Davallia fejeensis: Rabbit’s Foot Fern

Family: Davalliaceae
Common name: Rabbit’s Foot Fern, Hare’s Foot Fern, Dainty Rabbits-Foot Fern, Fijian Hares’ Foot Fern, Lacy Hare’s Foot, Lacy Paw

Rabbits foot ferns are a group of beautiful ferns that can be grown and propagated easily in home gardens. Their long fronds are about 30 cms long and 20 cms wide, broader at the base, and made up of compound leaflets that end in a blunt tip.

The stem is made up of long, brown, furry rhizomes which can attach themselves to rock crevices and tree trunks. These long stems look rabbits’ paws giving the plant its name. When planted in pots, these rhizomes grow over the edges of the pots, with attached fronds drooping gracefully along the sides.

Like all ferns, Rabbits foot ferns are epiphytic, growing on hillsides, crevices, and tree trunks absorbing moisture and nutrients from the air. They love hot, humid climate and can grow well in tropical countries.

Rabbits foot ferns prefer loose, moist soil and filtered sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can burn the edges of the leaves, whereas too little sunlight can lead to yellowing and dropping of leaves.

The popular cultivar called Davallia fejeensis Plumosa has feathery, lacy leaves that are more graceful than the broad-leaved variants. Named after Swiss botanist, Edmund Daval, these plants are native to the Fiji Islands. But their ever-green fronds and sturdy nature make these ferns garden favorites all over the world.

Mature leaves produce dark brown spots called sori underneath the leaves, that produce spores through which the plant reproduces. Once the plant is mature, most of the older leaves are dotted with brown at the tips.

When grown on the ground, Rabbits foot ferns can spread quickly, producing new plants from the rhizomes. They look exceptionally good in hanging baskets and pots with long, lacy leaves falling around the edges of the pots.

Propagation is through spores and rhizomes.