586B-2-Pteridium-esculentum-sp-Marilyn-Gray.jpg

Pteridium esculentum

Austral Bracken

Single hard rigidly upright fronds distantly spaced, spreading along branched underground stems to form extensive colonies. New growth covered in red-brown hairs.

Additional information

  • FamilyDennstaedtiaceae
  • StoreyLower storey
  • Size0.3-2.5 m high
  • Plant groupingFerns & Fern Allies
  • LeavesTriangular dark-green fronds, divided 3-4 times, to 1 m wide. Main segments shortly stalked, smaller segments flow onto midrib, leaf-like lobes between; finely hairy below. Margins recurved, scalloped. Midribs shallow grooved. Long, woody red-brown stem.
  • FlowersNon-flowering. Spore cases in narrow bands along margins.
  • Bird attractingNo
  • Butterfly attractingNo
  • Frog habitatNo
  • Growing conditionsVery common in all but poorly drained soils and heavily shaded sites, found below 1200 m, especially in disturbed areas. Prevalent after fires. Frost tolerant. Full sun, semi shade.
  • Garden useA vigorous fern which is both hard to establish and difficult to remove.
  • Commercially availableNever
  • Conservation statusWidespread within the Shire
  • Aboriginal Use Rhizome - roasted and pulped; medicine - new fronds (stinging ant remedy)
  • Related speciesOften confused with Calochlaena which has bright green new tips as a result of colourless hairs, unsymmetric lobed segments and round spore cases at the ends of veins, near margins.
Photographer/s: 1, 3 Peter Kinchington ©; 2 Marilyn Bull ©

Plant Communities

  • 01 Alpine Ash Montane Damp Forest (EVC 38)
  • 20 Messmate Lowland Forest (EVC 16)
  • 02 Shining Gum Montane Wet Forest (EVC 39)
  • 21 Broad-leaf Peppermint Heathy Dry Forest (EVC 20)
  • 03 Narrow-leaf Peppermint Montane damp Forest (EVC 38)
  • 22 Silver-leaf Stringybark Heathy Woodland (EVC 48)
  • 04 Alpine Ash Montane Wet Forest (EVC 39)
  • 25 Long-leaf Box Grassy Dry Forest - Southern Dandenongs (EVC 22)
  • 05 Mountain Ash Forest - Central Highlands (EVC 30)
  • 26 Red Stringybark Grassy Dry Forest - Middle Yarra (EVC 22)
  • 06 Mountain Ash Wet Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 30)
  • 27 Red Stringybark Grassy Dry Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 22)
  • 07 Mountain Grey Gum Damp Forest - Central Highlands (EVC 29)
  • 29 Green Scentbark Herb-rich Foothill Forest (EVC 23)
  • 08 Mountain Grey Gum Damp Forest – Dandenongs (EVC 29)
  • 30 Swamp Gum Swampy Riparian Woodland (EVC 83)
  • 09 Myrtle Beech Cool Temperate rainforest (EVC31)
  • 31 Candlebark Grassy Forest (EVC 128)
  • 10 Southern Sassafras Cool Temperate rainforest (EVC 31)
  • 32 Silvertop Ash Shrubby Foothill Forest (EVC 45)
  • 11 Manna Gum Riparian Forest - Central Highlands (EVC 18)
  • 33 Mountain Swamp Gum Swampy Riparian Woodland (EVC 83)
  • 12 Manna Gum Riparian Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 18)
  • 34 Manna Gum Floodplain Riparian Woodland (EVC 56)
  • 13 Manna Gum Riparian Forest - Upper Yarra (EVC 18)
  • 36 Scented Paperbark Riparian Thicket – Central Highlands (EVC 59)
  • 15 Scented Paperbark Riparian Thicket - Middle & Upper Yarra (EVC 59)
  • 38 Yellow Box Valley Grassy Forest – Middle Yarra (EVC 47)
  • 16 Messmate Shrubby Foothill Forest Central Highlands/UpperYarra (EVC 45)
  • 40 Snow Gum Grassy Woodland (EVC 175/37)
  • 17 Messmate Herb-rich Foothill Forest (EVC 23)
  • 44 Grassy Wetland Complex (EVC 125)
  • 18 Messmate Shrubby Foothill Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 45)
  • 46 Silvertop Ash Heathy Dry Forest (EVC 20)
  • 19 Long-leaf Box Herb-rich Foothill Forest (EVC 23)
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