Cystopteris tasmanica Hook.

Brittle Bladder-fern

Sp. Fil. 1: 199 (1846) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Threat status:Victoria: rare (r)

Rhizome short, covered in thin, hair-tipped, shiny brown scales. Fronds delicate, clustered near tip of rhizome, 10–35 cm long. Stipe relatively long, slender, pale, grooved, scaly at base, scattered hair-like scales above. Lamina 1–2-pinnate with primary pinnae distant, lanceolate-oblong, light green to mid-green, membranous, glabrous; rachises slender and grooved. Pinnae shortly stalked near base of lamina, ovate to triangular, deeply lobed or toothed; primary pinnae ovate to oblong, up to 4 cm long; apices broadly acute. Sori near margins, numerous, round, on vein which continues beyond it; indusium attached at inflated base, delicate, pale, ovate and often with pointed or toothed apex, shed early.

EGU, HSF, MonT, SnM, VAlp. NSW, Tas. New Zealand, possibly South America. Rare in Victoria and confined to moist, shaded ledges and crevices of rock faces in alpine and higher subalpine regions, often near waterfalls (e.g Bryces Gorge, Bogong and Dargo High Plains, Little River Falls near Wulgulmerang).

The small fronds with a delicate, light green lamina are distinctive. The name C. tasmanica Hook. has been recently resurrected to include plants native to Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand which are distinct from C. fragilis of the Northern Hemisphere (Brownsey et al. 1985, Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth 1989). The fronds of Cystopteris tasmanica are less divided than those of C. fragilis, usually smaller, and the primary pinnae are shorter and have broadly acute, rather than tapering, apices. Cystopteris fragilis has been naturalised in parts of New Zealand but is so far unknown from Victoria.

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.
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Distribution map


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Cystopteris tasmanica in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Cystopteris tasmanica in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
New South Wales