Psilotum nudum - Whisk Fern

Psilotum nudum

Psilotum nudum is an epiphyte that sometimes grows as a terrestial plant in rocky crevices in sandy soils. It is considered a fern ally because it is a spore-producing vascular plant. Whisk fern is native to swamplands and dry rocky cliffs from North Carolina to Oklahoma to the tropics.

Culture: Psilotum nudum is easy to culture, requiring a humus rich potting mixture (2 parts peat moss or leaf mold to 2 parts coarse sand to 1 part loam). The plants should be kept moist, but can withstand a fair amount of drought. The plant responds well to a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label once a month. Since whisk ferns do not flower (they are not flowering plants, after all), the spores are produced in large, solitary sporangia born on bractlike or leaflike lateral appendages.

Propagation: Psilotum nudum is propagated by division or by spores. Division can be done at anytime of the year. Spores can take up to 1 year to germinate and must be kept in the dark.

Psilotum nudum was featured as Plant of the Week November 12-18, 1999.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.