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Genus Blechnum Family Blechnaceae

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.


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

A proposal to split Blechnum into 15 genera by Gasparay et al. (2016) was adopted by the global Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group. This split maintains the genus Doodia, which rendered Blechnum sens. lat. paraphyletic.

Text by Peter G. Wilson & Matt A.M. Renner
Taxon concept: Chambers and Farrant (1998) and Flora of Australia Volume 48.

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Blechnum fullagarii

 Key to the species 
1Sterile and fertile fronds more or less similar, though the pinnae or segments on fertile fronds are usually somewhat narrower than the on sterile fronds.2
Sterile and fertile fronds rather different, fertile pinnae less than half as broad as the sterile ones.5
2Sterile pinnae adnate, attached to the rhacis by broad bases.Blechnum cartilagineum
Sterile pinnae distinctly stalked, at least in the lower third of lamina.
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3
3Fronds 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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4
4Fertile 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
5Fronds simple or 1-pinnatifid (often mixed on the one plant), with few pairs of widely alternate pinnae that are never divided all the way to the rachis.Blechnum patersonii
Fronds 1-pinnatisect or 1-pinnate, with many pairs of closely spaced alternate pinnae that are either divided all the way to the rachis, or very nearly so.
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6
6Pinnae not stalked, lamina fused with rachis on one (the side toward the frond apex) or both sides of the costa throughout the sterile lamina.7
Pinnae stalked, lamina not fused with rachis on either side, at least in the lower half of the sterile lamina.
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11
7Sterile pinnae in basal half of frond fused and decurrent down the rachis on both sides of the costa. Stipe with or without scales8
Sterile pinnae in basal half of frond with lamina free and auriculate on the basal side of the costa, fused and decurrent down the rachis on the apical side of the costa. Stipe with long thin scales
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Blechnum fullageri
8Sterile pinnae free from one another for most of the length of the frond.Blechnum fluviatile
Sterile pinnae with decurrent bases.
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9
9Apex of sterile segments rounded to obtuse, generally rather blunt.Blechnum penna-marina
Apex of sterile segments acute to acuminate, generally rather pointed and sharp.
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10
10Pinnae margins on sterile fronds entire, fronds rigid, 35–120 mm long in the middle of the frond; rachis dark and glossy.14
Pinnae margins on sterile fronds crenate, fronds flaccid, 10–25 mm long in the middle of the frond; rachis not glossy, usually straw-coloured.
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Blechnum chambersii
11Basal pinnae only slightly smaller than the middle pinnae, more than half the length of the middle pinnae.12
Basal pinnae much reduced in size, much less than half the length of the middle pinnae; sometimes only the basal pinna pair only are reduced and these may be quite small and displaced some distance down what appears to be the stipe.
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13
12Rhizome 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
13Lowermost 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. Sterile pinnae often auriculate at the base.
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16
14Fronds bent at a sharp angle at the junction between the stipe and the rhacis. Sterile and fertile fronds triangular-ovate in outline. Pinnae 15–18 mm wide at their attachment with the rhacisBlechnum geniculatum
Fronds not bend at the junction between the stipe and rhacis. Sterile and fertile fronds lanceolate in outline. Pinnae 8–9 mm wide at their attachment with the rhacis
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15
15Pinna apex narrowly rounded or acute but not drawn out into a sharp tailing point. Rhizome short-creeping or erect, sparsely covered in broad dark-brown to black scales.Blechnum nudum
Pinna apex acuminate, drawn out into a sharp tailing point. Rhizome long creeping, densely covered in narrow red-brown scales at the apex.
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Blechnum contiguum
16The larger scales on underside of costa brown throughout, no darker spot at their baseBlechnum camfieldii
The larger scales on underside of costa brown and usually with small dark-brown to black spot at their base
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Blechnum howeanum

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