Pteridophilia (Zheng Bo)

Connecting queer plants and queer people, Pteridophilia explores the eco-queer potential. 

Six young ​men walk ​into a forest in Taiwan, making close contact with ferns. They establish emotional and physical relationships with the plants, relying on their bodies rather than words. Ferns are very common in Taiwan​. They​ are valued by ​indigenous ​people but not by Japanese colonists​ or the Nationalists​.

A man makes love to a bird’s nest fern​ (Asplenium nidus) and then starts eating it. Zheng reflects on our current moral outlook that it is “natural” to eat plants but “unnatural” to make love to them. Bird’s nest fern is a popular delicacy in Taiwan.

Zheng collaborates with three local BDSM practitioners who in turn collaborate with three ​fern species​ – green penny fern (Lemmaphyllum microphyllum), flying spider-monkey tree fern (Cyathea spinulosa), and elephant fern (Angiopteris palmiformis)​ – to expand BDSM practice. 

For centuries humans have been in love with furled fronds of young ferns. Inspired by Yaoi anime, this chapter follows a young couple in their acts of love with fiddleheads.