Searching for a rare Australian fern

While visiting family in Melbourne, I took the opportunity to go fern hunting.

Asplenium hookerianum (Hooker’s spleenwort), Alpine National Park, Victoria. Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.

Asplenium hookerianum is a rare fern in Australia.  With Melbourne University’s Daniel Ohlsen and Mike Bayly, we went searching for the two populations recorded from Victoria’s Alpine National Park. 

How to recognise Asplenium hookerianum in Victoria.

We were successful, relocating the known populations and finding a new one.  We recorded a total of 450-500 individuals, some 200 more than previously noted.

In Victoria, Asplenium hookerianum appears restricted to rock overhangs in deep gorges.  It was odd seeing it in Eucalyptus forest.  In New Zealand, Asplenium hookerianum is much less fussy, being common on the forest floor. 

Lara, pointing to Asplenium hookerianum on this rock wall, and Daniel. Alpine National Park, Victoria. Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.

Asplenium hookerianum habitat (at the bottom of this gorge), Alpine National Park, Victoria. Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.

We wonder whether the Australian populations are derived from New Zealand, or vice versa.  We hope to test this using DNA analyses.

Findings from our previous investigations of New Zealand Asplenium hookerianum:

2 Responses

  1. Leon Perrie

    Hi Michael,
    If you email me a photo (<5Mb) of your plant, I'll see what I can do: leonp[at]tepapa.govt.nz
    Leon

    Reply
  2. D. Michael Iradi

    Hi,

    I purchased an inexpensive small potted fern in southern Florida where I live, and the species Identification was not on it.

    I want to know it’s identification for growing requirements. I have a terrace full of subtropical/tropical bog plants.

    The fern looks very similar to some of the ferns on your blog entry, most notably A. hookerianum, A. gracillimum and A. lucrosum.

    I’m not sure how to attach photos to this comment, but, I am wondering if anyone more familiar with this genus could help me to positively identify the species, which is apparently not effected by being constantly moist (i.e. sitting for months in an under pan filled with water.)

    Thanks,

    Michael

    Reply

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