Blechnum from the Greek 'blechnon', the name for ferns in general. Wattsii named in honour of William Walter Watts (1856-1920), who was considered one of New South Wales's greatest authorities on mosses and ferns.
Distribution and status
Found on Kangaroo Island, southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower South-east in South Australia, growing in swamps, along streams or on banks. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)
Erect fern creeping, sometimes branched rhizone clad in dark brown scales. Fronds spread along rhizome, erect, harsh, to 125 cm tall, young fronds tinged pink to bronze. Lamina of the frond is divided into pinnae which are longer near the centre of the frond, decreasing in size towards both the tip and base, lower pinnae scarcely shorter than those above, not widely separated, margins finely toothed. Sterile and fertile fronds dissimilar with Fertile fronds commonly taller than sterile. Fruits are dark brown sori along the edge on the underside of the fronds. Seeds are ripe spores are dark brown or black.
Seed collection and propagation
Look under the fronds and collect ones with spores and place in a seal paper bags to prevent spores from fulling out. Leave fronds in the paper bag to dry. The spores will fall off naturally or give the fronds a gentle shake. Use a very fine sieve to separate any unwanted material. Be careful as the spores are very fine. Store spores in an air tight container in a cool and dry place or in a -20oC freezer.