‘Cerberus’ Manfern spotted in Tasmania’s Northwest!

A three-headed manfern (Dicksonia antarctica) found in Northwest Tasmania! Of all places, it was found growing as a cultivated specimen at the carpark of Bischoff Hotel, Waratah, Northwest Tasmania.

This 1.5m or so tall monstrosity of a manfern reminded me of Cerberus of Greek and Roman mythology, the monster usually depicted with three heads which guards the gates of Hades.

Plants like tree ferns usually tend to be single trunked as they only have a single growing axis, pretty much like the majority of palm species.

A perusal through The Ferns of Tasmania by Michael Garrett provided an explanation. Michael is a prominent Tasmanian pteridologist and commercial fern grower. He notes in his book that:

Multiple crowned specimens are commonplace, most often resulting from where several sporelings have grown together with the same vigour.

Now I look forward to seeing a ‘hydra’ manfern!

About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
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