Dicksonia antarctica

 

Dicksonia antarctica   

Location

Along the Gondwana Forest walk, with its warmer, westerly aspect and ‘wet-sclerophyll’ vegetation the abundance of each treefern is reversed. Here you will find more of the less-water-demanding Rough Treefern.

Five thousand years is the age estimate for artwork in a cave not far from Mount Tomah, reminding us that explorers have been walking these mountains for this time and more. Today the main east-west route, known as Bells Line of Road, passes through ‘Tomah’; a name bestowed long ago by Darug people describing this treefern-clothed landmark.

In more recent times George Caley, botanical collector to Sir Joseph Banks, mapped his effort to cross the Blue Mountains in November 1804. He named this same area Fern Tree Hill, prompted by 'These trees … very numerous, and some …15 yards in height.' 

Both were referring, in the main, to the Soft Treefern or Brown Treefern, Dicksonia antarctica, still abundant along our Forest Walk among a rainforest remnant on the shady, southern side of our garden. There are many other ferns here too, including Cyathea australis, the Rough Treefern. A close encounter with the trunks will demonstrate the difference and explain the common names, but take care!