Todea barbara – The King Fern
Todea barbara are similar to tree ferns, but are not really tree ferns, they are found in Qld, Vic, Tas, and S.A. Todea Barbara is also known as the ‘Royal Fern’ and ‘Austral King Fern’.
These are a very old fern dating back over 200 million years and found in fossils of Palaeozioic ages. Not widely used in landscaping although for long term plantings in shaded moist areas they could prove to be an interesting and valuable addition.
They do develop multiple crowns and the long fronds are attractive. Excellent in containers in darker areas although it does need a little room. A good fern for the corner of a very shady courtyard.
Todea Barbara are found in shaded gully areas of rain-forests. Todea papuana are also found in New Guinea.
Although the trunk itself is short to around 30 – 40 cm the fronds are long and they will reach a height of 2 – 3 metres over time.
Wholesalers generally offer smaller plants.
Excellent when planted in a shaded position near a pond or watercourse. With long arching fronds to over 2 metres long, give Todea barbara the space it needs to show off its natural growth habit.
Uses in landscaping are limited as it requires deep shade and a permanent dampness to thrive. However where these conditions exist it is very easy care.
- Botanical Name – Todea barbara
- Common Name – King Fern, Dwarf King Fern, Austral King-fern
- Family – Osmundaceae
- Origins – Eastern Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.
- Height – To around 1 metres.
- Spread – Will spread to around 2 metres across.
- Growth rate – Slow to Medium.
- Position – Part shade to shade.
- Soil – Moist humus rich
- Flowering Time – N/A
- Flowers – N/A
- Foliage – Mid to deep green..
- Frost tolerant – No.
- Drought tolerant – No.