Tasmanian tree fern

Dicksonia antarctica

Its botanical name “Dicksonia” was given to it in honour of James Dickson, and its specific “antartica” comes from the Greek “ant” which means opposite, and from “arktos” which means bear, after which the arctic is named.


Living fossil plant

Species characteristics

Family: Dicksoniaceae

Origin: Tasmania, Australia

Habitat: Wet sclerophyllous forests.

Characteristics: Perennial ferns with fibrous roots, the trunk consists of a thin erect rhizome covered with a dense mass of fibrous roots and the bases of old leaves.

Flowering period: Does not flower

Uses and properties: The marrow contained in the centre of the trunk is rich in starch, it was formerly used as a food by the Aborigines of Tasmania.
Locally the dried trunks are used to make fences and the central part is carved to make objects such as bowls, flower pots, and as a support for orchids.

History and oddities

This plant, which dates back to the Jurassic, is in danger of extinction in its country of origin, Australia. It takes a decade for it to form a trunk.