Todea barbara

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King fern
Todea barbara - University of California Botanical Garden - DSC08896.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida /
 Pteridopsida (disputed)
Order: Osmundales
Family: Osmundaceae
Genus: Todea
Species: T. barbara
Binomial name
Todea barbara
(L.) T.Moore

Todea barbara is known as the king fern. Occurring in moist areas of south eastern Australia, and also indigenous to New Zealand and South Africa.

It grows up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall, but has a short stumpy base. Occasionally the King Fern is found in drier sites in rock crevices

Todea barbara showing trunk
King Fern closeup of frond



In South Australia, the Todea barbara fern is increasingly rare, with small groups occurring in just a few disparate localities in the Mount Lofty Ranges.

The largest remaining stand was in Uraidla on private property, on the upper reaches of "Deep Creek", a tributary to Sixth Creek in the Torrens Catchment. In the 1970s, many ancient two metre tall fern trunks were removed by a plant poacher at night, possibly under the mistaken belief that they were tree ferns, which can transplant readily. Mature King Ferns do not. There are a few remnants in this gully today and some local native plant specialists have propagated plants from spores from this site which may be grown in the home garden or planted along creek edges.


The Australian native plant industry has propagated many from spores. They can be readily acquired through nurseries as an ornamental plant for gardens and natural landscaping. Most of these will be of Victorian or NSW origin.


External links[edit]

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