Ferns and Fern Allies in the Canberra Region

Asplenium trichomanes - Common Spleenwort

habit Asplenium trichomanes is not at all common in the Canberra region. We have found it only in one location so far. The specimen shown opposite is about 15 cm (6") across.

It appears to require alkaline soils. Most of the soils around Canberra are acidic, so it finds few suitable environments. It grows in abundance here in association with limestone outcrops: the rock in the photograph above is limestone. There are several limestone provinces in the Canberra region - for example around Wee Jasper, Wyanbene and Bungonia, and it may well be locally common in these areas.

The fern itself is common around the world. It is superficially similar to Asplenium flabellifolium (Necklace Fern) which is very widespread in the Canberra region. It differs from Necklace Fern in that it does not exhibit proliferous tips, it has dark, near-black stipes and grows in a rosette rather than in a scrambling form. spore patterns Its most obvious distinguishing characteristic in this area is its strong association with limestone.

This image shows the under side of the frond, the dark stipes and the characteristic Asplenium spore patterns. Each pinnule is about 6mm (1/4") long.

Given adequate lime in the soil, it is very easy to grow domestically, though as a small and rather inconspicuous fern, it may be of specialist interest only.

back site mapDavid Nicholls
January 1999