Subordinate Taxa
Scientific Name:
Platycerium Desv., Mém. Soc. Linn. Paris 6: 213 (1827)
Type Taxon:
Platycerium alicorne Desv.
From the Greek platys (flat or broad), and keras (a horn), a reference to the fertile fronds ressembling the horns of a stag.

Epiphytic ferns. Rhizomes short-creeping, terete, lacking cavities, not pruinose, scaly. Rhizome scales non-clathrate, chaffy. Fronds dimorphic; basal fronds sterile, cordate, overlapping, appressed, entire or variously lobed, becoming brown with age, forming a ‘nest’ or ‘basket’; upper foliage fronds sterile or fertile, articulated to rhizome, dichotomously branched, strap-like, coriaceous, covered with stellate hairs. Major veins dichotomously branched; minor veins reticulate; areoles with or without free included veinlets; hydathodes absent. Sporangia in dense patches on various parts of the abaxial lamina surface; paraphyses present as stellate hairs; exindusiate. Spores monolete, bilaterally symmetrical, plain to tuberculate.


A genus of about 18 species (Hennipman & Roos 1982Bostock & Spokes 1998; PPG 1 2016).


Pantropical with one species in South America, six in Africa and Madagascar, eight in south-east Asia, and four in Australia. One species casual in New Zealand.

Number of species in New Zealand within Platycerium Desv.
Exotic: Casual1
Bostock, P.D.; Spokes, T.M. 1998: Polypodiaceae. In: Flora of Australia. Vol. 48. 468–495.
Brownsey, P.B.; Parris, B.S.; Perrie, L.R. 2021: Polypodiaceae. In: Breitwieser, I. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 1. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Brownsey, P.J.; Perrie, L.R. 2015: Polypodiaceae (excluding Notogrammitis). In: Breitwieser, I; Heenan, P.B.; Wilton, A.D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 1. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Desvaux, N.A. 1827: Prodrome de la famille des fougères. Mémoires de la Société Linnéenne de Paris 6: 171–337.
Heenan, P.B.; de Lange, P.J.; Cameron, E.K.; Ogle, C.C.; Champion, P.D. 2004: Checklist of dicotyledons, gymnosperms, and pteridophytes naturalised or casual in New Zealand: additional records 2001–2003. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42: 797–814.
Hennipman, E.; Roos, M.C. 1982: A monograph of the fern genus Platycerium (Polypodiaceae). Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afd. Natuurkunde Series 2, 80: 1–126.
PPG 1 2016: A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 54(6): 563–603.