Psilotum nudum - Whisk Fern
Psilotaceae

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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