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Genus Blechnum Family Blechnaceae

Synonyms: Doodia APNI*

Description: Terrestrial, or rarely epiphytic, ferns; rhizome erect, sometimes creeping or forming a short trunk, covered with scales; stipes not articulated to the rhizome.

Fronds uniform or dimorphic with the fertile fronds usually much narrower than the sterile, vernation circinate; lamina simple, 1-pinnatifid or 1-pinnate, usually leathery.

Sori linear parallel with the midvein, one on each side of, and continuous along the midvein of the frond or segment or one or more rows of linear, discontinuous sori along the midvein and on the frond (the old Doodia); indusium linear, membranous, opening towards the midvein.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: 150–200 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: c 25 species, all States.

Text by Peter G. Wilson & Matt A.M. Renner
Taxon concept: Christenhusz MJM, Zhang X-C, Schneider H. 2011. A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns. Phytotaxa 19: 7-54.

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Blechnum contiguum,    Blechnum fullagarii,    Blechnum geniculatum,    Blechnum howeanum

 Key to the species 
1Sori short, initially discrete, usually in two rows on each side of the midvein, sometimes becoming confluent with age and covering the lower surface of the segment; veins of fertile and sterile fronds anastomosing, rarely free in the latter
2Fronds 1-pinnatisect for most of their length, most segments attached by a broadened to decurrent base3
Fronds with more than 1 pair of pinnae free, sessile to shortly stalked
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4
3Sori in one row on each side of the vein and located very close to it, usually 2–3 mm longBlechnum maximum
Sori in 1 or 2 rows on each side of the midvein and distinctly separated from it, ± circular, 0.51.5 mm long, sometimes becoming confluent with age
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Blechnum neohollandicum
4Fronds not markedly dimorphic, harsh, ± leatheryBlechnum parrisii
Fronds usually dimorphic, almost membranous to ± leathery
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5
5Fronds pinnately divided for most of their length, but often with an apical pinna half to two-thirds the length of the lamina; various habits from creek banks in rainforest to open rocky areasBlechnum spinulosum
Fronds undivided for half to two thirds of their length, with a few pairs of short, broad pinnae at the base; protected sites in rainforest and open forest
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Blechnum lineare
6Fertile and sterile fronds similar, with the fertile pinnae or segments usually somewhat narrower than the sterile ones.7
Fertile and sterile fronds distinctly different, fertile segments or pinnae less than half as broad as the sterile ones.
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10
7Sterile segments attached by broad bases.Blechnum cartilagineum
Sterile pinnae distinctly stalked, at least in the lower third of lamina.
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8
8Fronds erect from an erect rhizome, shiny green; margins of pinnae ± equally finely toothed for their entire length.Telmatoblechnum indicum
Fronds usually pendent from a creeping rhizome; margins of pinnae becoming more coarsely toothed towards their tips.
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9
9Fertile pinnae more than half as broad as the sterile pinnae.Blechnum gregsonii
Fertile pinnae less than half as broad as the sterile pinnae.
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Blechnum ambiguum
10Fronds simple or 1-pinnatifid (often mixed on the one plant), never divided to the rachis.Blechnum patersonii
Fronds 1-pinnatisect or 1-pinnate.
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11
11Sterile segments attached to rachis by their broad bases.12
Sterile segments stalked, at least in the lower half of the lamina.
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15
12Sterile segments free from one another for most of the length of the frond.Blechnum fluviatile
Sterile segments with decurrent bases.
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13
13Rhizome long-creeping; sterile segments with rounded apex.Blechnum penna-marina
Rhizome short-creeping or erect; sterile segments with acute apex.
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14
14Lamina very rigid; sterile segments with entire margins, 35–120 mm long in the middle of the frond; rachis dark and glossy.Blechnum nudum
Lamina flaccid; sterile segments with crenate margins, 10–25 mm long in the middle of the frond; rachis not glossy, usually straw-coloured.
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Blechnum chambersii
15Basal pinnae only slightly smaller than the middle pinnae.16
Basal pinnae much reduced in size.
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17
16Rhizome scales dark brown to black, with a pale border and finely toothed margin; fertile pinnae 2–3 mm wide.Blechnum wattsii
Rhizome scales brown to reddish brown; fertile pinnae 3–10 mm wide.
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Blechnum ambiguum
17Lowermost sterile pinnae 5–15 mm long, circular.Blechnum minus
Lowermost sterile pinnae mostly over 20 mm long, occasionally only 15 mm long, ovate to lanceolate, sometimes auriculate at the base.
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Blechnum camfieldii

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