Tasmanian Tree Fern

Dicksonia antarctica

Type: Evergreen Fern

Exposure: Shade / Part Sun

Water: Regular

Here’s an example of “zonal denial.” Although this is the hardiest of the tree ferns, it will still be damaged by temperatures below 20F (-7C). But because this happens only rarely here (Southern Vancouver Island), the visual drama it creates makes it worth the risk. Plus, steps can be taken to protect the plant if these kinds of temperatures are expected. If you’re up for the challenge, look for a protected spot; the specimen here is growing under a fir and cedar canopy; sheltered but within the moderating influence of a nearby ocean lagoon.

Evergreen in its native SE Australia, but deciduous in colder climates, this slow grower will eventually top out at 15ft (4.5m). The fronds protrude from the top of a reddish-brown”trunk,” which is actually a part of the rhizomatous root system, and is covered with fine hairs. The fronds themselves are numerous, lacy and arch gracefully, ultimately reaching 6ft (1.8m) long or more. Their foliage is more finely textured than that of the Australian tree fern (cyathea cooperi.)