Ferns and Fern Allies in the Canberra Region

Adiantum aethiopicum - Common Maidenhair fern

Adiantum aethiopicum Adiantum aethiopicum is the only commonly occurring Adiantum in the Canberra region. It is exceptionally hardy and grows in suitable locations even in the dry scrubby woodlands around the city of Canberra itself.

The image above shows young spring growth on the slopes of Mt Ainslie, only a few km from the city centre. The fern appears to tolerate quite strong frosts and sunshine, but is usually found where there is good permanent ground moisture and protection from wind. In another location, also close to the city, it grows so thickly that it out-competes the native grasses. It is fairly common on the moister lower slopes of the mountains to the west of Canberra. As the dead fronds in both images on this page show, it often grows among Common Bracken, Pteridium esculentum.

close up of frond
The fern is widespread in south eastern Australia.

This image was taken in the same area at the first picture and shows a closer view of a young frond. It is a graceful and elegant fern and readily grows domestically. Its hardiness does, however, occasionally lead to it becoming a weed in the right conditions. There can be few prettier weeds.

back site mapDavid Nicholls
January 1999