Known as the ‘Oil Fern’ or ‘Cobalt Blue Fern’ this species from South East Asia is a striking example of iridescence in ferns. Actually there are several genera and many species of metallic ferns in both the Old and New World tropics. Many have similar habits and habitats; epiphytic or lithophytic in moderate to deep shaded understory habitats.
This species is a limestone lithophyte found mainly on the Malaysian Peninsula. The half inch to nearly inch wide leaves are leathery, glossy and grow in clusters on short rhizomes. The leaves can reach up to 16 inches in length though often remain smaller for a long time as it is a fairly slow grower.
In cultivation it requires high humidity and moderate light and warmth. Good drainage in the root zone is essential, though the plant does not like to go completely dry. Mounting, growing in a hanging basket or pot are all acceptable as long as the general conditions are met. Not a fussy fern to grow, but attention to some details will insure success. Pure water is advised as well as regular fertilization with an organic blend.
These plants are grown from divisions of original wild stock, NOT the tissue cultured plants available a few years back.