Re:Ceratopteris thalictroides

>Olga, olga at arts_ubc.ca, wrote Fri, 1 Mar 1996:

>I have a question about my Ceratopteris thalictroides (hereafter "CT")
>plant. I started with one CT potted plant and now have 3 -- two medium
>sized and one very large. The large one, the original, has become a
>wonderful "stag-horn" type plant -- large, thick stems with a lovely
>branching structure with points, nothing that looks like a leaf. One of the
>smaller ones has wide leaves and the other has the fine leaves, as the
>original plant used to have.
>What's going on here? Is the "stag-horn" look the way CT develops as it
>ages? Does it have something to do with light, or iron? Another thing --
>when I had less iron in the water the stems would seem to rot -- they
>turned black and disentegrated -- but they would hang on by a thread and
>the leaves would not be affected. When I added more iron this happened to a
>much lesser degree. Is this normal for CT?
Ceratopteris thalictroides has broad leaves when small, but as the plant
gets bigger, the leaves become divided more and more, until they have no
flat leaf surface left at all. Even small plants whose leaves are out of
the water will produce narrow, much divided leaves.   My experience with
this plant has been that it gets too big for almost any tank, and the
leaves push up above the water level. I agree with what Stephen Pushak said
in digest # 293 about the difficulty of trimming it.  I suppose it might be
possible to cut off so many of the leaves that the base starts putting out
smaller ones.  An alternative is to replace too-large plants with smaller
plants that form on the older leaves.

This business of the older leaves dying near their attachments to the base
doesn't sound like iron deficiency.  My guess is that the improvement in
that condition was caused by something other than adding iron.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174
In sunny, soon-to-be-hot Mississippi