taking over 1/3 of a 55g in about 4 months.  When in this condition,
they also got tougher, bigger (7-10") fronds, and eventually started
throwing out triple-spiked fronds (now THAT's something you don't see
every day).  I have to go in and rip out whole bunches of it every few

In my African Cichlid tank with 80W of lighting, it stays barely rooted to
a rock and grows much slower, but still survives.  They are tough buggers.

Java Fern and pronouncing Aponegeton

Date: Wed, 26 Apr 1995

I received a bunch of small plants in a recent trade, and have had some 
slow success with them in all but one place. My soft, warm "Amazon" 
tank put them into immediate brown-out melt-down mode. [2 dH, 81F, 6+ 

I happened to be talking to a distributor who used to manage a major 
plant distribution system. He said Java Fern was an estuarine plant 
that got some stiff doses of salt, at times. He also said Java Moss was 
similar. I certainly stopped the spread of the damage by switching the 
two plants to a cooler hard-water tank, and the plants in my sightly 
salted ultra-hard guppy/swordtail tank seem to be doing just fine.

Since this information is not in any of my aquarium or plant books, and 
is contradicted by some, I would appreciate any enlightenment that the 
folks on the mail list might provide.

- -- 
My quoting Yeats was a bit too inflammatory, re: Oklahoma City, so I'm 
reverting. What those jerks never learned was the important first step.
"The first (and key) step to liberty is to be a good neighbor."

Java Ferns

by David Randall <>
Date: 26 Apr 95


 Re: Java Ferns
 >>  Anyone have experience with this plant?  Do they take a long time to
acclimate?  Once acclimated, how fast can
 they be expected to grow under good conditions (light, CO2, etc) <<

 I grow 4 different varieties of this plant, and have had two of those for
about 10 years.  The plant grows well but slowly under even marginal
conditions, but does even better with brighter light and supplemental CO2.
Although it gets very large and beautiful under good conditions, it will never
win any track records for record for reproduction.

 In my 70G tank with 200W of full spectrum fluorescent lighting and
supplemental CO2 and trace elements, I can harvest one or two plants of the
large variety, 14-18" tall and with 6-10 leaves.  The small variety typically
available reproduces more slowly by rhizome, at least in my tanks.  With
these, although the base plant mass does spread, most of the plants I remove
are plantlets thrown off by the leaves.  I suppose it probably puts up about
the same number of new leaves per month as the large one, but because the
leaves are so much smaller, it takes a lot longer to outgrow its space.

  E-mail from: Karen Randall, 26-Apr-1995

Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #37

by George Booth <>
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 1995

> From:
> Date: Tue, 25 Apr 95 16:15:22 MST
> Subject: Java Ferns
>      I obtained a Java fern (Microsorum pteropus) and attached it to a 
>      piece of driftwood with a rubber band about 3 (almost 4) weeks ago.  
>      So far it is not doing anything...not dying, certainly not growing or 
>      producing new leaves.  Anyone have experience with this plant?  Do 
>      they take a long time to acclimate?  Once acclimated, how fast can 
>      they be expected to grow under good conditions (light, CO2, etc)
They are not fast growers but do very well in our CO2 injected tanks.
It's hard to tell how fast they grow since they sort of grow in all
directions at once, but ours get "too big" in about 6 months and get
drastically pruned.  We will cut sections from the rhizome with 6 or
so big leaves on it and reattach them to the wood or rock. 

Under bright light, Java Ferns really produce lot's of oxygen bubbles
- - more so than any other plant we keep.

It seems normal for the older leaves to begin to go black when they
die.  At that time, little ferns sprout from the tips of the old
leaves.  We also get lots of spores under the larger leaves.  One time
when we removed a "too big" plant for trimming, we found a really
ancient dead leaf in the middle of the bunch and all the locations
where spores might have been had a little baby fern sprouting from it.

- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
George Booth                         "Nothing in the world is more dangerous             than sincere ignorance and conscientious 
Freshwater Plant Tank Technology     stupidity" - Martin Luther King, Jr. 
- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Java Fern

by (Hoa G. Nguyen)
Date: Mon, 1 May 95

>From: Erik Olson (e-mail)
>PS: Hoa: I have disagree with you about Java Fern doing badly with "too
>much" light. How much light are we talking about?  I've got 160W of
>fluorescents over 45 gallons, and the Java Fern grows right up to the top
>& even out of the water (where the leaves burn up because of their
>proximity to the light). 

That's very interesting.  I have 120W of Ultra TriLux over 65 gallons, and
I noticed that the leaves developed transparent patches on the ferns at the
middle of the tank, but not those at the ends.  But occasionally, if I leave
the window blinds open and sunlight shines on the ones at the end, I'd
notice the transparent patches the next day also.  This effect is also
mentioned in Barry James' "A Fishkeeper's Guide to Aquarium Plants," which
also says that the plant grows best in subdued light (the Baensch Atlas just
says it requires minimal light).  I wonder if this effect is tied in with a
lack or surplus of some other nutrient.


Plant Stuff

by David Randall <>
Date: 01 May 95

K.C. Wong

 >> I need some help on ID'ing a plant I acquired a few weeks ago. The plant
looks very similar to Java Fern in that it has clasping roots and rizhome and
the same coloration. But the plant I got has longer upright
 stems that produces 3 leafs instead of one. The leafs are smoother than Java
Fern leafs. <<

 It's not Java Fern, though it is a similar plant.  It's the emersed form of
Bolbitis heteroclita. (Looks like Poison Ivy to me!<g>) Unlike B. heudelotti,
it is an Asian plant, and really does better emersed.

 Grown submerged, the leaves are much smaller, lighter green and very curly. 
It does not grow particularly well ... it seems to limp along without
developing into the beautiful display we expect from other aquatic ferns. I've
had a section in my tank for about two years, but in that length of time, the
rhizome has grown only from about 3" in length to about 9", IMO not much
progress in 2+ years! I really don't like it very much, and have kept it only
as an "oddity".  I keep meaning to get rid of it.  Only inertia stands in my

 Re: Java Ferns

 I think when people start scrutinizing their Javas, they will see definite
differences.  Size of the plants is somewhat dependent on conditions, but with
the two "normal" varieties I have, (the new ones are very distinctive, and
cannot be confused with the others) they are really quite different even if
you have two plants of the same size in your hands.

 The large one is a light bright kelly green, very ruffled, and with broader
leaves.  The small one is much darker, and the leaves are much narrower.  They
have a puckered surface, but are not anywhere near as ruffled as the larger
variety.  These differences are obvious even in plantlets.  I can take a
handful of plantlets that have been floating free in the tank and as small as
1 12" in length and accurately divide them by type.  This holds true for M.p.
'Windelov' as well.  'Tropica' is a little harder because the deep
indentations in the leaf margins only develop as the leaf gains some size. 
Until those indentations (or streamers might be a more accurate description)
develop, the plantlets look very similar to those of the larger variety of
Java fern.

Forms of Java Fern

Date: Sun, 30 Apr 1995

Are there more than 4 forms/varieties of Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)? 

  Karen Randall mentioned that she knows of 4 varieties and has all of
them growing in her tanks.  Two are the new Tropica hybrids (Windev v' and
Tropica,');  the third is a "small" variety and the last is the large
variety, which given adequate light and conditions will produce 12"+
leaves (some of which are trilobite).  Until 9 months ago, I did not know
that such a large form existed.

  I have been growing a small broad leaf form for over 10 years, but just 
acquired another small' form, this one with narrow leaves. So, I realize 
that some measurements are needed to be more descriptive of the different 
forms.  We should also comment on how they may change under different 
lighting or nutrient conditions.  I selected one leaf I judged to be 
typical of each of my forms and provide the measurements for others to 
comment (my ruler was marked in inches, so that is how I present my units): 

    Form of Java Fern      Lenght    width

  - small broad leaf form   7"    1.25"

  -small narrow leaf form   7"    0.6"

  -large broad leaf form   12"    1.25"

  Both of my broad leaf forms are growing with relatively bright light (280w
 fluorescent in 125gal tank). The narrow leaf had been growing in relatively
 dim light (I think 20 watts in 20 gal. tank). 

- --Neil

Javas and Light Level

by David Randall <>
Date: 02 May 95


 Re: Java Ferns and light levels

 I must agree with Eric on this one.  I keep Java Ferns in a 70G with 200W and
have never had a problem.  My Javas are enormous, and show only stronger
growth with good light and supplemental CO2.  I keep the same varieties in low
tech/low light tanks and they still do well, but the growth is now where near
as luxuriant.  I wonder if what you are seeing is a reaction to a CHANGE in
the light level?

  E-mail from: Karen Randall, 01-May-1995

java fern blotches?

by David Randall <>
Date: 10 Jun 95


 >>  Should I worry about the speckles and blotches? Dispose of those
particular leaves?  Are these diseases, natural coloring, or just "age spots"?

 The symptoms you describe are definitely damage of some sort.  If it were
only the spots on the older trilobate leaves, I would say it was just age, but
considering how many leaves are involved, I suspect that there is more

 You often see this type of damage following the use of some sort of chemical
(algicide, medication, etc.) in a tank. People often don't make a connection
between the two events since, being a slow growing plant, damage often doesn't
show up for 6-8 weeks after the chemical was added to the tank.

 Then again, I have seen a syndrome similar to Cryptocoryne melt but slower,
where a whole stand of Javas (I suspect it's leaves produced all on a single
rhizome) will brown and decay.  As with Crypts, if the rhizome is left alone,
it usually springs back with time.

 No matter what the source of the problem, plant leaves are either growing and
contributing to water quality, or deteriorating and contributing to pollution.
Leaves that are deteriorating should always be removed.

  E-mail from: Karen Randall, 10-Jun-1995

Java Fern

by Liisa Sarakontu <>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995

Erik Olson wrote: 
> I was cleaning out my tank yesterday, when I noticed that some of the roots
> of my Java Ferns are sprouting little new java fernlets.  Not the 
> rhizome, but the little hairy roots coming out of the rhizome.  I've 
> never seen this happen before.  Is this common?  What's happening here?

I have seen that happening in my tanks too. I think that Java
Fern just is able to grow a new fernlet from any part of itself, when
the conditions are right. I don't remember that those baby ferns have
ever grown to adult size, but Java Fern always grows very slowly in my 
poorly lit low-tech tanks. 

Liisa Sarakontu                     INTERNET:
Helsinki University of Technology   WWW homepage

Coppersafe and Java Fern

by David Randall <>
Date: 13 Jul 95


 Actually, Java Fern is more tolerant of copper than some plants are.  The
problem is that they are slow growers. Slow to show damage and slow to
recover.  Remove all damaged foliage, and just wait it out.  In all
likelihood, with time your Javas will come back as good as news.

Coppersafe & Java Fern

by David Randall <>
Date: 13 Jul 95


 >> I'm pretty new to keeping Jav Fern (I've only had some plants for a few
months), but I'm wondering if your's are just getting ready to sprout babies.
Mine were mostly green when I got them & then the tips of many leaves turned
brown & I thought they were rotting (similar to your's) but then the brown
spots started sprouting baby plants.  This took quite a long time (a couple of
months) for me & I hope thats what's happening for you. <<

 Well, you are right and you are wrong.<g>  Java Ferns don't necessarily turn
brown when they are going to have babies, Bust stress and damage can
definitely put a Java Fern into the production of baby plantlets.  If you
completely remove a leaf from the plant and leave it floating in the tank, you
will find that it develops plantlets.

 >> The person I got mine from was able to grow it well & have it multiply
well using Tetra Crypto Hilena fertilizer tablets pushed into the gravel at
the roots of the plants. <<

 Java Ferns will (sometimes) survive if "planted" with their roots in the
substrate, but they are meant to grow "holding on" to something.  The proper
way to grow them is to attach them somehow to a piece of driftwood or a stone.
(I use monofilament fishing line, but most anything will do)

 For this reason, substrate fertilizers are not the most useful for Java

RE: Java Fern

by Bruce Hansen <>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996

- ------ =_NextPart_000_01BB0A63.86819560
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
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G'day plant people,

Dave Gomberg wrote-

<AFAIK, there are two genetically different types of Java fern.  At
least two.  I have both and so does Neil Frank and I think Erik Olsen
does too.  Neil calls them narrow and broad leaf, I call them big and
little.   Big has 10" fronds typically, they are cross-shaped (two
pinnae on the frond about 2/3 of the way to the tip) and medium
green.  The frond surface is slightly crinkly.  Little has 2-3"
fronds, they are lanceolate and dark green, with a smooth surface.=20
Big grows more spread out, little grows in a clump.

My opinion is that the narrow/small form is probably Microsorium =
brassii, a species found in New Guinea and Manus Island ( and probably =
other places too) . Ususl habitat is in small streams at low alitudes =
between high and low water levels. I have seen it completely submerse in =
nature growing on rocks and submerged stumps in the streams around =


Leach G.J. &  Osborne  P.L. :  Freshwater Plants of Papua  New  Guinea.
University of PNG Press,  1985. pages 57-59.=20

Under cultivation it seems not to be as vigorous as M. pteropus and the =
submerse form is much more sensitive to dessication. Try attaching it to =
lava/ barbeque rock as a substrate so no root rot is initiated from =
bogwood and it can be easily transferred if it is not thriving.

Re:Tropica site and Jave fern black spots

by krombhol-at-felix.TECLink.Net (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1996

The black areas on the older leaves are said to be a result of nutrient
deficiency, but it is hard to tell which nutrient. I doubt that CO2
fertilization could cause the development of the black areas.   I see
development of the black areas a lot in floating Java ferns, but the ferns
seem to grow better and have much fewer black areas if they can actually
get their roots into gravel.  I have not tried to grow them on driftwood or
rocks, but people claim that they can attach their roots like ivy.  It
would be interesting to know if their ability to get nutrients is improved
when they get themselves attached.  I always see a clear area at the
growing tip of a new leaf.  That is natural and normal.  It is caused by
the absence of any air between the upper and lower epidermis of the leaf.
I have not seen clear areas form in older leaves.  If the older leaf gets a
black area that then turns clear, what is probably happening is that the
tissue dies and turns black, then much of the dead tissue sloughs off,
leaving just a clear epidermal layer.

Under very poor lighting conditions, Java fern can revert to a form that
resembles the gametophyte form.  Ferns have an alternation of generations,
the sporophyte and gametophyte generations.  In the usual fern life cycle,
the sporophyte is the large plant with leaves and roots.  Its cells are
diploid, that is, they have two sets of chromosomes.  On their leaves they
have places where meiosis (reduction division) takes place, producing
haploid cells that become spores.  These spores are released, germinate,
and grow into the haploid gametophyte plant, whose cells have only one set
of chromosomes. The gametophyte is a small flattened plant that has no true
leaves, stems, or roots.  It is a thin, translucent piece of tissue, that
has no air-filled spongy tissue between the upper and lower epidermis.
Instead of roots, it has tiny, hair-like rhizoids like those produced by
moss.  Usually, one never notices fern gametophytes, because they are so
samll.  The gametophyte produces---guess what---gametes, eggs and sperm.
The egg is retained in a little cup of tissue, and is fertilized by a sperm
to produce a diploid cell that grows into the sporophyte.  While
developing, the sporophyte is nourished by the gametophyte, but it soon
develops a leaf and a root, and then starts making its own food.  Soon the
growing sporophyte obliterates its tiny gametophyte "parent".  As I started
to say at the beginning of this paragraph, the Java fern sporophyte can,
under very poor lighting conditions or sometimes when nutrients are in poor
supply, revert to a thin green ribbon with only rhizoids that resembles the
gametophyte.  When light or nutrient supply is improved, it starts
producing true leaves and roots, again.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174
In steamy Mississippi.

Black java fern leaves

by eworobe/cc.UManitoba.CA
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997

In my limited experience the black spots are caused by a nutrient 
deficiency. Some people have suggested iron as the culprit but in my case 
adding iron did not solve the problem. It was not till I started adding 
potassium and nitrates that the black spots stopped forming on new 
leaves... this suggests that a wide range of nutrients could cause these 
spots when deficient.


Java Fern

by "Dixon, Steven" <stdixon/>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998

Adam wrote regarding Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus): >>>Well.. it's
been sitting on my driftwood (with an elastic band) for over 2 weeks and
doesn't look any different (i.e., the roots don't appear to be grabbing
the wood, but are moving downward toward the gravel).  Have I planted
this thing wrong?>>>

You've done it just right Adam.  Give it a month or two.  I've used
black cotton thread to bring the rhizome firmly into contact with the
driftwood in a couple of places.  And I've found that root hairs
(probably not a botanically correct term) will dig into the gravel a
quarter to half an inch, but not much more.  If I move bunches of Java
Fern around, I drag a bit of gravel with me.  The 'leaf babies' are just
one of my favorite things.  I enjoy them as much as flowers on flowering

If your conditions are good, the fern will hold fast to the driftwood as
it grows, and you'll have to pry it off breaking the rhizome to give the
excess to your friends!  <g>

Regards and good luck, Steve Dixon

Java Ferns

by krandall/
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 1998

Dave Gomberg wrote:

>>There are two of these.  A small dark leafed variety with narrow leaf and
>>short petiole, which only becomes trilobate in extreme old age, and then
>>not always, and a large broad leafed variety that is a little lighter in
>>color , has long petioles, and is very prone to produce trilobate leaves,
>>even on quite a young rhizome.
>Karen, I have got to wondering lately if these last are just Tropica
>plantlets that have grown to maturity and been sold or traded and thereby
>lost their association with the Tropica "parent"???   What do you think?

No, absolutely not.  This variety (and the small one) were available for
_years_ before the two new varieties from Tropica were "developed".  In
case you haven't heard the story, it's pretty interesting.  In both cases
('Tropica' and 'Windelov') the plants were literally "discovered" in the
Tropica green houses.  They still do not know whether they were spontaneous
mutations that occurred under culivation, or whether these varieties occur
in nature, and they collected the material without realizing it on one of
their many collecting trips.  If the 'Tropica' and 'Windelov' varieties
_are_ naturally occurring, the populations must be very small and isolated,
because they have tried to find evidence of them in the wild on return
trips, but have been unsuccessful.

One way or the other, the development of both types was serendipitous, not

Claus has told me exact locations where he has collected both the small and
the large "normal" forms.  They both occur in broad areas in the wild.
There is a possibility that the smaller, narrow leafed form, while
definitely a Microsorum, is not pteropus at all, but another species. 

Actually, since the 'Tropica' Java fern reverts to the large "plain" type
through the plantlets, it is most likely that it is a variety of the large
"normal" form, whether naturally occurring or not.  My bets are on the
small "normal" as the parent of 'Windelov', but that is pure speculation on
my part.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association

cutting java fern

by krandall/
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999

>I've got some large java ferns that have attached themselves to
>driftwood.  The plants are too big and I would like to separate them.  If
>I cut the rhizome will it injure the plant.  How do I pull the plant from
>the driftwood without destroying it since the roots  have attached so
>well.  I can tug pretty hard and the plant doesn't budge.

Just pull it off the driftwood, and cut the rhizome with a sharp knife.  As
long as each section contains rhizome, a few leaves and a few roots, it
won't even look back.  If you happen to break a leaf off, just let it float
around the tank and babies will form on it.  Java fern is tough stuff!

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association

aquatic ferns

by Steve Pushak <teban/>
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999

I came across an interesting website: where I learned some very
interesting facts! Aquatic ferns were apparently the evolutionary
precursors of terrestrial ferns from which all terrestrial plants are
descended! There is also a family tree and I could recognize many of our
familiar aquarium plants including the Isoetes family, Marsilea, and
Salvinia not to mention Java fern, Bolbitus and the mosses.

Another interesting fact about ferns is that during the gametophyte
stage of sexual reproduction, there are spermatozoids which actually
swim to the egg organ, the Archegonium, to fertilize it. This fertilized
egg then grows into the mature fern plant as we know it. The gametophyte
itself is only a precursor form! The evolution of sex!! 

The figure 4 Life cycles of ferns was a bit mysterious. What are these
references to melotic nuclear division and melospores and mitospores?
What are Apogamous outgrowths?
- -- 
Steve Pushak                              Vancouver, BC, CANADA 

Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page"
 for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!

Stapled Java ferns and Bolbitis?

by krandall/
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999

>I read somewhere in the archives that another way to affix Java ferns and
>Bolbitis plants to driftwood was to staple them.  This sounds much easier
>than employing hand and thread, but does the metal from the staple effect
>the tank in any adverse way?

Nope.  It just rusts.  Eventually it deteriorates to the point that it no
longer hold the roots, but by then the plant is clinging to the wood on its


clear tips on new java fern leafs

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000

On Mon, 21 Feb 2000, LeeAnn wrote:

> What would cause the new leafs that grow on my java fern to have clear tips?

This is the normal appearance of the tip of a new (still growing) leaf.

Roger Miller

Java Ferns

by Karen Randall <krandall/>
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2000

William Bragg

>I have a java fern that has what I think may be spores.  But I don't even
>know if I am using that term correctly.  On one leaf there is small brown
>"bumps" pretty uniformly spaced in two columns from the tip of the leaf to
>the bottom of the leaf.  What are these? Normal? Healthy? Unhealthy?  I have
>looked in my books and the internet but found nothing specific.  I believe
>that Java Fern develop adventitious plants (is that the right term?).  Is
>that what this is?

The spots are the places where spores would be released into the air if the
plant was growing emersed, but Java ferns do not reproduce sexually under
water.  In fac they are very difficult to reproduce sexually even emersed
under cultivation.  What often happens when a leaf develops spores as your
has is that when it begins to deteriorate, it will develop new plantlets
(lots of them) at the site of each of these spots.  It's a quick way to get
hundreds of new plants off a single leaf.  Of course, then you have to find
space to grow them all out...<g>


java fern

by "ali dadu" <tilan/>
Date: Sat, 05 May 2001

Is it a typically emersed plant in the wild that is only periodically 

here in malaysia i have always seen it growing on boulders next to rivers. 
these are emersed growth. the rivers are usually covered by forest canopy 
and have little light. very humid, moist even.

only one place have i heard where these guys grow submerged. pools of about 
20metre sq. together with java moss outside a limestone cave. high 

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Narrow Leaf Java Ferns

by Loh Kwek Leong <timebomb/>
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2001

>Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2001 06:27:02 +1000
>From: "Bruce Hansen" <>
>Subject: Re: Narrow-leaf Java Fern
>I was interested to see your pictures of this plant - did you collect it
>yourself? It looks like Microsorium brassii which I saw commonly in New
>Guinea and is in limited cultivation here in Australia. Unlike the common
>Java fern which is usually seen growing emersed, this one is mostly

Hi, Bruce,

Sorry for not replying earlier.  Been busy packing moss :)

I didn't collect the ferns myself.  I seriously doubt they grow in the wild
anywhere in Singapore.  We do have a lot of normal Java Ferns but in
my nature walks, I have never come across the narrow leaf version.

I called my aquatic plant import/exporter friend on the phone just now
and she said that she isn't sure of the scientific name either.  When I
Microsorium brassii, she said the only brassii she knows is Cryptocoryne
blassii.  But then, that blassii is spelt with an l and not an r.

When I asked her how she lists the plant in her invoices, she replied that
she calls it Microsorium pteropus (narrow leaf).  So, there you have it -
Narrow Leaf Java Fern.

Loh K L

Up to Plants! <- Plants <- The Krib This page was last updated 17 February 2002