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Useful Temperate Plants

Botrychium australe

R.Br.

Ophioglossaceae

+ Synonyms

Botrychium erosum Milde

Botrychium negeri Christ

Botrychium ternatum Hook. & Baker

Sceptridium australe (R.Br.) Lyon

Sceptridium negeri (Christ) Holub

Common Name: Parsley Fern

No Image.

General Information

Botrychium australe is a perennial fern growing 5 - 50cm tall. The plant has an erect rhizome 1 - 5cm long and thick, fleshy, contractile roots that are rich in starch. Usually only a single, succulent frond is produced each year and, in most years, sporophore are borne on a stipe 9 - 22cm long[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and scent. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens.

Known Hazards

Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[
172
Title
Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Schofield. J. J.
Publisher
Alaska Northwest Books; Alaska
Year
2003
ISBN
0882403699
Description
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.
].

Botanical References

44
Title
Flora of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Allan. H. H.
Website
http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%201.xml
Publisher
Government Printer, Wellington.
Year
1961
ISBN
-
Description
The standard work, in 5 volumes though only the first two are of interest to the plant project. Very good on habitats. There is also an on-line version.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.

Range

Australasia - New Zealand (North and South Islands), eastern Australia, New Guinea; S. America - Chile, Argentina

Habitat

Occurs along margins, tracks and open areas in sclerophyll forest and rainforest or in grassland and along stream banks; from lowland to subalpine regions[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Fern
Height0.45 m
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Botrychium australe has a very wide range from the temperate zone of South Island in New Zealand, north to the tropics of northeast Australia and New Guinea. It is also found from lowland areas to the subalpine zone. Some reports say that the plant requires greenhouse protection in all but the very mildest regions of the temperate zone[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
], though with the plant's wide range it should be possible to obtain hardier material from the south of its range or at higher elevations.
Prefers a sandy loam with just a small portion of peat[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. Requires sharp drainage[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. Best grown in an open position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. Plants can be difficult to establish. The prothalli (small plants formed when the spores germinate) of this plant form a symbiotic relationship with a mycorrhizal fungus, similar to the association of orchid seedlings with an invading fungus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Botrychium australe has contractile roots which are rich in starch and can support the plant if the single frond produced each year is damaged or lost. These roots, which can pull the plant further into the substrate, may also assist survival under very dry conditions[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
].
The plant does not always produce a new frond - it can remain dormant under soil level for at least one year.
Unlike most species of ferns, the fronds of this species grow up straight and not curled inward, crozier fashion[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
]. The unexpanded shoots are eaten[
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The plant has been used as a scent[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
]. Differing reports say that the leaves or the roots were used[
292
Title
People Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://peopleplants.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/default.aspx
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database of New Zealand plants and their Maori names and uses. An excellent information source.
].

Propagation

Spores - best surface sown as soon as they are ripe in a greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. Placing the pot in a plastic bag helps to maintain a humid atmosphere which promotes germination and growth. Prick out small clumps into pots when they are large enough to handle and keep moist until established. Grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter and plant out in late spring.
Division. It is best not to try and disturb this plant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-12-15. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Botrychium+australe>

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