Ferns and Fern Allies in the Canberra Region
Pellaea falcata - Sickle Fern
Pellaea falcata has
a erect "fishbone" habit. It gets its common name from the
sickle shape of the pinnae. It is quite rare in the Canberra Region,
though endemic in coastal areas. The fronds grow in spreading patches
among leaf litter on the forest floor.
It also occurs in sheltered creek gullies in the drier areas. On mature
plants the fronds are typically 40 cm (16") long or a little larger.
In the Canberra region, the large version of P. falcata can be found, as well as a dwarf variety, var. nana. The latter gows in the drier areas in open bushland, often accompanied by Cheilanthes spp. The specimen at left was growing in the Bush above one of the southern suburbs.
The image shows it near
life size. The differences in pinna shape from the larger variety are
obvious. Another species, P. paradoxa, has also been described and reported
from the Canberra region, but it is not clear whether the var. nana
above is a dwarf form of P. falcata or of P. paradoxa.