Dicksonia fibrosa

"Wheki-ponga"
"Golden Treefern"

This is a smaller species of Dicksonia from New Zealand that looks almost like a miniature of D. antarctica.  It grows in formidably cold areas of New Zealand, at elevations up to 2,700', and some of its provenances are nearly as hardy as D. antarctica, able to withstand 18-20°F.  The trunk develops rather slowly and attains a mature height of only about 16'.  Its fronds closely resemble those of D. antarctica, but shorter, growing only 5-7', and even more "plasticy."  The hairs on the stipes do not have quite such a reddish look, but more of a golden-brown.  A few have worked their way into cultiavtion in the United States and Britain, but sadly they often seem to be mistaken for D. antarctica in California.

Dicksonia fibrosa is very beautiful and easy to grow, and useful in situations where D. antarctica is too large to fit.  Like D. antarctica, it will do well in a site with morning sun and afternoon shade, but tolerates quite a bit of sun in cool climates.  In Britain it is often planted under trees, since it will fit nicely there, and the trees offer some shelter from the cold.  Root development of imported plants is such that the young trunks often take on a conical shape.

Dicksonia fibrosa in habitat in New Zealand.  Photo courtesy of Peter Richardson.

Dicksonia fibrosa, photo by the author.  This plant at Fancy Fronds Nursery in Gold Bar, Washington is stunted from spending too long in a pot.

Uncurling crozier of Dicksonia fibrosa.  Photo by the author.

Here is something rather amusing: Someone in New Zealand made a fence out of Dicksonia fibrosa trunks, and some of them took root and grew.  Photo courtesy of Peter Richardson, New Zealand.

Trunk of Dicksonia fibrosa at Fancy Fronds Nursery, Gold Bar, WA.  Photo by the author.

Developing unripe sori of Dicksonia fibrosa at Fancy Fronds Nursery; photo by the author.

A comparison of the frond of Dicksonia fibrosa (right) with D. antarctica (left), Fancy Fronds Nursery.  These ferns aren't too difficult to tell apart with a little practice - note that D. antarctica is a little "softer".  Photo by the author.

Dicksonia fibrosa in my garden in Olympia, Washington.  Photo by the author.

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