Dicksonia antarctica Labill.

Soft Tree-fern

Nov. Holl. Pl. 2: 100, t. 249 (1807) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Trunk erect, 2–12 m tall, thick; stipe bases persistent and crumbly, but soon hidden by matted, adventitious roots, often extending into buttresses near ground. Fronds narrowly oblong, tapering towards base and tip, up to 4 m long. Stipe short and stout, dark brown, smooth; hairs (at base) 2–3 cm long, coarse and brittle, shiny, red-brown. Lamina 3-pinnate, dark green, comparatively narrow, pinnae gradually reducing in length from 30–40 cm near mid-lamina to 10 cm at base; primary and secondary pinnae oblong with acute to acuminate tips; rachises pale, fawn to straw-coloured, upper surface with numerous hairs, lower surface with fewer hairs. Pinnules attached by full breadth, decurrent, forming wing along rachis; veins free with lateral veinlets unbranched, midveins sparsely hairy underneath; margins of sterile pinnules deeply serrate with curved teeth, fertile pinnules more deeply incised with rounded lobes. Sori as for family, numerous and conspicuous, one per lobe.

CVU, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HFE, HNF, HSF, MonT, NIS, OtP, OtR, SnM, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro. Also SA (where probably extinct), Qld, NSW, Tas. (including Bass Strait islands). The commonest tree-fern in Victoria, occurring mostly in forested areas of high rainfall of the south and east, particularly in shaded gullies and near streams and waterfalls, ranging from near sea-level to the subalps.

Dicksonia antarctica is most easily distinguished from the Cyathea species by its smooth stipe bases covered in hairs rather than scales, the fibrous matted roots which soon cover much of the trunk and the marginal, 2-valved soral structure. Although trunks usually bear a single crown of fronds, some plants have been noted (e.g. in the Taggerty-Alexandra area) with 6 or more crowns per trunk.

Source: Entwisle, T.J. (1994). Ferns and allied plants (Psilophyta, Lycopodiophyta, Polypodiophyta). In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
order Cyatheales
family Dicksoniaceae
genus Dicksonia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Dicksonia antarctica in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Dicksonia antarctica in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory