Microsorum sp.

February 16th, 2008

Last fall, two GWAPA members, Jim and Ghazanfar, traveled to Europe to attend the European Cryptocoryne Society’s (ECS) annual meeting. Armed with all of the proper phytosanitary documents, they were able to bring back a number of species of plants from the meeting. One of these plants is a currently unidentified Microsorum species that is quite different than any of the other Microsorum (Java Fern) species we’re currently keeping in the United States.

Microsorum sp.

This particular specimen has a many more branches than your typical Java Fern. At first, we thought it might be the Tropica cultivar, Microsorum pteropus ‘Tropica’ ,but after comparing multiple pictures, that seems to have a fatter fern with my smaller saw-like edges coming off. The species Ghazanfar & Jim brought back looks much more like a hand with multiple fingers, or a trident’s staff, with narrower leaves.

Microsorum sp.

It grows just as quickly as your regular Java Fern, but unlike the Windelev variety, the irregular leaf shape appears to be present on plantlets forming on the end of leaves, in addition to new leaves from the rhizome. I think it’s a little bit prettier, as the narrower leaves bend down slightly, creating a cascading effect that you don’t usually get from a much more upright Microsorum pteropus.

Microsorum sp.

I’m hoping that eventually the folks in Europe will help us identify exactly what this fern is. But until then, I’m going to enjoy it as a centerpiece in my 75G aquascape. More info/pictures can be found on APC.

12 Responses to “Microsorum sp.”

  1. udest Says:

    sometimes i wish there was a local aquarium club here for a chance to find plants like that

  2. Chris Says:

    I have some of this as well, great plant!

  3. Sherry Says:

    Java Fern ‘Trident

  4. guitarfish Says:

    Sherry, yes that’s the name that Jeff Ucciardo in GWAPA coined, and started selling it as online. Unfortunately, we still don’t know whether or not it’s a Microsorum pteropus variant, or it’s own species. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Sherry Says:

    Thanks, I saw it for sale (I think ebay) and did a search (never saw it prior and really lovely mho) and found your site… will check back more often (lovely site)but am busy trying to set up 75 and rotating many things in stages at the same time (I go slow and easy). Do you have a lot of Java Fern (in general) experience as if you do I’d like to as some questions. Thanks much Sherry

  6. guitarfish Says:

    Sherry, thanks for the comment. Yes, I have a fair amount of experience with the various varieties of Java Fern (regular, narrow leaf, tropica, windelov, Trident, etc…). Ask away!

  7. Sherry Says:

    One question first… do the responces come to one’s email (I have so many links, hard to remember and the emails remind me). I think I checked yes but don’t get any. (nor on gardenweb forum so may be my yahoo as usual).

    Ok, question. I’ve tons of experience with fish so on from way back (about 40 years) and now what I used to do is called low tech, lol. My fish would breed naturally (and I’d sell them for kid money, big bucks back then)and plants grew with no problems (no java ferns back then and most fish grown locally by mom and pop set ups). The water in S. Oregon was soft and great, even used rainwater collected in tubs sometimes.

    Now, with my crud nyc water (pre filtered aged) fish never breed – well, save for when I had guppies, lol, and plants hard to grow. (hard water in Midtown, although at first it comes in super soft and after it sits hard – goes over lime rock). I don’t want to mess with water chemistry so choose fish and plants accordingly. (although I used peat, in pre filter, still use wood, and none affect the hardness much – the co2 does of course but I can’t supply it to all the tanks from diy.) (I’ve been told by others the water in Brooklyn is fantastic – and fish store staff say Midtown East worst??? All I know is when it rains hard and overflows sewage backs up into water supply – I’ve never drunk from tap since day I arrived in spite of people saying NYC is the best – ugh!)

    Anubias, mosses do fine, crypts I am finding out really well but when I try java ferns (expensive) not sure what is going on.

    Tied to rock or wood….

    It eventually turns brown and rots away. I’ve done extensive research and although most sites/forums say easy to grow and that is most person’s experience – some like me have the same problem. I’ve grown them where they get natural sunlight, my regular hologan (I know like a reg bulb, but I have the bulbs on dimmers so I can spot the tanks and I raise them during the day and slowly lower towards evening… and I do not understand the non bulb lighting (yet) higher flourescent – which I don’t like much anyway)(not to mention expense).

    At any rate even with natural light most don’t do well. After spending a huge amount long ago on large plants only to watch them slowly die (turn brown black) I didn’t try until I bought some recently on ebay.

    The narrow leaf (very small) and still left in the wrap around their roots (in betta tank) are doing fine, no brown die off after a month or so(will be placed on wood later).

    Needle leaf doing really fine (some partial leaf die off but new leaves developing). One guy is the only person I have found so far who sells it – sends a bit each time he has some… I like this fern much.

    But the huge hunk of regular java fern, from local stores or online just dies off. Regardless of which of 7 tanks, and lighting.

    I had read from some Ammano web link on how when he attaches (I can find the link if need be) his on wood that he trims most or many of the larger leaves off and just attaches the rizomes. (I would think some leaves are needed for photosynthesis)(sp?) Stating that only the new growth will do well and the old will not transfer well. I realize that many of these plants are grown emersed in hot houses and don’t do well with the sudden transition.

    Yet that said, I am sure many who have had success don’t do this?

    I supplement with co2 (used diy yeast but planning new set up so for now liquid), column fertilizer and fish are way understocked.

    Ok, any thoughts (much appreciated). Thanks Sherry

  8. guitarfish Says:

    Sherry, yes, the comment responses should come to your email. Check your junk mail folder in yahoo.

    For Java Fern, as you mention, it’s usually not a hard plant to grow. The only times that I’ve had it turn black on me as been when the temperature got too high, or when it was too close to the light, and burned a little bit.

    It is possible to plant with just the rhizome, and assuming a healthy rhizome to begin with, the fronds will come back. I don’t tend to do that unless the growth is unhealthy to begin with.

    So, the biggest thing, I’d check your temperature. A little cooler is better for Java Fern.

  9. Sherry Says:

    Thanks. It’s yahoo.(yahoo mgmt once deleted all my files re one company I had a legal case with and did something and the incoming email was fixed (though did not restore file) (tech said it has something to do with homeland security and if a certain name or word crops up they just delete it) who knows… (it was great for a while all coming through, then slowly it went back to just crud coming in). I may switch to my gmail account. Any way I digress and a few questions.

    What does GWAPA stand for (sorry can’t figure it out).

    And I think you might be correct with re to heat. My tanks are not heated ever as my room winter and esp summer is hot – can get over 80 in summer then I put fans on them to help cool. These were here in winter though so cooler but I keep tanks at around 80 so maybe that’s it. I have put the java fern that turned brown (trimmed) into the living room where it is much much cooler.. so we shall see.

    The needle leaf does fine though also the smaller narrow (at least that’s what ebay seller said it was, lol).

    Question two. I would like to obtain much more true needle leaf (none in NYC only got some from person on ebay and he ships me all he can periodically, which isn’t much).

    Do you know a source? My friend is traveling each winter to the Phillipines (son there and his family). Would you know if she can obtain it there and bring it back (I am calling the gov agencies re this for import). As you can tell I would really like more for a gigantic redwood piece of driftwood for my 75 I am slowly setting up. (I like this plant a lot – a real beauty).

    Also, I was scouting around your site – I am so impressed at what you accomplish! Always more to explore and travel vicariously through your site to your many meetings! (I had done research for another forum on the liverwort, Subwassertang and having grown life ferns from spores couldn’t quite figure out how it didn’t mature into the real fern??? (I have a background in amongst other things biology from long ago)

    Your guest at this meeting answered it quite nicely! Thanks and is it ok to post the information there (via link and credit source)


    I can see you are a busy person and I appreciate your feedback… no rush if busy and I will check back. Thanks much Sherry

  10. guitarfish Says:

    Sherry, GWAPA is the Greater Washington Aquatic Plants Association, with members in the Wash. D.C. metro area.

    For needle-leaf java fern, I’d check out aquabid.com, or the For Sale forums on aquaticplantcentral.com or plantedtank.net. I haven’t a clue about its availability in the Phillipines.

    Feel free to post links to my entries on forums. Thanks! 🙂

  11. sherry Says:

    Thanks guitarfish… It grows wild in the phillipines but seems like a lot of trouble to ask someone to get all the paper work… will try the two links or have patience for mine to grow, lol. Best Sherry (your post were posted and much appreciated btw)…

  12. Steve Says:

    What a wonderful description! No idea how you managed to write this text..it’d take me days. Well worth it though, I’d assume. Have you considered selling advertising space on your blog?