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Ancient Garden

​​​​​​​​Golden Chicken Fern

  • Common Name: Golden Chicken Frn
  • Scientific Name: Cibotium barometz
  • Family Name: Cibotiaceae
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Height: 3 ft
  • Width: 6 ft
  • Growth: Slow
  • Zone: USDA Zones 8 through 11
  • Light needs: Part shade
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Prefers an organically rich, moist, well-drained soil with an acidic pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
  • Moisture: Soil should remain consistently moist.
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Pests/Diseases: No major pests or diseases.
  • Growing conditions: Grow this tropical fern in a damp and warm environment where it will be sheltered from direct sunlight. It should also be protected from winds. Planting in it an understory area is ideal for satisfying these requirements. It is not very cold tolerant, only being able to withstand very short cold periods, so it should be brought inside during winter in colder climates.
  • Characteristics: This plant is characterized by its brown, woolly rhizomes, which can be seen at its base. It will eventually develop a fuzzy brown trunk which can get to several ft tall in height. Stems are typically dark brown in color and have several rows of pinna which bear delicately lobed pinnules. The brown sori, which contain the spores, are found on the undersides of the pinnules.
  • Propagation: By spores.
  • Facts: The specific epithet “barometz” is taken from the legend of the Barometz, or Vegetable Lab of Tartary. It was believed that the Barometz grew sheep as its fruit, which would eat the surrounding foliage until it died. During the Middle Ages, Cibotium barometz was thought to be the legendary Barometz because of the rhizomes’ woolly appearance.
  • Designer considerations: Used mostly as an understory plant. Larger individuals with trunks can be used as specimen plantings. 

Golden Chicken Fern