Blechnum brasiliense

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Epithet means "from Brazil."

Evergreen, 2 to 4 ft. (60 to 120 cm). Zones 9 and 10, or greenhouse.

description: The rhizome is erect, eventually lifting to form a stipe-stubbled trunk of 12 in. (30 cm) in circumference. Fronds form a dramatic upright shuttlecock of open foliage. The succulent, short, 2-in. (5-cm) stipes are dark with matching chocolate-colored linear scales. The obovate blade is widest above the midpoint and tapers strongly at the base.

Blechnum brasiliense in the Fernery at the Morris Arboretum.

Twenty-five to 30 pairs of pinnae are long-pointed and sessile. The species is monomorphic with matching sterile and fertile fronds, the latter bearing linear slots of sori along the pinnae midribs. The trunk occasionally produces an offshoot that can be carefully amputated for propagation purposes.

range and habitat: Not surprisingly this species is native to humid sites in Brazil as well as elsewhere throughout South America. An extremely disjunct population is reported to exist in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

culture and comments: New growth is a striking, saturated vermilion, fading in time to shiny green. This fern is an Oscar-winning attraction in greenhouse luxury where it appreciates bright light, neutral loamy soil, and a humid atmosphere.

'Crispum (curled) has wavy pinnae margins and is very attractive.

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