Blechnum australe L.
subsp. australe

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Blechnum australe subsp. australe

Photo: Petra Ballings

Blechnum australe subsp. australe

Photo: Petra Ballings

Blechnum australe subsp. australe

Photo: Petra Ballings

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Blechnum australe L. var. aberrans N.C.Anthony & Schelpe
Lomaria australis (L.) Link
Mesothema australe (L.) C.Presl
Spicanta australis (L.) Kuntze
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome thin, creeping widely, ending in a thickened, erect portion; scales dark brown, ovate-acuminate, up to 7 mm long, margins entire. Fronds tufted, dimorphic. Stipe 7-15 cm long, pale brown and glabrous at maturity. Sterile lamina 28-56 cm × 3.5-13 cm, pinnate with reduced basal pinnae and narrowly elliptic in outline; pinnae lanceolate, joined to the rhachis at least basally, glabrous or thinly grandular with entire margins and a mucronate apex. Fertile lamina usually longer than the sterile lamina; pinnae linear, with the bases remaining lobed, basal pinnae often not fertile. Sori linear, limited to the middle part of the fertile lamina; indusium continuous.
Notes: B. australe can be distinguished from B. punctulatum by fertile fronds that are generaly longer than sterile ones, sori that are present only in the central pinna region and the adnate to sessile base of the pinnae in the sterile lamina. B. australe also has sharply pointed pinna tips or mucronate pinna bases.
Derivation of specific name: australe: southern, of the south (botanists thought this fern to be limited to the southern areas of Africa)
Habitat: Terrestrial in forest margins or lithophyte in rock crevices or at base of boulders along mountain streams, half shade.
Altitude range:
Worldwide distribution: From Kenya and Tanzania southwards to Namibia and South Africa; also Madagascar, Tristan da Cuñha, Gough and Ascension Islands.
Malawi distribution: S
Growth form(s): Lithophyte, terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 335 - 336. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 99. As Blechnum australe L.

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 27. as Blechnum australe

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 9. As Blechnum australe aberrans

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 742 - 743. (Includes a picture).

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 469 - 471. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 5.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 154.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 102.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 240.

Other sources of information about Blechnum australe subsp. australe:

Our websites:

Flora of Zimbabwe: Blechnum australe subsp. australe

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Blechnum australe
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Blechnum australe
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Blechnum australe
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Blechnum australe
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Blechnum australe
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Blechnum australe
JSTOR Plant Science: Blechnum australe
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Blechnum australe
Plants of the World Online: Blechnum australe
Tropicos: Blechnum australe
Wikipedia: Blechnum australe

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Species information: Blechnum australe subsp. australe., retrieved 21 February 2024

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