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Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus 'Needle Leaf'

Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus 'Needle Leaf'

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Microsorum pteropus is a water fern from Asia, 15-30 cm tall, which should be grown on a root or stone, attached with fishing line until it has gained a hold. If it is planted in the bottom, do not cover the rhizome because it will rot. Easy to propagate by splitting the horizontal rhizome. A hardy plant which grows in all conditions. The black spots under the leaves are sporangia (reproductive organs), not signs of disease as many believe. This is the narrow leaf or needle leaf variety each leaf growing to approx 25 cm long and one cm wide. Plant supplied is 10-15 cm tall with 5-10 leaves

M. pteropus is one of the easiest aquatic plants to cultivate, and as such, it is an indispensable starting point for the aquatic plant novice. This ease of maintenance combined with its ability to root on rocks and other surfaces that are typically unavailable for planting have assured this species' longevity in the hobby. Medium light is sufficient for optimal growth, though higher and lower values are tolerated well. Like plants from the genus AnubiasM. pteropus features a rhizome from which both leaves and roots develop. This can be anchored to a rock or a piece of driftwood using threads or other materials; after a few months the roots will take hold and the binding media can be removed. If the aquarist desires to plant this plant in the substrate, he or she should take care to bury only the roots and not the rhizome. Though exceptional fertilization and CO2 supplementation are not necessary, good circulation is essential for good growth. Emersed cultivation within a paludarium or terrarium is easy, as long as the planting surface or substrate is kept fairly moist.

The propagation of M. pteropus is merely a matter of either dividing the creeping rhizome with a knife and reattaching or replanting the severed piece, or removing the adventitious plants that periodically form on the leaves and securing them.

With its distinctive ability to grow on otherwise unplantable surfaces, the possible applications of M. pteropus in the aquascape are virtually unlimited. A favorite place for this species is growing on a piece of wood in the middle or rear area of the aquarium. Another popular practice is the planting of a corkwood background with this species, where it proves an excellent backdrop for other species growing in the substrate.


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