International Journal of
Biodiversity and Conservation

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Biodivers. Conserv.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-243X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJBC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 679

Full Length Research Paper

An ecophysiological study of cultivated Nephrolepis exaltata (L.) Schott cv. Bostoniensis (Boston Fern)

O. Roger Anderson
  • O. Roger Anderson
  • Biology and Paleo Environment, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 12 February 2024
  •  Accepted: 05 April 2024
  •  Published: 30 April 2024


The Boston Fern, a cultivar of Nephrolepis exaltata native to tropical and sub-tropical environments, is widely cultivated. There is substantial published horticultural research on its cultivation. However, there is less research published on its physiological ecology. This is a report of the physiological ecology of laboratory cultivated N. exaltata cv. Bostoniensis, particularly focusing on the following aspects: Net photosynthesis rate, dark respiration rate, leaf fluorescence (evidence of fundamental processes of light capture and electron transport during photosynthesis), as well as basic leaf physiological characteristics. The latter include chlorophyll content index (CCI), specific leaf area (SLA), percent water content, stomatal density, and transpiration rate expressed as stomatal water vapor conductance (gw). These results provide evidence of N. exaltata’s capacity to adapt to environments of widely different light intensities that may partially explain its suitability for indoor cultivation as well as its ability to invade and naturalize in diverse habitats beyond its native range.


Key words: Environmental adaptation, leaf relative chlorophyll content, leaf chlorophyll fluorescence analysis, photosynthesis rate, specific leaf area, transpiration rate.