Turnip fern is a highly variable species that has been split by some botanists into as many as 100 distinct species[
Polypodium evectum G.Forst.
Common Name: Turnip Fern
Turnip fern is a large and very primitive fern with fronds up to 5 metres long[
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for local use as a food and source of essential oil.
Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[
Tropical areas of the Pacific in Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Deep shade of the forest floor, usually near a stream or within a drainage channel where it often becomes submerged[
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A plant of the moister lowland tropics, in areas of very high rainfall[
Requires a moist, humus rich soil and a position in moderate to deep shade[
]. Requires an acid soil[
The plant has a massive rhizome that can be up to 1 metre in diameter[
The pith of the plant is rich in starch and is used as a source of food by native people[
An essential oil is obtained from the plant[
]. It is used to perfume coconut oil[
Spores. A mycorrhizal association is believed to be necessary for germination. The spores should be either sown on soil obtained from around the roots of an established plant, or the spores should be sown around the base of a plant[
Division of offsets - these are produced at the base of the ligules. Use a sharp knife and cut them from close to the rhizome of the parent plant and half bury them in a 50/50 mix of moist peat and sand. Keep in a moist environment (such as a closed frame) until buds and then roots and shoots develop, which c take several months. Pot each plant up in its entirity and plant out when fully established.
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