Cibotium schiedei

‘Mexican Tree Fern’

General Information
Planting
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Botanical Information and Overview


General Information

The name Cibotium schiedei derives from:
Cibotium – the Greek kibotion, a small box often used to hold medical remedies.
schiedei – is named in honour of Christian Schiede (1798-1836). Schiede was a German physician and botanist who was born in Kassel. Schiede emigrated to Mexico, accompanied by naturalist Ferdinand Deppe (1794-1861). Together they setup a business to collect and document new species in Mexico, the business was not profitable and ceased two years later

The common name for this tree fern is the Mexican Tree Fern.

Cibotium schiedei is a tropical species found growing in Mexico. The species grows in damp cloud and montane forests at altitudes between 1000-2000m. The species is cannot be considered fully hardy but will tolerate conditions to just below freezing for short spells of time. Mature plants have survived down to around -3°C (26F).

Cibotium schiedei is a slow growing rhizome forming fern, that overtime will develop a clump with several ‘heads’ or growing points. Overtime it will produce a prostrate trunk covered in light coloured silky hairs, with the trunk of between 3-5m (10-16ft) in height. Like many Cibotium species the plant is very slow growing, putting on only about an inch of trunk every year. Fronds can grow to reach 3m x 16cm (10ft x 6 inches) and are a light green when mature. The fronds are easily distinguished from other Cibotium species as they have elongated pinnae which give the fronds an elegant drooping appearance.

The species is common in cultivation in America, but is uncommon further afield.

Planting
Cibotium schiedei makes an excellent pot grown specimen and will grow happily inside a heated greenhouse or conservatory. Given the right conditions the specimen is also relatively easy to grow outside. The species is best planted in a damp shady position. Cibotium schiedei will tolerate other planting positions as its main requirement is a good supply of moisture. The plant will not tolerate drying out for very long, this is especially important with pot grown specimens. I would recommend planting in a plastic pot to reduce water loss. If growing in a ceramic or terracotta pot line the pot with plastic and punch drainage holes at the bottom.

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Botanical Information and Overview

Family Name: Dicksoniaceae

Genus: Cibotium

Species: schiedei

Common Names: Mexican Tree Fern.

Position: Partial shade.

Soil: Humus-rich, neutral to acid soil.

Growth Rate: slow.

Eventual spread: 6m.

Max Height: 5m.

Hardiness: Half hardy.

Summer tips: Keep the plant damp at all times..