Tree Ferns and Grass Trees

I love Xanthorrhoeas, Tasmanian Grass trees. They are not common and it is illegal to take them from the wild. Mostly in coastal sandy heath lands, you can see them in areas like Sisters Beach or around the Bay of Fires and Coles Bay but

Christine and her Xanthorrhoeas

Christine and her Xanthorrhoeas

they are disappearing under development pressure and because of root rot, phytophthora cinnamomi. There are about three species endemic to Tasmania and are very slow growing with one species Australis, taking decades to reach the point of developing the black trunks for which they are famous. It is hard to find them in nurseries since many don’t keep them in order to stop the illegal trade. However, it is possible to source tiny specimens from reputable nurseries and so I have embarked on my own, Save the Xanthorrhoea project by purchasing six and

The Tasmanian tree fern

Tasmanian tree fern

planting them in pots. Clearly they will reach maturity long after I am gone but hopefully they will eventually develop trunks and give the next generation a plant to admire.

So too with Dicksonia Antarctica, the Tasmanian tree fern. I have two in my garden and I was out this morning admiring a new frond. How amazing is nature to throw out such a complex and delicate creation with such little fanfare. How sad it is that in Tasmania, these ferns, sometimes hundreds of years old are so carelessly sacrificed in logging operations and how pathetic the remaining ones look amidst total devastation on a clear felled coupe or charred beyond recognition after the napalm burns. Thank goodness for the protected areas where it is possible to see them in all their glory in the precious temperate forests but in the absence of a forest, they create a lovely cool fern glade as understorey in a garden.

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