The Bird's Nest Fern

A radiant burst of radiating green

Anything that’s been around for over 300 million years has got to be a tough old survivor.

And so it is with the ferns.

They dominated the planet during the Carboniferous period, and Australia is home to more than 400 species.

The Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium australasicum) is one of our most popular and for good reason.

The tough fronds are arranged in a radiating pattern, giving a strong, distinctive form, but the frilled edges make them happy neighbours to plants with softer habits.

They also have a small root system, making them ideal for pots as well as in-ground cultivation.

Bird’s Nest Ferns have passports from the rainforests of Queensland and New South Wales, where they grow on rocks, in the ground, or as epiphytes, depending on the conditions.

In cultivation they prefer filtered light and dry feet.

The plants in these images are on my mum’s patio. They've been thriving there forever - perhaps not since the Carboniferous, but quite a while – she’s doing something right, don’t you think?

When backlit the foliage take on an otherworldly glow, and you get a sense of the primordial secrets carried within these lovely plants.