java fern propagation by roots
I just witnessed something in my tank that I didn't know java fern could do! Most of us know that Java Fern reproduces by adventitious plantlets growing from the underside of parent leaves. Well I just looked into my tank and found a java fern baby growing from the a root of an older java fern plant rhizome that had died off! it is at leas 3-4 inches of root away from where the original plant is attached to the driftwood. The original plant has started to come back for a few weeks now, but I expected that could be possible since those are where the original rhizome was. This new baby plant is propagating via a runner. I found it very surprising and thought it was worth sharing. Has anyone else had java fern reproduce via a runner like this?
From your description I am assuming this "runner" was a broken piece of the original plant's rhizome. This plant can be reproduced vegetatively by breaking bits off the rhizome as well as the adventitious plants on the older leaves. The species does not send out true runners. The rhizome is a store of nutrients, so it may appear dead but once broken off may sprout a new plant or plants.
Actually no. This is why I am so surprised. It is growing from a root that has wrapped around the driftwood. It is distal to the rhizome by about 3 inches, but not rhizome itself.
Digging a bit further in some of my plant groups, I find that the roots (both the main rhizome and the fine "hair" roots) can develop plantlets. There are, they say, no true runners. Some suggest that spores find their way to the roots to cause this, and these people note that java fern plantlets have been observed growing form roots of Anubias too, so this makes some sense if true. Others say the roots themselves can produce plantlets.
I have the same thing happening in one of my tanks. I have a Java fern tied to some wood and it has many plantlets sprouting from the leaves. But there is also a nice sized plant sprouting from a root wrapped under the wood. :-)
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