Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gendering Aspleniums

The sea of garden plants

Angiopteris
Fern propagations
Almost a year after the last, I went back to garden haven, Tabang.  After being flood stricken by typhoon Pedring, it is good to see that most of the Tabang plants are safe, alive and kicking.   This is after most of the fields and open areas were submerged under water for more than a week. There are still remnants of makeshift sand dikes along the roads. But plant propagation still extends as far as the eye could see. As if there was no evidence of Pedring in the plants except that the prices were up, up, up! As usual there were a lot of plant varieties and what caught my eye this time are the ferns, which usually are hard to rear in hot Bulacan.  But there were a few varieties being propagated here including Angiopteris, Polypodiums and of course the ever popular Aspleniums or dapo.

Dapong babae
Juxtaposition of male and female
Dapong lalaki
Have you ever heard of dapong lalaki and babae (male and female bird's nest fern)?  In garden talk, the Aspleniums are given genders because there are two particular varieties common in the trade.  As expected the rounded bird's nest was assigned the female or babaeng dapo monicker while the sharp-and-angular-leafed one became the male or dapong lalaki.  From what I have heard, the so called babae and lalaki are not even the same species.  If I got it right, babaeng dapo is Asplenium musifolium while lalaking dapo is the more popular Asplenium nidus. They are two distinct species, not genderized versions of one species.  Now which do you think command a higher price? The stereotypical female is claimed to be more beautiful, more sought after, therefore more expensive.

2 comments:

1784 said...

Yeah, I propagate ferns myself and always wondered why they are caled such, when they propagate on their own without need for pollination. It's good to see that the Malolos area was spared!

Andrea said...

I already know the gender being a plant person, or a horticulturist. So have you remembered the species of the two, i just know both of them as Asplenium nidus, it's time to correct it. It is also very hot in our area in Batangas so I planted male and female side by side in a wide plastic pan to withstand the long dry season. I did not put holes to conserve water.