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Calochlaena dubia (DICKSONIACEAE) False Bracken

Image: Habit

A fern
Photo: Robert Whyte

Also known as Common Ground Fern, Soft Bracken, Rainbow Fern. Until recently plant was known as Culcita dubia. Widespread in tall open forest, usually on poorer soils.

Rhizome usually stout, covered with soft, silky, pale and dark brown hairs. Fronds 0.4-1.5 m high, erect with drooping tips.

A pretty ground fern on hillsides adjacent to tree fern gullies and other moist open areas. Its pale green fronds arise from creeping rhizomes with soft, silvery, silky-brown hairs.

It can spread readily in areas where there is a little more light than in the deepest parts of the gullies. It is very hardy to sunlight and frost.

Image: Frond closeup


A fern

Easy to grow in the garden but can take over if it likes the conditions. The discoloured older leaves can be cut back hard. Propagation by separating rhizomes or allow its spores to spread in favourable propagating conditions.