Tree Ferns

Scientific name: Cyathea australis and Dicksonia antarctica

Common name: Rough Tree Fern and Soft Tree Fern

Family: Cyatheaceae and Dicksoniaceae



tree ferns   


Gondwana walk.

Stroll down our corridors of time and step back into the distant ages of Gondwana. Here you will find plants that have evolved from ancient ancestors dating back more than 90 million years. The name Gondwana means ‘land of the Gonds’ and was derived from a region of the same name in India where the ‘Glossopteris’ fossil flora was first described. The theory of Continental Drift was conceptualised when similar flora and fauna fossils were discovered. These fossils made links with India and all the southern continents, particularly Antarctica. This supercontinent comprised South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Antarctica, Australia and New Zealand. The ancient fossils tell us of past climates, invoke pictures of ancient landscapes, explain configurations of land and sea in the ever changing world of the past.

Approximately 365 million years ago, the first ferns appeared on the planet. Cyathea australis and Dicksonia antarctica are Tree Ferns with similar ancient ancestry. These ferns are found all around the the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden as they are native to the East Coast of Australia and Tasmania. Cyathea australis is a cold hardy fern and is adaptable to a variety of soils and climates. The Dicksonia antarctica can be grown in temperate to cool climates and both species grow up to 15 meters tall but generally less. Like most ferns they like shady and moist conditions. Mount Tomah’s name came from the Darug people and means Tree Fern.