Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Kangaroo Fern
Microsorum pustulatum

Family: Polypodiaceae
Genus: Microsorum (my-kroh-SOR-um) (Info)
Species: pustulatum (pus-tew-LAY-tum) (Info)

Synonym:Microsorum diversifolium

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive RosinaBloom On Feb 20, 2013, RosinaBloom from Waihi
New Zealand (Zone 1) wrote:

Microsorum pustulatum, also known as Hound's Tongue and Kowaowao, is native to Australia and New Zealand, and common in our coastal and montane areas. It is also common on all the three main islands, subantarctic islands, and on the Chatham islands. It is often epiphytic (growing on trees) usually in slightly drier areas. The glossy green fronds which vary in shape, are uncut and strapped in young plants, and once-cut on mature plants. They spread by fragmentation of the green and brown large, hairy rhizomes. Hound's Tongue Fern coming from the likened shape of a dog's tongue.

Positive mswestover On Oct 3, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I mostly water it once a week. Under drifting shade in a pot. I bring it into the garage in winter. Lizards love to hide in it; when I water it they come scrambling out. Zone 9a, NE Florida

Neutral bekados On Jan 1, 2007, bekados from Pensacola, FL wrote:

The roots of my fern have a delicious almost tarragon fragrance.

Positive hanna1 On Oct 28, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Is epiphytic, glossy, bright green fronds, can vary in shape and size. Easy to grow, well-drained potting mix. best use 1 part course sand/ 1 part pine bark/ 1 part peat moss, and charcoal/ can use bone meal 1 tbs to 3 parts mix. do not let dry completely. Restrict watering somewhat in winter, keep at 50-60F. rhizones best divided Feb-march.

Positive broozersnooze On Sep 16, 2003, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've had one of these living outside for about 18 months now. Our temps dip down into the 20's & sometimes the teens but do not remain there for more than several hours. This plant did very well.

This spring I divided it into 4 parts - one going back into the hanging basket which gets a good dose of afternoon sun. It has already outgrown the basket. I'm hoping I won't have to divide it again until the spring.

The other sections were planted into a chunk of hollow oak along with some bromeliads in an area that doesn't get as much sun & they have not done as well.

Positive kennedyh On Mar 13, 2003, kennedyh from Churchill, Victoria
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

This fern is a climber of the wetter forests in South-Eastern Australia, often climbing on the stems of Soft Tree Ferns, Dicksonia antarctica. It's name of Kangaroo Fern, refers to the shape of the fronds. On a young plant, the fronds are unbranched, but eventually develop multiple broad pinnae. There is an intermediate stage, where some of the fronds have a single branch pinna on one side only. This frond shape then resembles a kangaroo's footprint, which has one long toe and one slighly shorter toe beside it. I pegged a piece of Kangaroo Fern, to the stem of my Soft Tree Fern some years ago, and it has thrived there ever since, now wrapping itself several times round the tree fern stem, and regularly producing spores, although no new plants have arisen. I water the tree fern stem in summer to keep it moist.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Arley, Alabama
Conway, Arkansas
Castro Valley, California
Hayward, California
Stockton, California
Bartow, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Miami, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Conway, South Carolina
Monterey, Tennessee
Houston, Texas

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