General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Fern
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 8a -12.2 °C (10 °F) to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
Plant Height: 12-18 inches
Plant Spread: 18-24 inches
Leaves: Evergreen
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Groundcover
Suitable as Annual
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Stolons and runners
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Epiphytic

Common names
  • Moa
  • Whisk Fern
  • Skeleton Fork Fern
  • Moa Nehele
  • Pipi

This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by plantladylin (Sebastian, Florida - Zone 10a) on Sep 22, 2011 6:15 PM concerning plant:
    The Whisk Fern is considered a "primitive" plant, a descendent of the first group of vascular plants. Whisk Fern grows both as a terrestrial (in soil) as well as an epiphyte (using another plant as host) and is found in subtropical and tropical areas of the world. It grows to a height of 2' with a spread of about 18" and requires an organic potting medium, warmth and humidity to do well.

    I had never seen or heard of Whisk Fern until I found them sprouting from the bottom of two of my planters a few years ago and posted photos for identification on another gardening forum. I've come to really like these little plants.
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Apr 4, 2022 3:39 PM concerning plant:
    This fern ally is found over much of the tropical and subtropical world growing in cracks of rocks, on logs, on trunks and branches of trees, and on humus. It grows as far north as coastal South Carolina in North America. Whisk-Fern does not have real leaves but tiny scale-like structures on the stem which does the photosynthesis. It does not have real roots but has a branching rhizome (underground stem) that is covered with hair-like growth (rhizoids) that acts like roots, and often gets help from some mycorrhizal fungi in the soil to absorb nutrients. Sporangia (spore bearing structures) that are rounded and yellow form on the stems. I used to have a plant that appeared in a pot where I was growing a tropical El Salvador Yucca, but somehow I did not water in time and it died after having it for several years. It also appears as a "weed" in pots in greenhouses. I think it makes a nice annual or houseplant with interesting texture, and it is botanically interesting.

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