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Blechnum cartilagineum

Gristle Fern

Erect tufting perennial clumping at the end of erect rhizome (rooting stem), rhizome also spreading and branched, forming colonies. Sterile and fertile fronds similar (different in all other blechnums).

Additional information

  • FamilyBlechnaceae
  • StoreyLower storey
  • Size0.5-1.5 m x 1 m
  • Plant groupingFerns & Fern Allies
  • LeavesLeathery, light to yellow-green narrowly triangular to oblong fronds, once divided; lowest leaflets widest. Young growth pink to bronze. Leaflets broad based, 3-15 cm long, margins wavy. Stems pale brown, grooved, rough with black scaly base.
  • FlowersNon-flowering. Narrow, continuous spore cases on either side of midvein.
  • Bird attractingNo
  • Butterfly attractingNo
  • Frog habitatYes
  • Growing conditionsMoist to wet well drained soil in swampy areas, creek margins, gullies and sheltered slopes in riparian and moist to wet forests. Semi shade to dappled shade.
  • Garden useHardy fern for large ferneries, moist gardens, rockeries or beside water areas.
  • Commercially availableSpecialist Australian plant nursery
  • Conservation statusWidespread within the Shire
  • Aboriginal Use In some areas - food - starchy rhizome eaten raw or roasted
Photographer/s: Marilyn Bull ©

Plant Communities

  • 05 Mountain Ash Forest - Central Highlands (EVC 30)
  • 13 Manna Gum Riparian Forest - Upper Yarra (EVC 18)
  • 06 Mountain Ash Wet Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 30)
  • 15 Scented Paperbark Riparian Thicket - Middle & Upper Yarra (EVC 59)
  • 07 Mountain Grey Gum Damp Forest - Central Highlands (EVC 29)
  • 16 Messmate Shrubby Foothill Forest Central Highlands/UpperYarra (EVC 45)
  • 08 Mountain Grey Gum Damp Forest – Dandenongs (EVC 29)
  • 20 Messmate Lowland Forest (EVC 16)
  • 11 Manna Gum Riparian Forest - Central Highlands (EVC 18)
  • 22 Silver-leaf Stringybark Heathy Woodland (EVC 48)
  • 12 Manna Gum Riparian Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 18)
  • 30 Swamp Gum Swampy Riparian Woodland (EVC 83)
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