Gleichenia dicarpa    

Pouched Coral Fern

Springing in green tangles from 2m long, branched stalks that are finely hairy, the fronds of this terrestrial fern are a common sight wherever there is damp ground.

Spreading a further 1–2m, the many-forked leathery fronds terminate in 3-5cm long leaflets or pinnules which extend at right angles from a central axis that is covered in brown hairs. The upper surface of the pinnule is green to yellowish-green and glossy, and the underside is covered with pale hairs. Each pinnule is divided into many 1-5mm long segments.

The end segments of fertile fronds are then turned under to form pouches. Each pouch contains two sporangia from which are released the reproductive spore. This fern is a colonizer of damp ground, creeping towards disturbed areas on scaly rhizomes.

Family: Gleicheniaceae
 

Kids Activity Trail

  • Can you find the fern that looks like the back bone of a fish?
  • Did you know Gleichenia thickets form a sheltering habitat for the small mammals, reptiles and crustaceans that inhabit moist ground?

Image Credit: MARY ANDERSON Gleichenia dicarpa (Pouched Coral Fern) 2000, carved sandstone, 63 x 112 x 112 cm, Wentworth Falls Lake Sculpture Project, Blue Mountains City Art Collection.