Microsorum musifolium

Common Name: microsorum 
Type: Fern
Family: Polypodiaceae
Native Range: Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines to New Guinea, Polynesia
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. Elsewhere this tropical fern is typically grown in greenhouses or as a houseplant. Best with a coarse, rich, potting soil that is moisture retentive but still drains well. Avoid applying excess water to the roots. Best sited in shady areas with bright indirect light. Plants like high humidity. Fertilize monthly or use slow release formula. Plants generally dislike temperatures that dip below 50 degrees F. Propagate by spores or division.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Mirosorum musifolium, synonymous with and also known as Polypodium musifolium, is an epiphytic fern that is native to the Malaysian Archipelago. Elongated, entire, strap-like blades which grow to 2' long in pots, but to 4' long in its native tropical habitat. Sori appear on the frond undersides along the veins. Frond texture (clathrate scales) somewhat resembles the scaled texture of crocodile skin, hence the sometimes used common name of crocodile fern.

May also be sold under the cultivar name of 'Crocodylus'.

Genus name comes from the Greek mikros meaning small and soros meaning a heap for the cluster of spore capsules.

Specific epithet means with leaves like those of the genus Musa.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for mealybugs and scale.


Where winter hardy, it may be grown as a landscape fern in bright shade. Where not winter hardy, it may be grown as a houseplant or in greenhouses.