Characteristics of the polypodium: native area of distribution, etymology of the name, cultivation of a centipede, recommendations for reproduction, curious facts, species. The centipede (Polypodium) belongs by scientists to the genus of ferns belonging to the family of the Centipede (Polypodiaceae), or as they are also called Polypodiae. All representatives of this genus are found in the lands of South America, the Australian continent, New Zealand and India, where there is a tropical or subtropical climate. They love to grow in humid areas. In this genus, botanists have up to a hundred varieties.
If we take into account the name in Russian "centipede", it is a translation from the Latin Polypodium, which is formed by the merger of two Greek words poly and podium, meaning "many" and "leg", respectively. This name of the plant can be found even in Theophastus (about 70 BC - between 288 BC and 285 BC) of the ancient Greek naturalist and philosopher, this is how this prominent scientist called the unknown at that time a fern whose rhizome was very much like a human foot. But you can often hear how this fern bears the name "polypodium" referring to a simple transliteration of the Latin name.
The plant is an epiphyte, that is, it grows on the trunks or branches of trees, attaching itself to them with its roots-"legs". In rare cases, the centipede can be terrestrial grass. The rhizome is thick, creeping, its surface is covered with scales. Leaf plates, or as they are also called by ferns, vayami - articulated, have elongated petioles and originate on the upper side of the rhizome. They grow in two rows. The surface of the leaf plate is bare, dense, its outlines are pinnately-divided or pinnately-dissected, but occasionally it can grow whole, the final veins are located on parts freely or they can merge. Often, the leaves remain to winter for the winter, but there are deciduous varieties. Dying off the leaf stalks, they leave scars on the stem and also because of this, the people called the fern "centipede". Some species of polypodium have rather small foliage, the length of which does not exceed 10 cm, but in many species these parameters are close to half a meter.
The centipede, like many representatives of ferns, possesses sori - a group of spores or organs of asexual reproduction, which are crowded together on the back of the leaf lobes. Sori of this plant are large, rounded, devoid of veils. They can be easily seen near the tips of the leaves or from the side on the back of the plate. The color of the sporangia (the organ through which the spores are produced) is yellow-orange. However, when grown indoors, centipede spores rarely form.
If the conditions of care are not violated, then the polypodium can delight the owners for many years, while throwing out several dissected wai annually. The centipede is planted in floor vases and pots (hanging flowerpots). Florists decorate large rooms, winter gardens, halls and home greenhouses with it.
Agrotechnology for growing centipedes indoors
- Lighting and location. The plant feels good in bright light, but shaded from direct sunlight. A place on the window sill of the window "looking" to the east is suitable, in the western location up to 16 hours in the summer months it will be necessary to arrange shading from harmful ultraviolet radiation. A place is also suitable on the northern window, but then in winter you will need phytolamp illumination.
- Air temperature when leaving behind the fern, it should be roomy year-round, since the plant is thermophilic. In the spring and summer within 20-24 degrees, and in the autumn-winter months at least 16 units, optimally 18-20. With increasing temperatures, spraying is carried out more often.
- Air humidity when growing, the centipede should be elevated, which will be similar to the natural growing conditions of the fern. Therefore, it is recommended to frequently spray the leaves of the plant. Ideal moisture parameters should be around 60%. Do not place the polypodium next to radiators, heaters or radiators. If another location is not possible, then you will have to regularly put a generously moistened towel on them and change it when it dries. This rule especially applies to the heating season. You can put household humidifiers or steam generators next to the millipede.
- Watering. During the active growing season (spring and summer), it is recommended to moisten the soil immediately after the top layer of the substrate dries up. Watering at this time should be abundant. With the arrival of the autumn-winter months, the moisture content is reduced to moderate, but the soil should not dry out to the state of dust. In no case should the low humidity in the room be compensated for with abundant and frequent watering. It is recommended to use only soft and warm water with a temperature of 20-24 degrees. Such water should not contain lime, fluorine or chlorine. You can use collected rainwater or river water, but today it is difficult to be sure of its purity, therefore experienced florists use distilled water.
- Fertilizers polypodium should be applied from May to the end of summer days. Regularity - every 14 days. Use preparations for indoor decorative deciduous plants, the dosage is not exceeded.
- Transplant and soil selection. A change of pot and substrate is carried out every year in the spring. Holes should be made in the bottom of the pot to drain excess liquid. Then it is recommended to pour a drainage layer (expanded clay or pebbles) about 1–2 cm into the container. When transplanted into the ground, the roots are not deeply buried, but only pressed into the soil and sprinkled a little with it from above. The planting container is taken wide and not deep. The substrate is selected slightly acidic. The soil mixture should consist of coniferous soil, leafy and humus soil, small pieces of pine bark or coconut substrate (in a ratio of 1: 2: 1: 1).
DIY steps for breeding polypodium
To get a fern with luxurious foliage, you can sow spores, divide an overgrown bush, or plant cuttings.
It is best to divide the mother bush during transplantation so that the plant does not undergo unnecessary stress. The centipede is carefully removed from the pot and examined before dividing. Here it is important to pay attention to the formed small rosettes of leaves in the root zone from which fronds grow. When dividing, you must use a sharpened knife. Delenki are cut from the mother bush of the polypodium, with part of the roots, a rosette with 2-3 leaves. If this rule is violated, then the resulting small specimens will become ill and you can lose them all. The signal that the fern is ready for division is the presence of at least 5–6 developed leaf plates.
Then the sections of each part are sprinkled with crushed charcoal or activated carbon for disinfection and planting is carried out in separate pre-prepared pots with drainage at the bottom and a suitable substrate. After planting the delenki, the centipedes are wrapped in a plastic bag or a glass jar is placed on top to create the conditions for a mini-greenhouse. At first, until the adaptation takes place, centipedes should not be put in place with bright lighting, shaded, with room temperature (20-24 degrees) will do. With such care, daily ventilation and moistening of the soil is needed if it has dried out. When young polypodiums adapt and take root, they are rearranged in a place with diffused lighting and care is carried out as for an adult specimen.
Reproduction using spores is a difficult process, especially at home, since the centipede does not form the necessary planting material. At the time when the color of the sporangia on the back side of the vai becomes brown, the leaf is cut off and placed in an airtight bag for drying. After 7 days, when the leaf dries up, the spores will fall to the bottom of the bag. It is important to remember here that the germination rate of such spores in room conditions is practically zero, since it is impossible to recreate all natural processes.
Peat soil is poured onto a brick placed in a plastic container. Disputes must be dispersed onto the peat surface, without deepening or pressing into the substrate. A little water is poured into the container, but so that its edge does not reach the edge of the brick by 0.5–1 cm. The container is then covered with plastic wrap or a transparent lid to create a mini-greenhouse environment. When germinating spores, bottom heating is required. It is recommended to ensure that the amount of water in the container is always the same.
After a while, the surface of the peat will be covered with moss, and after a week or two you can see young polypodiums. When the millipede seedlings become 5 cm in height, you can dive into individual pots.
This fern can be propagated using layering. Unlike the method of division, this method of reproduction does not pose a threat of loss of the mother polypodium bush. When the time comes to activate the growth of the centipede (May-June), then the extreme frond of the plant must be slightly incised in the central part and tilted to the soil surface. In the place of the incision, the sheet plate is sprinkled with a layer of substrate. In order for the sheet to be reliably pressed to the ground, it is recommended to secure it with a hairpin or wire. The centipede is being taken care of as usual.
After a while, root shoots are formed at the site of the cut on the frond. For this process to be successful, it will be necessary to carry out abundant moistening of the soil in a pot with regular fertilizing. From time to time, you can carefully check whether the roots have appeared on the layer. After a fairly strong root system is formed, the new plant is separated from the mother bush.
It is important to note that strong leaf plates with a bright color and no obvious damage are selected for use as layering.
Diseases and pests of centipedes, methods of dealing with them
If the growing conditions become unfavorable, for example, the air humidity rises too much or the heat indices decrease, then the leaf plates of the polypodium begin to turn yellow, spotting appears on their surface, the color turns pale, they curl and even fly around. The tips of the foliage begin to dry out with irregular watering or the humidity level has dropped very much. The foliage of a centipede can turn yellow even with a low level of insolation, especially if the fern pot becomes too small during the period of activation of the growing process.
With such disturbances in the cultivation of polypodiums (lowering humidity and rising temperatures), damage by harmful insects can begin, among which spider mites and scutes are distinguished. At the first signs - a thin cobweb on the leaf plates or dark brown plaques on the back of the leaf lobes, it is recommended to “shower” wai. The water should be warm, and it is also necessary to raise the humidity in the room.
It is recommended to spray the millipede leaves with insecticidal preparations, for example, 0, 15% and actellic, when the agent (1-2 ml) is diluted in a liter of water. The treatment is repeated until the complete destruction of pests and their waste products.
Curious facts about polypodium
It is interesting that in Germany the centipede is called "sweet root", all this because the rhizome contains a certain amount of malic acid, as well as glucose and saponins.
However, some species of polypodium at this time have already been attached by botanical scientists to its closest "relative" of the planet's flora - the genus Phlebodium, the species of which "flaunt" with a lush crown and medicinal properties.
A variety of the common millipede (Polypodium vulgare), it is used not only as a decorative decoration of premises, but the plant has medicinal properties. Rhizomes of this species are even included in the pharmacopoeial lists of the Netherlands and are widely used in homeopathy due to their expectorant, emollient properties. Also, due to its ability to have an analgesic effect, it can be used to relieve headaches, manifestations of gout, symptoms of gastrolgia and arthrolgia. Also, having made compresses based on the rhizome, you can apply them for bruises. A similar agent works as an anti-inflammatory drug, as well as an antiseptic, diuretic and choleretic, diaphoretic and laxative. On the lands of Bulgaria, decoctions and tinctures from rhizomes are usually taken for bronchopneumonia, and in England for epilepsy.
The essential oil obtained from the rhizomes of the polypodium is used in Indian medicine as a laxative, in veterinary medicine - with the naivety of cysticercosis in pigs and ruminants.
Leaf plates can be used as an expectorant, and with their help the appetite is raised and dermatoses are cured. On the lands of the Caucasus, decoctions based on them are used as an antitumor agent and for arthralgia.
Important! It should not be forgotten that the centipede is a poisonous plant.
Types of polypodium
- Common centipede (Polypodium vulgare), also called "Sweet fern". The native area of distribution falls on the lands of the temperate climatic zone in the Northern Hemisphere, most often for its distribution it chooses forest, mountain-forest, subalpine, and even mountain-tundra areas. You can find this species in many places in the temperate belt of the Southern Hemisphere. He loves places in rocky crevices and on mossy stones, can settle on scree and under a forest canopy. It is the only epiphytic specimen of ferns that grows in the territory of central Russia. The plant has evergreen foliage and short stature, leaf plates with a leathery surface and a finger-shaped complex shape. In length, they can reach 20 cm. The arrangement of sori is two-row, along the central vein. From the very beginning, their shade is golden, but over time it becomes darker. Maturation of spores occurs in the first half of the summer season. The creeping rhizome is covered with scales of golden-brown color, it has a sweetish taste (hence the second name) and is popularly called "sweet root".
- Centipede golden or Polypodium golden (Polypodium aureum) is a "native" from South America and the Australian continent. The variety is the most common in indoor culture. It has highly decorative fronds with a pinnate shape. The color of the leaves is bluish, there is a waxy coating on the surface, which serves as protection against pests and low humidity in the room. The length of the sheet plate is approaching a meter. Its rhizome is covered with a large number of hairs of a golden brown or red hue. There are varietal species derived from the golden centipede, such as Cristatum, Glaucum crispum, Glaucum and the most popular Mandaianum, which has a wavy leaf edge.
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