Cheilanthes distans

Family Sinopteridaceae

Bristly Cloak Fern, Shaggy Rock Fern

Tufted terrestrial fern with fibrous roots and short-creeping rhizome 2 mm diameter, bearing new plants up to 10 cm apart. Longevity indefinite.

Spores: Produced in sori on lower surface of frond. Spores at any time. Spore size 43-79 µm diameter. Dispersed by wind, probably no dormancy mechanism, can develop sporophyte (apogamy) without fertilisation in absence of water droplets.

Gallery images: seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Woodland and open-forest habitat.
  • Frequent in woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden.
  • Survives drought and immediately rehydrates following rain (resurrection plant).
  • Have increased in frequency over the last 20 years possibly due to lack of disturbance by grazing animals.
  • Resprouts after fire.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Cheilanthes distans