by Chuck Nishihira
Just a small, but interesting observation in the filmy fern Trichomanes reptans that I thought I would share. This is the first filmy fern that I have noticed doing this, but from now on I will definitely pay more attention. Initially when a new frond develops in this species, the stalk is rough in texture but the development of hairs is not present (at least to the naked eye). As these stalks start to age, they do develop coarse hairs that are prominent. This hairiness will extend up into the axis (the upper part of the stalk) From here, I have found in at least 5 instances, a new rhizome will start. One that in time can be removed and a new plant started. In one case, I even had a leaf that barely developed, and stayed just a single blade. In time, it too began to become hairy and eventually produced a new rhizome. I have started pinning down all the old leaves so that they are in contact with the damp substrate. Maybe this will facilitate the formation of the rhizomes. I hope that this turns out to be a valuable way to multiply some of the filmy ferns. Trichomanes reptans while not the slowest, is a plant that I do not cut very regularly. Waiting for the main rhizome to grow enough so that I can take a cutting normally takes a lot of patience. I still have visions of a large rock covered with the beautiful T. reptans, maybe I will get there a little sooner than I thought!