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Java Ferns

Dave Gomberg wrote:

>>There are two of these.  A small dark leafed variety with narrow leaf and
>>short petiole, which only becomes trilobate in extreme old age, and then
>>not always, and a large broad leafed variety that is a little lighter in
>>color , has long petioles, and is very prone to produce trilobate leaves,
>>even on quite a young rhizome.
>Karen, I have got to wondering lately if these last are just Tropica
>plantlets that have grown to maturity and been sold or traded and thereby
>lost their association with the Tropica "parent"???   What do you think?

No, absolutely not.  This variety (and the small one) were available for
_years_ before the two new varieties from Tropica were "developed".  In
case you haven't heard the story, it's pretty interesting.  In both cases
('Tropica' and 'Windelov') the plants were literally "discovered" in the
Tropica green houses.  They still do not know whether they were spontaneous
mutations that occurred under culivation, or whether these varieties occur
in nature, and they collected the material without realizing it on one of
their many collecting trips.  If the 'Tropica' and 'Windelov' varieties
_are_ naturally occurring, the populations must be very small and isolated,
because they have tried to find evidence of them in the wild on return
trips, but have been unsuccessful.

One way or the other, the development of both types was serendipitous, not

Claus has told me exact locations where he has collected both the small and
the large "normal" forms.  They both occur in broad areas in the wild.
There is a possibility that the smaller, narrow leafed form, while
definitely a Microsorum, is not pteropus at all, but another species. 

Actually, since the 'Tropica' Java fern reverts to the large "plain" type
through the plantlets, it is most likely that it is a variety of the large
"normal" form, whether naturally occurring or not.  My bets are on the
small "normal" as the parent of 'Windelov', but that is pure speculation on
my part.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association