Fishbone water fern

Lomaria nuda

''Lomaria nuda'', commonly known as the fishbone waterfern, is a fern that grows up to a metre tall, and is abundant in rainforest and eucalyptus forests in eastern Australia.
Blechnum nudum - Fishbone Water Fern  Australia,Fall,Fishbone water fern,Geotagged,Lomaria nuda

Naming

The species is placed in the genus ''Lomaria'' in the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group classification of 2016 , but is often retained in genus ''Blechnum'' as ''Blechnum nudum''.

Distribution

The fishbone water fern grows in all Australian states except for Western Australia. In most suitable habitats, this waterfern grows abundantly.

Habitat

The fishbone waterfern can grow in a range of wet forests. Like many ferns, it thrives in areas of higher water availability. Because of this, the fishbone waterfern inhabits moist, poorly drained sites. Shade is an essential factor for the fishbone waterfern due to its need for water. Poorly drained soils are also important for times of lower rainfall- this allows water to be retained in the soil, available to the plant, even when rainfall is low. However, the fishbone waterfern will grow in full sun if sufficient water is available. Thus this fern will often be found growing in roadside ditches where sun is plentiful, but water pools after running off roads. Creek beds are a similar, naturally occurring high water low rainfall habitat.

Thus, two suitable habitats are rainforest and wet eucalyptus forest. Both forest types tend to be high rainfall, with a large percentage of canopy cover to ensure shade. Fertile soils allow the waterfern to propagate and become abundant in wet eucalypt and rainforests.

Reproduction

The fishbone waterfern displays a life cycle typical of ferns. One feature of the Blechnaceae that differs from other ferns is distinct fertile and sterile fronds. While many ferns produce sporangia on the lower surface of fronds, meaning any frond could become fertile, Blechnaceae species have separate fronds for spore production. Aside from this main difference, the fishbone waterfern shows a typical sexual reproductive process to most ferns.

Vegetative growth is another strategy used by the fishbone waterfern to increase in number and size. The fern grows through an underground rhizomic stem, which spreads underground. Fronds emerge from beneath the ground via the stipe. Over time, one plant may spread its underground stems over a great distance. This asexual reproduction is common amongst ferns.

Uses

The fishbone waterfern is commonly sold in nurseries as an ornamental plant. Its hardiness and aesthetic qualities combine to make a plant that is popular among gardeners.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomPlantae
DivisionPolypodiophyta
ClassPolypodiopsida
OrderPolypodiales
FamilyBlechnaceae
GenusLomaria
SpeciesL. nuda
Photographed in
Australia