Platycerium Grande

 

 

Two spore patches per fertile frond

     
Originally P. grande and P. superbum were considered the same plant.  Then in 1970 Joncheere and Hennipman separated them into two separate species.  The plants from the Philippines were called P. grande and the plants native to Australia were given the name P. superbum.  The plants are similar, but there are unique differences in the two species.

I have a platy in the back yard obtained in the 1970s that is still only 12 inches tall and even though it is labeled P. grande, the platy has not matured enough to recognize the different characteristics between P. grande and P. superbum.  It was recently relocated to a better location in the back yard and in 6 months it has almost doubled in size.  Today the trade only seems to sell P. superbum which may be easier to grow.  P. grande is very difficult to locate in the trade.

Roy Vail reports in 1980 that the native growing area for P. grande is being destroyed by slash-and-burn clearing.  Possibly today the P. grande may be in danger of becoming extinct .

     
The P. superbum shown on the right is on the cover of the April 2015 issue of the LAIFS Journal and has grown in Southern California on a palm tree.  Recently the tree was removed and the platy was relocated to the Huntington Library.  This very large example of P. superbum appears to be almost 20 ft tall.  It's shown here to illustrate the difference in the dangling fronds below the spore patch lobs.  The P. grande (above) dangling fronds appear to be much narrower then the P. superbum.

The P. grande is generally considered difficult to grow, whereas the P. superbum is very tolerant of full sun and can tolerate temp down to freezing.  There are reports of the fertile fronds of P. superbum getting a sunburn on the spore patch lobes.

 

Comparison P. grande, P. superbum, P. holttumii, P. wandae

Species

P. grande

P. superbum

P. holttumii

P. wandae

Common Name

Grande

Superbum

Holttumii

Queen Staghorn

Temp Range

40 to 90 F*

 30 to 95 F

60 to 100 F
***

60 to 100 F
***

Number of fertile fronds with lobes Many, divided ** Many,
not divided
Many with
two lobes
Many with
two lobes
No. Spore Patches

 Two  per Lobe

One per lobe

One per lobe

One per lobe

Spore Patch shape

Equal size

Oval/triangular

1 small elevated
1 large lower

1 small elevated
1 large lower

Frill around bud

No

Yes

No

Yes

Volunteer Pups

No

No

No

No

Native to:

Philippines

Australia

SE Asia

New Guinea

Growing environment

50% shade cloth

50% shade cloth Greenhouse Greenhouse

* The temp range of the P. grande is probably close to the P. superbum but not quite as cold tolerant.

** Frequently the first fertile frond of P. grande may be undivided with only one spore patch.  As the plant matures a second divided lobe with 2 spore patches sill develop.

*** Unconfirmed data

     

 

 

 

Two P. grande photos, each platy displays divided lobes with equal size spore patches on each half of the divided lobe.  The left photo has a pencil on the right lobe to suggest size.

 

     

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