Fern Recognition Project

Recognition of

Native Ferns in the Field

This is an ongoing project led by Wendy Johnston of the Sunshine Coast Branch, with contributions and advice from members of the Queensland chapter of the ANPSA* Fern Study Group.

The focus of the project is the development of a  set of information sheets designed to aid the recognition of ferns in the field. Each sheet illustrates features of the fern you would expect to see with the naked eye or a lens. It is not a definitive key. Features visible in the field that may distinguish a fern from a similar fern are illustrated where possible.

*ANPSA: Australian Native Plant Society (Australia)

Species recognition in the field is guided by the attributes observed and refined according to the details given in the relevant information sheet(s) . The botanical names underlined in the table below are active links to the information sheets for the species listed. 



Genus and Species


Epi. Lith. Terr. Tree


Rockery Ground


Adiantum atroviride Y
Adiantum diaphanum Y
Adiantum formosum Y Y
Adiantum hispidulum Y
Adiantum silvaticum Y
Angiopteris evecta Y Y
Arachniodes aristata Y
Asplenium australasicum Y Y
Blechnum cartilagineum Y
Blechnum indicum Y Y
Blechnum nudum Y
Blechnum patersonii Y
Calochlaena dubia Y
Christella dentata Y
Cyathea cooperi Y Y
Davallia pyxidata Y Y Y
Doodia aspera Y Y Y
Doodia heterophylla Y Y
Drynaria rigidula Y Y Y Y
Hypolepis muelleri Y Y
Lastreopsis decomposita Y Y
Lastreopsis marginans Y Y
Lastreopsis micrisora Y Y
Lastreopsis munita Y Y
Pellaea falcata Y Y Y
Pellaea paradoxa Y Y
Platycerium  bifurcatum Y Y
Platycerium superbum Y Y
Pteridium esculentum Y Y
Pyrrosia confluens Y Y
Pyrrosia rupestris Y Y
Sticherus flabellatus Y Y
Todea barbara Y Y




        Epiphytes (Epi.)                     Ferns that grow on tree trunks.

                Lithophytes (Lith.)                Ferns that grow on rocks.

                Terrestrial (Terr.)                  Ferns that grow in soil.

                Tree Fern                                Ferns with a trunk.

                Rockery Ferns                       Ferns that grow amongst rocks.

                Ground covering Ferns       Spreading or colonizing ferns.

 Pendulous(Pend.)                Ferns with weeping fronds.