Saturday, March 7, 2015

Nangara Notes

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.
A very pleasant location - fern gully at Nangara Reserve, Jindivick

Fishbone Waterfern
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.
Fishbone Waterfern habit.
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.
Sporangia on a fertile frond of a Fishbone Waterfern, (darker stipe, narrower pinnae).

The leaves at the base of the fronds are at right angles to the stem.

Gristle Fern
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.
Gristle Fern habit.
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.
New leaves on the Gristle Fern grow at an angle to the stipe.

In Tasmania, Gristle Fern is a listed threatened species.

More on ferns shortly.


  1. I love this! I'm learning about trees and plants at the moment and am shocked at the realisation that I have no idea about so much of what surrounds me in the bush. This makes me want to pay closer attention to the ferns I see (and there's plenty of them in subtropical QLD).

  2. G'day CP,
    Yes, so much to look at and learn about. I have the distinct feeling I've started too late. Good luck with your researches up there.

  3. I wonder how it got the name gristle (or cartilagineum).

    Do you know of a good reference for ferns ID? I suspect my 1975 Ferns of Victoria and Tasmania is probably out of date.

  4. G’day Mosura,
    My text reference is not much newer than yours but is invaluable – Australian Ferns and Fern Allies, DL Jones and SC Clemesha, Reed pub, 1982. Readily purchased online.
    Of course there are numerous online sites –
    1 Pteridophytes: The Ferns and their Allies, Aust Nat Herbarium,
    2 Morwell National Park, (a useful key),
    3 Friends of Tarra Bulga,
    4 Ferns of the Canberra Region,