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Dicksonia antarctica (Australian tree fern)

Australian tree fern is a handsome plant native to south-eastern Australia, where it grows in fertile, high-rainfall areas and moist, sheltered gullies.
Dicksonia antarctica in the Australia Landscape at the British Museum

Dicksonia antarctica in the Australia Landscape at the British Museum, 2011.

Species information

Scientific name: 

Dicksonia antarctica Labill.

Common name: 

Australian tree fern, Tasmanian tree fern, hardy tree fern, soft tree fern, woolly tree fern

Conservation status: 

Widespread and common in high-rainfall forests, but not yet evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria. A relict population in South Australia is now extinct.

Habitat: 

Moist areas in wet sclerophyll forests, along creek beds, in gullies and occasionally at high altitudes in cloud forests.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental.

Known hazards: 

None known.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Order: 
Cyatheales
Family: 
Dicksoniaceae
Genus: Dicksonia

About this species

Australian tree fern is a large, robust, attractive tree fern popular in cultivation in temperate regions. The common name 'Australian tree fern' may also be used to refer to Cyathea cooperi and Cyathea australis.

In its native habitat of south-eastern Australia, Dicksonia antarctica often dominates wet, shady gullies and frequently grows in extensive stands. Its fibrous trunk forms an excellent substrate for other plants, including mosses, ferns and orchids. The trunk is formed from a slender stem surrounded by a mass of fibrous roots, enabling the plant to support itself. Dicksonia antarctica is similar in appearance to D. fibrosa from New Zealand. Adult plants of D. antarctica generally shed old leaves (also known as fronds) from the canopy, in contrast to D. fibrosa which retains its leaves to form a dense skirt around the trunk.

Synonym: 

Balantium antarcticum

Genus: 
Dicksonia

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