Thursday, 7 August 2008


This picture is from my garden. I like how this giant fern leaf reaches far over the roof of the house mingling with the clouds wanting to touch the sky.
Please click on picture

King Fern: Angiopteris evecta

The King fern is easily mistaken for a trunkless Palm.
It produces possibly the longest fern fronds in the world.
The fronds can grow up to 7m in length.
It does not a have a well-developed trunk.
The fronds sprout from near ground level.
The King fern likes dimly-lit rainforest stream banks.
The related potato fern (Marattia oreades) has weeping fronds up to 2m long.
Like tree ferns both these giant ferns have an ancient history.
Fossils well over 300 million years old, and very similar to the modern versions, have been found on most continents.
The predate the dinosaurs.Courtesy of: Environmental Protection Agency, Cairns.
The King Fern is also called the Giant Fern.
Excellent examples of the King Fern can be seen on the 1km Lake Eacham Waterfall Walk.
Its rhizome is a massive trunk up to 1.5m tall, woody on the outside and deeply grooved, and quite fleshy within. It is black, very broad, and bears numerous crowns of fronds.
Their stipes are erect, fleshy, green, smooth and swollen at the base. They may be up to 2m long.
The base is covered by a pair of ear-like stipules that are dark with large white spots.
The fronds of the King Fern, as can be imagined, are massive, over five metres long, arching and semi-weeping.
The fronds are the largest in the world.
Its spores are in dense clutters of five to eight opposite pairs. Each spore is round with a splitting along a central line. They become confluent with age as a brown powdery mass.
Thick rope-like roots support the entire fern.
The species is often damaged by feral pigs which gnaw through the roots.
It is a versatile fern that can be found on a variety of situations, from dark shaded gullies to exposed rock crevices. The fern may be stunted and bleached in exposed situations, with broad fronds up to 30cm long and almost no trunk. In shaded wet areas it can be a huge fern.
Old specimens have been found with trunks up to 2m across.
The King Fern can be found in Queensland from sea level to about 600m, New South Wales (only the north-east where it is very rare however), Polynesia and Malaysia.
It is excellent as a tub fern or can be easily grown in a protected position in the ground. Spores are short-lived and must be sown fresh. They are slow growing.
Like its relative the Potato Fern (Marattia oreades), it is an ancient survivor from the Palaeozoic Era and has changed very little since even before the time of the dinosaurs. Fossils well over 300 million years old have been found on most continents.

Enjoy Skywatch Friday


Sylvia (England) said...

Lovely fern, Titania. Wish I could grow such a large fern - my husband would be delighted, he like ferns. Still I can dream and I have lots of lovely smaller ferns.

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

Kanak Hagjer said...

Beautiful picture,Trudi.Loved reading all the information on the King Fern. I've never seen anything like that.Amazing!

easygardener said...

It is so hard to imagine a 7m frond - frond sounds so delicate and fragile a word.I'd love to see one in its natural setting.

ladyluz said...

Magnificent specimen and how lovely to be able to see that from your window.

Still following you with interest, but don't always comment.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Lovely photo, and fascinating information about the King Fern. A very nice Sky Watch.

By the way, the link posted on Sky Watch is 'broken' as it's missing a "t". You might want to ask Tom or one of the other moderators to fix it for you, or post your entry again as a "corrected link." Your post is too enjoyable for others not to find easily.

bobbie said...

The fern is amazing. I've never seen or known about one like that before.

Kelly said...

Beautiful picture. Enjoyed reading about Ferns!

shutterhappyjenn said...

Oh that is a big fern, indeed! Nice touch to the wonderful sky!

My SWF photos are posted in these blogs:
Jenn Was Here and Shutter Happy Moments.

Please drop by if you have some time. Thanks.

Arija said...

Thanks for ackowledgement. Do pop in some roses. There are some good hot climate survivors these days. I'm going to try some as well to see how they stand up to our roaring northerlies straight off the Simpson desert.Is your garden at sea level or elevated? Would love to hear from you again

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's an amazing fern, and lovely against the sky.

CaBaCuRl said...

Love green and blue together. I saw King Ferns in Carnarvon NP a few years ago, in a little shady gorge.

Suzanne said...

Your fern looks so beautiful against the great blue sky. We have lots of trouble growing ferns here. Happy SWF.

as minhas fotografias said...

wonderful picture!very nice

Roses and stuff said...

I didn't realize ferns could get that huge! Impressive! Makes me think of dinosaurs...
Happy Sky watch! /Katarina

Greyscale Territory said...

Beautiful contrast of delicate shapes and crystal blue of sky as a backdrop!

Lara said...

the link is broken indeed, it misses a "t", but somehow we figured it out, and I am glad, cos this is a wonderful photo!

Anonymous said...

Lovely picture, nice colors:)

all about paper said...

Beautiful colours of nature against the sky. Thank you for sharing with Sky Watch Friday and thank you for your kind words on my blog.

Louise said...

It's huge! (And very pretty.)

Hort Log said...

this one we call elephant ferns around here ....awesome plant...the large corky trunk is not out of place with the dinosaurs !

magiceye said...

this is so beautiful....

Check out the night sky of mumbai here

Marie said...

Beautiful photo :)

Jules said...

Nature's beauty...great shot

Maria said...

Dear Titania, thank you for joining my skywalkers walk in Vienna along the Danube!
The giant fern is unbelievable! Funny to have such a tall fern in the garden! Our ferns here in centrl europe are just half a meter high if they are big ones!
Thank you also for the information about this fern and subtropical Australia! First I thought it was a tree!
Have a happy weekend!

2sweetnsaxy said...

That is a big fern but I do like it against the sky too. I almost didn't get to your blog. There is a "T" missing in the link on the sky watch page but I figured it out.

Titania said...

Thank you Maria for your visit and comment.

Torsdag said...

Nice SWF with the fern against the sky.
Hallo from Germany

Julie said...

When I tried you on Friday, your link did not work and then I got a little too busy to go search you out through my Favourites. I am glad I did though.

What a gigantic frond! And what a lovely view of the clouds through it. Good image and excellent text.

Thank you, Titania.

Titania said...

Thank you Julie for your nice comment.