(Botanical name: Asplenium antiquum)
The Ohtaniwatari is an epiphytic fern that belongs to the spleenwort family. Its main habitat is western and southern Japan where the climate is fairly moderate. Amami must be one of the most favorable environments to this plant, because it is an area of high temperature and rainfall.
Since the Ohtaniwatari is a fern, it reproduces its kind by means of spores. You will find plenty of them, being parasitic, on tall trees in dusky forests or on rocks by mountain streams. I wonder how they take in or synthesize nourishment on such surfaces. And what keeps them from being blown off the trees during typhoons ?
It was twelve or thirteen years ago that I was given a tiny Ohtaniwatari, growing on a small rock, by an acquaintance. It had only three or four 2- centimeter-long leaves. For a while, I enjoyed watching it in a shallow flower container. But, later I moved it into a flowerpot, together with the rock. Now it has grown into a big fern with 30 to 40 giant leaves which are 1 to 1.4 meters long. It was proven that they also grow on soil.