Amongst the coral fern

Coral Fern Walk

This path with raised footbridge and decking was established, along with Margaret Adams Bridge, in 1987.

Shows the northern entrance to the Coral Fern Walk, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Coral Fern Walk, northern entrance

The trail is along the western side of the reservoir, and takes in coral fern (gleichenia microphylla) growing up to 1.5 metres alongside the post-and-rail fencing.

Shows scrambling coral fern along Coral Fern Walk, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Coral Fern Walk, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Shows scrambling coral fern against post-and-rail fence of Coral Fern Walk, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Scrambling coral fern against post-and-rail fence of Coral Fern Walk

Shows ta view of the sea of scrambling coral fern, looking east, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Morning view of scrambling coral fern

Coral fern grows also around the Margaret Adams Bridge (named after the mayor of Moe at the time), and back to the north, alongside the eastern side of the reservoir.

Shows the Margaret Adams Bridge, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Margaret Adams Bridge

Scrambling Coral fern

Shows scrambling coral fern on western side of reservoir, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Scrambling coral fern enjoys the sunlight and moist feet.

Shows the bright green sea of scrambling coral fern, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Bright green sea of scrambling coral fern from Coral Fern Walk

The area in which this type of fern is growing here in the Reserve is good habitat for it.  Scrambling coral fern prefers moist, waterlogged soil at its roots and light on its fronds. It is a plant of the heathlands, riparian areas, dry eucalypt forest and woodland habitats and is common down the east coast of Australia.

It grows from rhizomes with each stem growing up to two metres high. The stems are red brown and hairy but smooth out as they mature. Each stem can have many branches. The upper stem branches fork up to three times. Each fork consists of the main red brown stem and has divided fronds on either side. The fronds alternate down the stem and each divided frond is made up of smaller triangular sections. These triangular lobes (pinnules) have a brighter green upper surface and a paler green underneath.

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Underneath there are spore clusters, shiny yellow and brown, found in each lobe (pinnule). These occur in groupings of two to five and turn brown when they’re mature. Pouched coral fern (gleichenia dicarpa) has also been seen in the Edward Hunter Heritage Reserve. It has a white undersurface and there are two spore clusters for each pinnule.

Shows under surface of scrambling coral fern, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Under surface of scrambling coral fern is paler green and sori (clusters of spores) can just be seen: yellow and brown, numbering two or more

Green glow

During the summer, the coral fern has browned off but when the moisture is constant, as in this time of year, it glows almost acid green when the sun shines.

Shows the bright green sea of scrambling coral fern, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

A sea of bright green: scrambling coral fern, looking north

You can see this green glow in the satellite image from Google maps which shows the lighter green of the coral fern against the darker green of the eucalypt canopy.

Shows the bright green of the coral fern against the eucalypt cannopy, in the satellite view from Google maps, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Satellite view of coral fern against eucalypt canopy, taken from Google maps

Sources and further references

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Tasmania (nd) Notesheet Gleichenia dicarpa http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/Attachments/LJEM-7CV6QX/$FILE/Gleichenia%20dicarpa%20Notesheet.pdf

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Tasmania (nd) Notesheet Gleichenia microphylla http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/Attachments/LJEM-7CV6UU/$FILE/Gleichenia%20microphylla%20Notesheet.pdf

Wilson, P. G. (2011) Gleichenia microphylla R.Br., PlantNET http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Gleichenia~microphylla

Wilson, P. G. (2011) Gleichenia dicarpa R.Br., PlantNET http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Gleichenia~dicarpa

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