P. coronarium, (cor-o-NAR-i-um) which means crown, describing the shape of the mature mass of shields.  Shield fronds are highly lobed and very thick and corky.  Fertile fronds form a long and twisted mass, with spore patches on the underside of kidney-shaped lobes. 

There of reports of fertile fronds being extremely wide and other reports with extremely narrow fertile fronds as shown here.  This is a bit of a misnomer as the fertile fronds do not have spore patches, they have spore pods.  It has been reported that the spore patches tend to fall off in a large patch.  It is not known the reason for this habit as is would seem single spores would be more easily carried by the wind like other platycerium species.

P. coronarium can be a difficult plant to grow in America, however I understand that when established it tends to be a tough plant that will live for along time if not over watered*.  In cool temperature locals, it is best to let the plant dry out in anticipation of colder temps and it will tolerate the cold better.  In Taiwan and Malaysia they grow in very high humidity and the temperature never drops below 80 degrees.

This photo (right) from Roy Vail illustrates the wide fertile frond version of the P. coronarium.  The shield fronds are light green and show protruding veins.  This platy appears young and may develop different characteristics as it matures.  Frequently the shield fronds are a light green in color when compared to the fertile fronds.  They are also waxy in appearance.  The margin around the bud is turned back and ruffled.

In the left photo, taken at Koo Botanical Conservation Center in Taiwan, the P. coronarium fertile fronds are very long and form a twisted mass.  They measure about 12 ft from the bud to the bottom.  They are expected to grow another 3 ft in length.  Makes us wonder if this is a unique cultivar or a product of the growing environment?

The shield fronds of the P. coronarium are very thick and corky, about 1.2 CM or 1/2 inch thick making it light weight and easy to over water.  Roy Vail suggests P. coronarium shields may tend to attract ants, which provides protein and minerals for the plants.

The spore patch is kidney shaped and found on the concave underside of the round, heart-shaped, thick stalked fertile lobe.  P. coronarium and P. ridleyi are the only two plants with separate stalked fertile lobes.  P. coronarium does not produce a spore lobe on each of the fertile fronds like P. ridleyi.


The photo right is from Phuket Botanical Garden, Thailand.  The fertile fronds are not as long as the ones in Koo Botanical Conservation Center in Taiwan.


The P. coronarium is uniquely different from other species in the growth of the rhizome.  The rhizome, back in the moss and away from the bud,  branches to the side and peaks out through the shield frond to grow a new pup.  This keeps the new pups the same distance from the ground as the mother, forming a ring of P. coronariums around the host tree.

When growing P. coronarium in cultivation, one must plan for this rhizome growth by mounting on a wire basket or on a board where the rhizome is below the board and has unobstructed room for growth.







The photo on the right illustrates how the P. coronarium form rings around it's host tree.  With the lobed shield fronds, they tend to resemble a crown. Thus the name P. coronarium.


There are reports of a dwarf P. coronarium, however there is little agreement about its traits and the smaller versions may be a result of its growing environment.  Jack Wood reports that the smaller P. coronarium in Malaysia could only catch small debris in the shield fronds and tended to be smaller plants.  The photo above from Phuket, Thailand might be considered a dwarf compared to those found at Koo Botanical Conservation Center, Taiwan.  But they are quite large for a dwarfed version.




 A beautiful P. coronarium from Facebook and
 Peterne Katai, I believe in Thailand. 


 This subject has narrow fertile fronds.  There are reports of P. coronarium
 with wide fertile fronds.  Notice the crown shape of the shield fronds which
 gives it it's name.



* Over watering may be interpreted as over chlorinating as illustrated in my water test.  My experience in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore where P. coronariums are common, there are frequent rain showers with high humidity so the plants never dry out.

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