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Re: Re: Filmy ferns and wardian cases

  • Subject: Re: [ferns] Re: Filmy ferns and wardian cases
  • From: "John Hawkins" john.hawkins@blechnum.net
  • Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 16:44:30 -0100

Thanks for your comments, Betsy and Brian. I kept filmy ferns in clear plastic containers in my early and mid-teens, on the window sill of my bedroom ( a boarded-up porch on the shady side of the house - not particularly comfortable, but it was my patch and great for my fern experiments ). I think that most lasted two to three years before mold took over.

I have a few aquariums and Brian's comment about regular spraying has got me wondering if I might use an air pump, air stone and a small pond of rainwater in the bottom of a large glass jar ( or even a small aquarium ), to create enough splash to clean the fronds of ferns growing beside or above the pond. It would be easy to regulate using a timer and I should be able to get away with siphoning out the water at intervals and replacing it with new rainwater. 

We had a small stand of regrowth Totora on the home farm, and there were filmy ferns growing on many of the trunks of the trees. These dried out completely on a regular basis, but quickly revived once it rained again. It would have been an interesting species to cultivate. It was a different situation on the farm we had at the head the valley - with an annual rainfall >3000m and low cloud much of the rest of the time, the bush was heaving with filmy ferns.


>  -------Original Message-------
>  From: Betsy Feuerstein <ecuador@midsouth.rr.com>
>  Subject: Re: [ferns] Re: Filmy ferns and wardian cases
>  Sent: 10 Apr '06 13:20
>  I have had remarkably good results getting filmy ferns to live in small
>  and big containers. I use a soilless mix for the medium. I may add some
>  charcoal or not and I keep it closed by using a good quality of Saran
>  wrap. The lighter weight sarans have a far greater air exchange and the
>  terrariums seemed to dry out very fast, ie. death. I use Saran so I can
>  dampen the outer surface and press the Saran onto the wet area to make a
>  seal keeping the moisture in. I put the containers either under lights
>  or on a window ledge. I try to not let the containers be in a situation
>  where the heat builds up like in a greenhouse, ie. avoid direct sun if
>  possible. I have done this for years using round fish bowls and regular
>  aquariums. I prefer a glass surface to a plastic because the Suran
>  sticks and seals better. A mister bottle is a good way to water. I have
>  some I have not opened for years and others tend to need water from time
>  to time. You can also use good closing zip-lock bags when desperate.
>  Good luck. Betsy
>  Brian Swale wrote:
>  >John wrote
>  >  
>  >
>  >>I've had what looks suspiciously like a filmy fern appear in in one of my older
>  >>gametophyte pots. I sowed the pot over four years ago with mixed filmy fern
>  >>spore I had collected just over a week previously on one of my trips to New
>  >>Zealand ( where I grew up ). The pot lives in a plastic bag and this is the
>  >>first sporeling from that sowing that has a filmy fern look about it. The bush
>  >>on my parents' farm was carpeted with various filmy ferns, so I'd like to think
>  >>I've a reasonable chance of being able to recognise one when I see it.
>  >>
>  >>Does anybody have any suggestions on how to deal with filmy ferns? The humidity
>  >>here in Sweden is far too low most of the time, so I'm considering setting up a
>  >>Wardian Case using a small aquarium to house the fern. I've got a coolish corner
>  >>under some stairs and a short distance from a window on the shady side of the
>  >>house lined up for the case. A small leafy liverwort has appeared in the same
>  >>pot, so that'll probably end up there as well. I am a bit worried about mold, is
>  >>there anything else I should be watching out for?
>  >>
>  >>The fern seems quite happy where it is, so I'm not going to rush things - it
>  >>only needs one failure to wipe out my entire stock of the fern.
>  >>
>  >>cheers, John.
>  >>    
>  >>
>  >
>  >I have used a variety of small air-tight containers for high-humidity ferns, with
>  >mixed success, and usually ultimate failure.  Even large perspex containers
>  >in the end resulted in failure, for a variety of  reasons.
>  >
>  >It is very easy to fail to maintain the cultures. They are easy to overlook.
>  >Neglect is another name for it ;-((
>  >
>  >In nature, they are regularly washed by rain to remove slime moulds and the
>  >like, and this doesn't happen in small terraria or Wardian cases. Also, in
>  >nature they have a plentiful supply of fresh air, and that is usually not what
>  >applies in a case.
>  >
>  >I suppose it would be possible to make a case that provided for spray
>  >irrigation and took away the overflow - leachate.
>  >
>  >Another aspect is the usual difficulty of keeping the glass etc clean. Often
>  >this gets covered with green algae. Usually these cases are difficult to get at
>  >the interior of.
>  >
>  >Many of the NZ species can take bright light for 30 minutes+  per day.
>  >
>  >Remember that many of the NZ species grow pendant from the trunks of tree
>  >ferns where they may get dried a little during daylight hours. They are fussy
>  >about their specific requirements though.
>  >
>  >Which reminds me; about the culture of Psilotum nudum. I have found that in
>  >a house it is quite capable of invading pots of other genera; tuberous
>  >Begonia, Nephrolepus, and so on, The spore floats around with great ease.
>  >
>  >The prothalli of this species and probably of Lycopodium spp live a
>  >subterranean life. The discovery and scientific work on them was done by a
>  >Rev. Holloway in the 1800's who botanised in his spare time..
>  >
>  >Brian
>  >
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