Belvisia

Belvisia (from Belvisius, the Latinized name of Palisot de Beauvois, 1752-1820, a French explorer who specialized in grasses) is a genus of eight species primarily from India, China, and the tropics.

Belvisia spicata growing from its mount on a shingle. To the left is a watchful little Ifugao tribal territorial marker (a hogang) carved from a tree fern trunk. The single fern frond at the upper right belongs to a small, tropical montane form of Nephrolepis cordifolia that arrived as a stowaway, and the fern at the lower right is Christella dentata, which sails around the tropical-subtropical world as spores and settles into open soil or greenhouse cranny as graceful greenery anywhere you might want it, a weed where not welcome. Photo by George Schenk.

Belvisia spicata is quite a lot of fun for its nudey, possum-tail-like attachment, a foot (30 cm) or more long, at the end of each simple frond. The underside of the tail is heavily coated with cinnamon-colored spores. Similar to B. mucronata, a species described in Encyclopaedia of Ferns (Jones 1987), B. spicata is native to old duff-covered tree branches in Malaysia, tropical Africa, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Queensland, New Caledonia, Luzon, Fiji, and Tahiti. I grow it on a shingle of tree fern wood in morning sun and afternoon shade, where it is watered every day in warm sunny weather and is fertilized every couple of weeks along with the rest of the fern-shingle garden (78 orchids, ferns, and others hung on a screen of bamboo-like runo grass) using a 15-15-30 wettable powder with added trace elements well diluted. (Description by George Schenk.)

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