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Platycerium coronarium (J. Koenig ex O. F. Müll.) Desv.

Family Name: Polypodiaceae
Synonyms:  Platycerium biforme Blume.
Common Name: Staghorn Fern, Crown Staghorn, Stag's Horn Fern, Disc Stag's Horn Fern, Elkhorn Fern, Semum Bidadari, Rumah Langsuyar, Paku Langsuyar, 皇冠鹿角蕨

Platycerium coronarium or Staghorn Fern is an epiphytic fern that can grow to 3 m long and 1.5 wide. It has two types of fronds; the sterile nest fronds and fertile foliage fronds. The nest fronds are shaped into a crown-like baskets while the foliage fronds hang underneath are pendulous, dividing several times forming a net-like structure. Once mature enough, the foliage frond produce a semi-circular lobe coated with brown coloured sporangia (spore bearing structures). This native fern is often perched upper branches of mature trees, sheltered by their large canopy or mounted on fern root slabs in cultivation.

Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Occasional Misting Native to Singapore Herb & Spice Interiorscape / Indoor Plant Ornamental Foliage Shallow Media ferns and allies Epiphyte


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Ferns & Allies (Non-Seed Vascular Plants) (Fern)
Plant Growth Form Epiphyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 3 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 1.5 m


Native Distribution Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, West and Central Malesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Common)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Large epiphytic fern (up to 3m long by 1.5m across when fully grown), with short and fleshy branched rhizome hidden in basin formed by upper fronds.
Foliage Plant produces 2 types of fronds. Infertile nest-fronds are fan-shaped and topped by erect lobed 'fingers', growing together to form crown-like basket to trap leaf detritus from host tree. New nest-fronds successively produced on the outside to replace aged fronds, which die and curl up to grip the leaf litter inside. Fern's roots grow into this mass of decaying leaves for moisture and nutrients. Fertile fronds are narrowly linear and long (up to 2 m), limply pendulous, bifurcating repeatedly to form hanging net-like structure below nest-fronds. Underside of frond holds semi-circular ear-like lobes densely coated with brown sporangia (sacs with reproductive spores). Aged fertile fronds are shed from fern.
Habitat Found perched on upper branches of mature trees (especially those with wide spreading crowns and sparser foliage) in lowland rainforests, mangrove forests and along roadsides.
Associated Flora Closely associated with Ophioglossum pendulum (Adder's Tongue Fern), whose spores develop in the nest-fronds of Staghorn, and draws nutrients from the host-fern via a fungus intermediary, until it emerges with long ribbon-like fronds that descend from the host-fern.
Associated Fauna Plant is known to die off naturally after a few years, and dead nest-fronds continue to serve as habitat for other ferns, as well as snakes and rats.
Cultivation Can be mounted directly on tree branches / trunks, or tied to fern root slabs. Suitable for semi-shady to full sun sites. Prefers well-drained conditions, so allow 'nest' to dry out before watering. Feed with slow-release fertilizers like fish emulsion, or use potassium-rich banana peels (place whole or cut up peel amongst the nest-fronds). Propagate by spores.
Etymology Genus epithet Platycerium derived from Greek terms 'platys' (broad) and 'keras' (horn), a reference to the antler-like nest-fronds. Species epithet 'coronarium' means 'crown', describing how the nest-fronds are arranged.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice)
[Others]: Ashes used in Malay folk medicine as body-rub to treat enlarged spleen.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Shallow Media (8 -10cm)
Landscape Uses General, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Vertical Greenery / Green Wall
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Grows as an epiphyte on tree branches or fern root slabs.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Wind)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Occasional Misting
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Pruning No pruning required
Diseases May be susceptible to scale insects.
Propagation Method Spore
Maintenance Requirements Remarks Known to die back naturally after a few years.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Basal
Foliar Attachment to Stem Sessile
Foliar Shape(s)
Foliar Venation Dichotomous
Foliar Margin Entire

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Acaulescent
Root Type
Specialised Storage Organ(s)

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Plant Sexuality (non-Angiosperm) Monoecious
Reproductive Mode (non-Angiosperm)



Hovenkamp, P.H. (1998). Polypodiaceae. Flora Malesiana - Series 2, Pteridophyta, 3(1), pp. 1 - 234. 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (continuously updated). Plants of the World Online | Kew Science. Accessed 13 January 2022.

Image Repository



Master ID 266
Species ID 1562
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 13 January 2022.