I’ve been making an attempt at learning the water-fern species. The deeper and wetter gullies inside Nangara Reserve at Jindivick are cool, dim and peaceful places to explore and whilst the ferns mosses and fungi perhaps don’t rival those in the more well known ‘rainforest’ gullies a little higher up, there is plenty here to entertain the beginner. Besides, just to walk knee-deep in ferns is such a pleasure.
Blechnum nudum is an abundant and widespread water-loving fern. Fishbone Waterfern is a popular nursery fern. In the wild its creeping underground rhizomes can produce large, near impenetrable colonies.
The broad lance-shaped fronds with the longer leaves in the middle, black stems on the very different fertile fronds and the basal leaves growing perpendicular to the stems are some features that help distinguish this fern.
|The leaves at the base of the fronds are at right angles to the stem.|
Similar to the above, this fern is distinguished by its broad coarse fronds and leaves, dark scale on the base of the stems and basal leaves growing at an acute angle to stems.
Blechnum cartilagineum is not as widespread a species as Fishbone Waterfern, and at Nangara the colonys are not as extensive. It can be found a bit further away from the creeks too. Some of the young fronds are often an attractive pink/bronze colour.
In Tasmania, Gristle Fern is a listed threatened species.
More on ferns shortly.