UMBRELLA FERN: A NEW ORNAMENTAL CROP
Umbrella fern (Sticherus flabellatus, S. lobatus and putative hybrids) is an attractive cut-foliage plant that provides a popular premium product in world floriculture markets. The common name arises from its unique umbrella-like fronds, with the species providing the only fern foliage product that has a circular frond perpendicular to the stem. Umbrella fern is currently bush harvested from the understorey of Eucalyptus forests in Australia. After more than 20 years of export to Europe, umbrella fern remains one of the most distinctive products available in the cut-foliage sector of the floriculture industry. However, harvesting of umbrella fern from natural populations is being discontinued. Sustainable supply of umbrella fern foliage will rely on domesticating the species. Propagation and cultivation of umbrella fern have not been successful previously. However, we have developed highly successful vegetative propagation methods for umbrella fern. Our successful propagation methods will accelerate the transition from the current practice of bush harvesting to a sustainable harvest from intensively-managed plantations. To date, over an acre of umbrella fern is under artificial cultivation. Further to this, new whole-plant fern products have been developed for the nursery industry with umbrella fern now available as a new ornamental crop.
Rigby, E.M. and Trueman, S.J. (2015). UMBRELLA FERN: A NEW ORNAMENTAL CROP. Acta Hortic. 1097, 221-226
floriculture, foliage, Gleicheniaceae, rhizomes, propagation, Sticherus