Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dicksonia antarctica

There are a number of tree ferns in our garden, some of which were already here (mainly Cyathea species), but I've planted one of my favourites, Dicksonia antarctica. It was just a stump when I put it in a couple of weeks ago, but now it's sprouting these beautiful fronds.

Seriously, they are growing around 2 cm a day. Remarkable energy reserves. Just imagine the frenzied mitosis going on in there!


Jayne said...

Wish I had even a fraction of the energy ferns put into their new fronds!

Margaret said...

Me too, Jayne. Today we counted the new fronds on the fern. Sixteen! All doing the same thing.


It's going to be a scorcher in a few months, methinks.

Thanks for dropping by. I've started looking at your blogs. Fascinating stuff. We're only a few hundred kilometres apart, it seems, but very different ecologies.

ausworkshop said...

Can you cut the fronds and propagate? Thanks for an interesting article.

Margaret said...

Ausworkshop,ferns, unlike flowering plants (angiosperms) and conifers, have a rather inefficient vascular system, which is why they tend not to cope with extreme heat and dryness. The more complex plumbing that evolved with the flowering plants is one reason they have been so evolutionarily successful, colonising so many different environments on the planet.

The vascular system of ferns stops them from surviving for long if you tried to propagate through cuttings. I suspect that they also don't have the ability to accumulate auxin (a plant growth hormone) at the wound site, which is essential for new root growth in cuttings.