My Favorite Plant...This Week

For my (late) contribution to the Favorite Plant This Week meme, I had been thinking of extolling the virtues of one of my rex begonias, as I have two that have performed extremely well (much better than the ones I used to try to rescue from Fred Meyers, but that's another story) and are quite fetching. However, surveying my collection late Friday night (Is there a better way to spend a Friday night?) I noticed my "special" fern and remembered my excitement when I selected it from a tray of heart fern (Hemionitis arifolia). That memory brought a fond, genuine, and somewhat rueful, smile to my face after a day of wearing a mostly fake, screw-on smile.
How can you not grin when faced with this lovely little fern?

I think that merits its own post, so my favorite plant this week is a Doryopteris fern that I found growing in a pot of heart fern. Of course in my naivete I thought at first that it was a heart fern that was developing crested fronds. (What the posh call fasciation. Fascinating, no?) It wasn't until later, after doing a little online sleuthing, that I discovered it was a different fern entirely. Thus my slightly rueful smile. I'm calling this my cuckoo fern.

I just love the fronds, not like the classic fern shape everyone thinks of at the word, "fern."

I'm not exactly sure which species it is, but I believe it is most likely Doryopteris palmata. If anyone should stumble upon this post and knows better, I would be pleased to benefit from an expert ID! Together with the much smaller and less vigorous heart fern, this sneaky beauty resides in a large punch bowl-turned-dish garden with a Breynia disticha 'Minima', Sinningia 'Lil Georgie', Pilea 'Moon Valley', and Pteris quadriaurita 'Tricolor'. The pilea has been cut back and will not be making the trip to Washington State with the rest of my plants, nor will the Pteris, which is starting to take off after cutting back the pilea and will get WAY TOO BIG for my dish garden. Really the whole thing needs to be rearranged, but that can wait until after I move.

Actually, I couldn't help doing a little rearranging as I took these pictures. If the branches or ladle seem to jump around a bit, it's because they did! The ladle came with the punch bowl, so I kept it and used it as part of the design.

You can see a tiny bit of pilea left as a bright green patch in the back on the right side. It will be removed completely when I disassemble the dish garden for the move. 

I readjusted the piece of vine across the top and switched the ladle to go right instead of left. That puts the cuckoo fern and the Breynia in the "back" of the design, and was much easier than moving the plants would have been!

This will be redesigned after the move. The sinningia, Breynia, and my cuckoo fern will stay. The pilea and pteris will be replaced by as-yet-undetermined plants that will provide some better-behaved mid-level filling and ground cover. I'm thinking my Ficus pumila 'Quercifolia' for a ground cover. It grows slowly so is easy to maintain.

Meanwhile, beneath the Doryopteris, the heart fern continues on with it's life,
 headless of the drama playing out above it.

Ok, so I slipped in a little more than just my favorite for the week. My bad.

My favorite plant (in the garden) this week is hosted by the Mistress of Danger. I'm choosing to ignore the "in the garden" part until I have a garden from which I can select favorites, but I think she's willing to humor me for a while. To see this week's darling of the Danger Garden, click here. Don't forget to check the comments for other bloggers' favorites!

Until next time...


  1. Oh but you do have a garden! It just happens to be indoor for now.

    I love your fav, but can't find much online about it. Do you think it's hardy outside here in Zone 8?

  2. Thanks for the affirmation! Sometimes us silly indoor gardeners need it so we don't develop complexes. I haven't been able to find much on it either. D. palmata is also known as D. pedata var. palmata, though there isn't much info for that either. I believe it is a mostly tropical species, so it would probably be a candidate for your pavillion greenhouse, though some tropicals are surprisingly hardy.


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