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Toxic parts

Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[1]. 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[2].

Edible uses


The pith in the upper part of the trunk just below the growing point is eaten raw or roasted[3][4][5][6]. It is rich in starch[7][8] but also contains tannin and is astringent[5]. Descriptions of the taste vary from bitter to sweet, astringent and like a bad turnip[6]. The core of the plant near the growing tip is used[6]. Harvesting the stem kills the plant so this use cannot normally be condoned[6]. The stem contains about 61 kilocalories per 100g[6]. Young leaves - cooked. Harvested just before they unfurl, they are juicy and slimy, tasting like bitter celery[6].


Material uses

This species is used in New Zealand to stabilize roadside cuttings[1].
There are no material uses listed for Dicksonia antarctica.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)


Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Earth stabiliser


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Spores - can be sown at any time in a warm greenhouse. Surface sow and enclose the pot in a plastic bag in order to keep it moist. Place in light shade. Germinates in 1 - 3 months at 20°c. Prick out small clumps of plants when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a shaded part of the greenhouse for at least the first 2 years. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. The spores can be stored dry for up to 10 years[1].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Dicksonia antarctica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a sheltered woodland position and a moist soil[9][1]. Strongly resents drought or dryness at the roots[1].

A very ornamental plant[10], it is hardy to about -5°c[11][1], succeeding outdoors in the milder areas of Britain where it thrives and often self-sows in Cornish gardens[12]. One report says that some forms are hardy to at least -7°c[13]. Plants can tolerate snow but are intolerant of severe frosts[9][1]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[14]. The 'trunk' of this plant is merely the decaying remains of earlier growth of the plant and forms a medium through which the roots grow[13]. Plants can be cut down and, if they are kept moist, the top portions can be replanted and will form new roots[13]. The stump, however, will not regenerate since it is simply dead organic matter[13].

It is best to leave old fronds on the plant in order to protect the trunk from cold and desiccation[15].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Dicksonia antarctica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Dicksonia antarctica.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Dicksonia antarctica
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
partial shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    9 x 4 meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

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    "image:SoriDicksonia.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:SoriDicksonia.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:SoriDicksonia.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:SoriDicksonia.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    "image:SoriDicksonia.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    1. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    2. ? Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
    3. ? 3.03.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    5. ? Ewart. A. J. Flora of Victoria. ()
    6. ? Low. T. Wild Food Plants of Australia. Angus and Robertson. ISBN 0-207-14383-8 (1989-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Cribb. A. B. and J. W. Wild Food in Australia. Fontana ISBN 0-00-634436-4 (1976-00-00)
    9. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    10. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    11. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-00-00)
    12. ? Arnold-Forster. Shrubs for the Milder Counties. ()
    13. ? Wrigley. J. W. and Fagg. M. Australian Native Plants. Collins. (Australia) ISBN 0-7322-0021-0 (1988-00-00)
    14. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    15. ? Taylor. J. The Milder Garden. Dent (1990-00-00)

    "image:SoriDicksonia.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.