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The Staghorn Fern, being an epiphytic plant, grows naturally in tropical forests on tree trunks or rocks where it can absorb moisture from the humid air. Most typically, a Staghorn Fern is mounted on a surface and displayed on a wall, or planted in a wide hanging basket. If planting in a standard pot, a mixture of orchid bark and cactus soil works best. The Staghorn Fern has two types of leaves, fertile and sterile. The fertile leaves are the green ones that most closely resemble antlers of a stag, giving the plant its name. The sterile leaves are shield-like the base of the plant, beginning green before aging to be brown in color (they are not dead).