APS Sutherland: Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve Virtual Tour

15 - Fern garden

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Australia has a wealth of beautiful ferns, with more than 400 different species. Many Australian ferns grow in Joseph Banks Reserve. Generally ferns need cool, sheltered positions. Many grow to perfection in damp parts of the garden too shaded for most other plants. But some are very hardy and are sufficiently versatile to grow among flowers that prefer about half sun.

Ferns are a very ancient group of plants. Evidence from fossils in ancient sedimentary rocks indicates that plants with fern-like foliage and plants allied to ferns had become abundant by about 350 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs.

Ferns do not produce flowers, fruit or seeds. Reproduction may be by spores, runners or bulbils. Spores are grouped in distinctive patterns on the underside of the fronds. When released, the spores are dispersed by wind and water. Ferns range from small delicate plants less than one centimetre tall to large tree ferns over 10 metres tall.