So what is that furry dust-like stuff on my staghorn fern?
The furry, dust-like particles you see on your staghorn fern is not actually dust, but “plant hairs”.
“Plants have hair?” you ask.
The “Plant hairs” may resemble hair, but they're not the same as what we mammals have. Luckily they do not require maintenance!
In fact, do not try to remove the furry, dust-like “hair”! This coating protects the plant from getting sunburn and prevents moisture loss from the leaf surface.
The staghorn fern is an epiphytic plant; which means in their natural setting, they grow on other plants or trees. Their root systems do not necessarily gather water or nutrients, but grow to attach to whatever plant or tree it lives on. Because they do not have substantial roots, they collect water from the air by producing small fuzzy hairs on their leaves called trichomes.
So put away that duster! Your staghorn will thank you for it!