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("neff-roh-LEP-iss ex-al TAH-tah")
Our large Boston Fern, or Nephrolepis exaltata, has erect, light green fronds that may grow to a metre or more in length. Each frond is divided into many narrow pinnae or leaflets that grow alternately on either side of the midrib. The popular variety, “Bostoniensis”, has large, wide (up to 40 cm on mature specimens) and long arching fronds. In other, smaller varieties the leaflets have ruffled edges and are divided even further to give a feathery or lacy appearance. The species became popular as a houseplant in Victorian times. In 1894, a mutation was spotted in Boston, USA, which became the popular variety "Bostoniensis" or Boston Fern. The wild origins of the plant are, however, nowhere near Boston - they originate in the sub-tropics and tropics of central and South America, the Caribbean and Southern USA.