Blechnum wattsii

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Epithet is after William Watts (1856-1920),a collector in Australia.

Evergreen, 2 to 3 ft. (60 to 90 cm). Zones 8 (with caution and serious protection) and 9, or greenhouse. Dimorphic.

description: The rhizome is creeping, producing numerous closely spaced upright fronds. Buff-colored, grooved stipes, with shiny dark brown scales at the base, are up to one-half of the frond length. Narrow, lanceolate blades are once-pinnate with 10 to 15 pairs of slightly stalked pinnae and a long terminal apex. Slender, upright, fertile fronds are taller than the sterile with the sori and their indusial wrap covering the entire undersides of the linear fertile pinnae.

range and habitat: This species is an endemic colonizer in moist woods, decorating waterfall environs and streambanks in Australia, where it grows in the company of the tree fern Dicksonia antarctica. It is very closely related to, and sometimes classified as synonymous with, the New Zealand native, Blechnum procerum.

culture and comments: Young fronds are lightly frosted with a rosy patina, contrasting in a comely fashion with the darker foliage of older growth. Although the species comes readily from spores, it tends to resent transplanting and will collapse unexpectedly with a change in scenery. The preferred planting site is in shaded, close humid confines with humusy soil and a consistent supply of moisture at the plant's root zone. A greenhouse setting serves nicely.

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