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Dicksoniaceae

Dicksoniaceae

Dicksonia antarctica – Tree Fern

dicksonia-antarctica1

Dicksonia antarctica

The tree ferns or Dicksonia antarctica is the most popular of the tree ferns species that are found naturally in the Oceania. Unlike the other ferns of their type, they grow upto 10 meters in height. Walking through a forest of Dicksonia antarctica, one can definitely feel like he has come to an ancient Jurassic or Triassic forest where dinosaurs lived!

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Cyatheales
Family: Dicksoniaceae
Genus: Dicksonia
Species: D. antarctica

Occurrence

The tree ferns are native to Australia. It is also found naturally in Tasmania and New Zealand. D. antarctica is the popular tree fern that is found in South Eastern Australia. They grow well and in abundance in moist and shady environments.

The fern grows on damp, sheltered woodland slopes and moist gullies, and they occasionally occur at high altitudes in cloud forests. – Wikipedia.

These ferns are generally tolerant to acidic, neutral or alkaline soil. They can grow in semi-sheltered places but hate droughts, and drying up of their roots.

ReproductionDicksonia antarctica Spores - Sori

These ferns generally reproducing by producing spores like other ferns. The spores are produced under their leaves. As these spores get matured, they are dispersed and they grow into a thallus containing male and female gametophytes which produce male and female gametes. The male gametes fertilize the egg cells and the zygote develops which then grows into a complete plant!

Learn more about the life cycle of ferns here – Life Cycle of Ferns.

These trees can also be propagated vegetatively. This can be done by cutting the tree at  its base leaving its rhizome in the soil which dies off and the top part produces fronds and grows into a new tree when planted.

tree-fern-trunk
Once cut, the base looks like this. Beautiful isn’t it? But sadly it is left die
dicksonia-antarctica-trunks
The cut tree trunks or shoots that are ready to be planted. They’ll readily sprout and grow into new trees!
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