Dicksonia - Dicksoniacaea

Dicksonia antarctica Labill.






Common name


Caudex massive, erect or sometimes curved, c. 1.0-2.5 m tall (15 m in Australia), 1.5-3.0 m diameter, brown, buttressed at base, densely covered in matted brown aerial roots. Fronds numerous, borne in flushes, with fertile and sterile fronds often in alternating layers. Stipe up to 3 m long, stout, smooth or slightly set with warts; stipe base persistent towards the crown; basal hairs dense, rust-coloured, up to 4.5 cm long. Lamina 1.8-4.0 m long, oblong-lanceolate in outline, 3 pinnate, dark green and shiny above, paler beneath, coriaceous, somewhat harsh. Pinnae longest in the middle of lamina, 3-4 m long; ultimate segments decurrent; lobes of fertile pinnules cut to c. halfway to the costules. Rhachis green above, chestnut-coloured below, hairy becoming subglabrous. Sori round to oval, c. 1 mm in diameter, solitary on each lobe, set on raised mound at the end of veins at the pinnule margin; protected by inrolled portion of pinna margin and membranous inner indusium.



antarcticus: of the South Pole region, beyond 45 ° S; type specimen was collected in Tasmania.


In damp, sheltered woodland slopes and moist gullies, and they occasionally occur at high altitudes in cloud forests; in South Africa in Newlands Forest at the Cape peninsula.

Distribution worldwide

South Africa (naturalised), southeastern Australia.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa.

Growth form



  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 266 - 267. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 68.