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Blechnum chilense 1.jpg
Blechnum chilense
Scientific classification
Polypodiopsida /
 Pteridopsida (disputed)

L. 1753
Type species
Blechnum occidentale
L. 1753

See text


Lomaria Willd.

Blechnum (hard fern) is a genus of between 150–220 species of ferns with a cosmopolitan distribution, in the family Blechnaceae in the eupolypods II clade of the order Polypodiales.[1] By far the greatest species diversity is in tropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere, with only a few species reaching cool temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere (notably B. penna-marina, south to Cape Horn, Chile, the southernmost fern in the world) and Northern Hemisphere (notably B. spicant, north to Iceland and northern Norway).

Most are herbaceous plants, but a few species (e.g. B. buchtienii and B. schomburgkii in Ecuador) are tree ferns with stems up to 3 m tall. Blechnum varies from most ferns in having a separation of sterile (photosynthetic) and fertile (reproductive) fronds in the same plant.


Selected species


The circumscription of the genus has varied since it was established by Linnaeus in 1753. Some authors have put many of its species in a segregate genus Lomaria. DNA taxonomy indicates that the genus Doodia is embedded in Blechnum.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Several species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens.

Blechnum is also a host plant for the butterfly, Anartia fatima, or the banded peacock, which is common in Central America.[2][3]


  1. ^ Carl J. Rothfels; Anders Larsson; Li-Yaung Kuo; Petra Korall; Wen- Liang Chiou; Kathleen M. Pryer (2012). "Overcoming Deep Roots, Fast Rates, and Short Internodes to Resolve the Ancient Rapid Radiation of Eupolypod II Ferns". Systematic Biology. 61 (1): 70. doi:10.1093/sysbio/sys001. PMID 22223449.
  2. ^ Silberglied, Robert E.; Aiello, Annette; Lamas, Gerardo. "Neotropical Butterflies of the Genus Anartia: Systematics, Life Histories and General Biology (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)". Psyche: A Journal of Entomology. 86 (2–3): 219–260. doi:10.1155/1979/50172. ISSN 0033-2615.
  3. ^ Feldman, Tracy S.; Haber, William A. (1998). "Oviposition Behavior, Host Plant Use, and Diet Breadth of Anthanassa Butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) Using Plants in the Acanthaceae in a Costa Rican Community". The Florida Entomologist. 81 (3): 396–406. doi:10.2307/3495929. JSTOR 3495929.

Further reading[edit]

  • Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan
  • Moore, D. M. (1983). Flora of Tierra del Fuego

External links[edit]