Ferns and Fern Allies in the Canberra Region

Blechnum cartilagineum - Gristle Fern

habit Blechnum cartilagineum is attractive and very hardy. It grows in open forested areas and in some surprisingly dry areas in the dry sclerophyl eucalypt bushland. The sterile and fertile fronds have the same form and size, typically 20cm (8") across and up to a metre tall when fully mature. A key characteristic is the variable angle between pinna and rhachis from the initial pinnae to the frond tip. At the stipe end it starts at around 45° backwards, progresses through 90° and finishes up around 45° forwards. This picture is of several young fronds and shows the trait. The illustration in Jones and Clemesha's Australian Ferns and Fern Allies does not show this behaviour, but in all examples in this region it seems to occur.

frondThis image shows the length of the pinnae on B. cartilagineum, which is much greater, relative to the frond size, than other members of the Water Fern family.

frond detail

A close up of a frond tip showing slightly sickle-shaped alternating pinnae.

back site mapDavid Nicholls
January 1998