The upperside of a fertile frond of the stumpy tree fern, Dicksonia lanata. The spherical spore-producing structures can be seen poking out from the underside of the frond where they are aggregated on the margins. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

2 Responses

  1. Leon Perrie

    Hi Maurice,
    I have seen what you’re describing, at least in Dicksonia lanata and possibly in other Dicksonia too. I suspect that fertile parts of the frond age (and die) faster, as do fertile fronds compared to entirely sterile fronds.
    The effect is possibly more pronounced in the Dicksonia species with strongly dimorphic sterile and fertile laminae (e.g., http://blog.tepapa.govt.nz/2012/10/31/new-caledonian-ferns-with-close-relatives-in-new-zealand/dicksonia_thyrsopteroides_nc144_mandjelia5_reduced/), but I don’t have good photos of this as I avoid photographing dying/dead fronds!

  2. Maurice Wilkins

    We have a large group of this fern at Arduaine Garden on the west coast of Scotland and I noticed last year what I thought were dying fronds and went to remove them. I then discovered that the large patches of brown tissue on the upper surface corresponded with the sori on the lower surface. I’d not seen this on a fern before.


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