Platycerium Veitchii


The Platycerium veitchii is probably named for the Veitch nursery in Exeter England, founded by James Veitch in the late 18th century and run by the family until it closed in 1914.

P. veitchii, common name Silver Elkhorn is from Australia and is closely related to P. biforcatum, but is unique in several ways.  It is covered with a great amount of white hair.  The tops of the shield fronds grow into tall thin fingers.  Its fertile fronds are very upright.  You can see in the photo above the tall fingers on the shield fronds

Roy Vail suggests these traits are adaptations to the dry conditions where it is native.  It likes very high light levels for these traits to be fully shown.  If the light is less, the fertile fronds are less erect, have fewer hairs, and the fingers along the tops of the shield fronds are shorter.

In its native habitat, the P. veitchii is seen growing on rocks, near springs, in semi-arid basins in eastern Australia.  It withstands droughts of several months.

P. veitchii cv Lemoinei is sometimes offered in the trade as "green veitchii".  When compared to a regular P. veitchii the fertile fronds are much greener. The true P. veitchii is almost identical to the cultivar Lemoinei, but the Lemoinei is greener than the true P. veichii. 

There are several different cultivars of P. veitchi.  The most common is shown in photographs on this page.  There is another P. veitchii with very stiff and very narrow fertile fronds that form wide hands at the tip.  There is another with fronds that look like a P. hillii.  Both these grow in the wild in Australia.  There is also a cross between P. hillii and P. veitchii that grows round shield fronds without the typical P. veitchii tall finger shield fronds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platycerium veitchii growing on the side of a rock face in eastern Australia where the annual rainfall is quite low, about 25 inches a year..  Over watering can give P. veitchii difficulties, but it is an easy, interesting, distinctive and rugged species which forms pups freely.

One of the goals of most hobbyists growing P. viethii is obtaining the true color of P. veitchii which is from the white hair on the fertile fronds.  Second they want vertical fertile fronds.  High light, with little moisture gives the most distinctive specimens.

 

Great photo from Roy Vail's website of a Platycerium veitchii displaying the tall fingers on the shield fronds.  Looking at the shadows, it appears to be growing in full sunlight as it likes bright light.  To develop the long vertical fertile fronds bright light is needed, otherwise they will tend to droop.  This one has many pups that have formed along the base of the plant like biforcatums tend to do.  Positioned at the bottom. it is hard to grow vertical fronds.

The fertile fronds tend to have long forked fingers and wide like a P. hillii, or narrow like a biforcatum.   The desired color is bluish white because of the white hairs, but hard to achieve except in the proper environment.

Hobbyist Duke in Simi Valley cautions about too much sun burning the plant if it is not well established.  However Simi Valley gets quite warm in the summer.  Where I live is near the beach in Orange County and temps are usually below 90 degrees in the heat of the day.  The hottest days can hit 100 degrees for a week in September. I may place a shade cloth over the fern on those very hot days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Interesting photo of the bud area of a Platycerium veitchii taken from Roy Vails web site.  They look like hairs, but are described as lines on the bud scales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another photo from Roy Vail's web site.  A very young and small shield frond forming very distinctive fingers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An interesting P. veichii submitted by Denise in Florida.  Notice the color difference between the brown shield fronds and the silver fertile fronds.  The fertile fronds are very narrow as compared to the wider version pictured above.

Dona from the Los Angeles International Fern Society has a small one of these hanging on a chain in her back yard under a shade tree.  Dona's mother gave it to her.


 

 

This P. veitchii is growing in Mike Moody's garden.  Mike was President of LAIFS for 5 years and is still very active.

This beauty has long slender fertile fronds with wide forked fingers.  The shield fronds show very deep lobbing.  It is not growing in enough sunlight to develop its true silver color prized by collectors.

 

 
 
P. veitchii Mt Stewart is a new cultivar Roy Vail has suggested I should look for while touring Thailand in 2016. (I never found one)

 

 

 

 I found this photo on Facebook and posted by Adenilson Arneiro, probably in Brazil.  It is a Platycerium, veitchii cv 'Lemoinei"  Notice the number of forks on the fertile fronds.  Also notice the tips of the shield fronds.  Very impressive.  I would love to have a volunteer from this plant.  The Lemoinei is also called a green veitchii because it does not have the silver color of a true veitchii and is green as showen in this photo.

 
 

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