Fern Recognition Project (Ver. )

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



Epiphytes Lithophytes Terrestrial Tree






Adiantum atroviride Y
Adiantum diaphanum Y
Adiantum formosum Y
Adiantum hispidulum Y
Adiantum silvaticum Y
Angiopteris evecta Y Y
Arachniodes aristata Y
Asplenium australasicum Y Y
Blechnum cartilagineum Y
Blechnum indicum Y
Blechnum nudum Y
Blechnum patersonii Y
Calochlaena dubia Y
Christella dentata Y
Cyathea cooperi Y Y
Davallia pyxidata Y Y Y Y
Doodia aspera Y Y
Doodia heterophylla Y Y
Drynaria rigidula Y Y Y
Hypolepis muelleri Y
Platycerium bifurcatum Y Y Y
Platycerium superbum Y Y
Pteridium esculentum Y Y
Sticherus flabellatus Y Y
Todea barbara Y Y


                 Epiphytes                              Ferns that grow on tree trunks.

                Lithophytes                           Ferns that grow on rocks.

                Terrestrial                              Ferns which grow in soil.

                Tree Fern                              Ferns with a trunk.

               Rockery Ferns                      Ferns which grow amongst rocks.

               Ground covering Ferns      Spreading or colonizing ferns.