Todea barbara

Austral King-fern

Tree fern with barrel-shaped trunk covered in dark brown to black fibrous aerial roots.

Additional information

  • FamilyOsmundaceae
  • StoreyMiddle storey
  • Size2-3 m x 4 m
  • Plant groupingFerns & Fern Allies
  • LeavesDense, often multiple crowns. Arching fronds to 2.5 m long, frond stem within root mass, smooth; leaf section egg-shaped, shiny, leathery, twice divided, 25-65 cm x 12-35 cm
  • FlowersNon-flowering. Numerous large round red-brown spore cases on lower sections of the frond.
  • Bird attractingNo
  • Butterfly attractingNo
  • Frog habitatNo
  • Growing conditionsMoist to wet organic soil, tolerating waterlogging, in shaded gullies, along watercourses and in swamps of mountain and foothill forests. Dappled and full shade.
  • Garden useSlow growing and long lived tree fern requiring constant moisture. Plant beside shaded pools to take advantage of arching fronds. Fern gardens.
  • Commercially availableSpecialist Australian plant nursery
  • Conservation statusScattered to uncommon in its preferred habitat within the Shire.
  • Related speciesDiffers from Cyathea species and Dicksonia in that the fronds are only divided twice instead of 3 times. It has a shorter trunk and glossy, leathery fronds.
Photographer/s: Marilyn Bull ©

Plant Communities

  • 04 Alpine Ash Montane Wet Forest (EVC 39)
  • 08 Mountain Grey Gum Damp Forest – Dandenongs (EVC 29)
  • 05 Mountain Ash Forest - Central Highlands (EVC 30)
  • 09 Myrtle Beech Cool Temperate rainforest (EVC31)
  • 12 Manna Gum Riparian Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 18)
  • 13 Manna Gum Riparian Forest - Upper Yarra (EVC 18)
  • 20 Messmate Lowland Forest (EVC 16)
  • 07 Mountain Grey Gum Damp Forest - Central Highlands (EVC 29)
  • 06 Mountain Ash Wet Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 30)
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