Host preferences of elephant ear fern (platycerium elephantotis) at Makerere University
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This study was carried out within Makerere university campus. It was a floristic survey that focused on the host preferences of Platycerium elephantotis (P. elephantotis). The Makerere university campus has a diverse plant community dominated by forest species of trees in areas that are not highly disturbed by human activities. Sampling was done using purposive sampling method where maximum population sampling of host trees of P. elephantotis was done. The data collected revealed an effect of host tree sizes, crown density and bark quality on the distribution of P. elephantotis. Most colonized trees have diameter breast height (DBH) of 0.35m to 0.95m. Trees with rough barks and less dense crown densities are most colonized. The data further indicated that 65% of the clusters of P. elephantotis are located in the mid branch area of the host, 21% of the clusters are found in the base branch area and 14% in the top branch area. Some trees that have the required qualities do not have P. elephantotis and few smooth barked trees supportedP. elephantotis. This study did not reveal the effect(s) of other factors such as branching angle, disturbance by human activities, reproductive biology and relationship with other organisms such as lichens among others. Further research is therefore required in those areas named above.