Platycerium - Polypodiaceae

Platycerium bifurcatum (Cav.) C.Chr.






Acrostichum bifurcatum Cav.

Common name


Rhizome much branched, obscured by fronds. Fronds dimorphous. Sterile fronds round to reniform, deeply lobed, convex, forming at maturity an almost hemispherical mass, 15-30 cm in diameter, thinly set with minute hairs, becoming glabrous with age; distal part spreading and nest-like, shallowly to deeply lobed, green, turning brown. Fertile fronds initialy semi-erect, becoming pendulous with age, up to 70 cm long, base slender and narrowly cuneate, apex irregular dichotomous, 2-4 times divided into strap-shaped, pointed ultimate lobes, up to 30 × 3 cm, green and sparsely hairy above, greyish and densely set with minute stellate hairs below. Sori acrostichoid, sporangia borne in soral areas on the ultimate lobes, covering the complete underside of the ultimate segments, sometimes extending around the sinus of first fork, covered with white stellate hairs similar to those on the lamina.


Naturalised in South Africa, an escape from cultivation.


bifurcatum: bifurcus, twice forked; referring to the division of the fertile fronds, although they might be more divided.


Mid- to high-level epiphyte in the greater Durban region.

Distribution worldwide

Naturalised in South Africa, native to Australia.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa.

Growth form



  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 542 - 543. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 162.