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Todea barbara

Todea barbara is not really a true treefern either, but it does grow a trunk up to 5' tall, with multiple crowns at the top, and fronds up to 4' in length.  It may resemble a very lax Dicksonia antarctica slightly in its general appearance, but the fronds look very different.  It comes from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.  This interesting natural distribution suggests it survived as a relict from when these land masses were all joined together.  It is quite adaptable, hardy to roughly 15°F, and will tolerate a considerable range of climates, but of course it needs its moisture like any fern.  It is cultivated somewhat in the Southern Hemisphere and it is in Britain but very rare.  I have never seen one in the United States.  The spore remains viable for only a few days after collecting, which makes it difficult to distribute.

More information about Todea barbara at this page.

Todea barbara in habitat, by a river in Victoria, Australia.  Photo courtesy of Scott Ridges.

Crown of a potted Todea barbara.  Photo courtesy of Scott Ridges.

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