Local Government Partners :: ACT Government, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional CouncilSupported by :: Australian Native Plants Society (ANPS) Canberra Region, Gearys Gap/Wamboin Landcare Group
Home Plants Ferns and Clubmosses

Histiopteris incisa

Bat's wing fern at Mount Ainslie

Histiopteris incisa at Mount Ainslie - 1 Jun 2021
Histiopteris incisa at Mount Ainslie - 1 Jun 2021
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Identification history

Histiopteris incisa 1 Jun 2021 dcnicholls
Unidentified 1 Jun 2021 JaneR

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Significant sighting

2 Jun 2021

Confirmation that this locally rare fern survived the drought years at its Mt Ainslie Quarry location

Author's notes

only one plant, growing out of a moss bed. I hunted for others, but couldn't find any. No sori on underside of frond.


dcnicholls wrote:
   1 Jun 2021
Was this anywhere near the old quarry on Mt Ainslie? Before the bushfire in the 1990s (?) destroyed the overcanopy, there were some healthy Batswing ferns (H. incisa) growing in the moist seep in the quarry, as well as one or two Cyathea australis tree ferns.
   2 Jun 2021
Aaron saw 4-15 plants back in 2013 at this site - but he may have included some bracken in that count - good to see that it still survives here after the drought, but one plant sounds very perilous. Maybe use of a drone would be a good way to do a thorough survey. David does this species of fern need other plants to produce viable spores?
JaneR wrote:
   2 Jun 2021
yes, this was the old quarry. I poked around quite a bit as I was hoping the wet winter-spring would have lead to a flush of ferns and liverworts. Sadly the site is looking a bit battered: and drier than expected. Lots of slogans painted onto quarry walls give it a "disused doesn't matter" appearance: only a few bottles (less than I expected from the slogans) but they don't help. The battered appearance is further helped by mature trees that have been uprooted (at least one) and fallen across the quarry floor, opening it up to sun even more: but the branch debris might be good restoration in the long-term. I got there the steep way, clambering up hill on a well-defined not-so-used trail. I noticed that a trail coming in from higher up was much used: discourageing easy access might be worthwhile for biodiversity reasons ? .
Ferns present were bracken and Cheilanthes;; lots mosses; liverworts disappointing. Certainly no sign of Cyathea. Quarry walls looked rather bare.
dcnicholls wrote:
   2 Jun 2021
Michael, As far as I know H. incisa will spread by spores quite happily. I have see in on the lower slopes of Blue Range (well before the Radiate pines were removed in the 1990s), so. like Cyathea, it seems to spread a long way on the breeze. It does like sheltered areas with ground moisture, but the fact that it is hanging on despite the lack of overcanopy is remarkable.
   2 Jun 2021
Perhaps we can do some plantings or encourage seedlings/saplings o grow to produce shade with the long term aim of increasing Bat's Wing Fern numbers and re-introducing the Cynthea? Perhaps Silke your group could apply to next years environmental grants
SilkeSma wrote:
   2 Jun 2021
Thanks Michael, I'll run the idea past the Weeders.
dcnicholls wrote:
   2 Jun 2021
In the late 1970s, there was good eucalypt woodland coverage providing shelter for things growing in the quarry. The ferns included Pteridium esculentum, Adiantum aethiopicum, Histiopteris incisa and Cyathea australis. I'd be surprised if Cheilanthes spp and Aslpenium flabellifolium were not present, though I don't remember seeing them. In all it was a nice unexpected fern hotspot. So restoring the over-canopy would be an interesting experiment. The sort of ferns that grow in the SW gully on Black Mountain I'd expect to return here
JaneR wrote:
   3 Jun 2021
Certainly there was lots of Cheilanthes and bracken: I was searching the ground (floor of quarry) -and would say that Cyathea and Asplenium were not present: the walls looked barren. Some loose scree where people have scrambled may once have had plants such as ferns.
Overall the condition was sad: definitely needing some TLC !

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Location information

Species information

  • Sensitive
  • Rare or uncommon Native
  • Non-Invasive

Sighting information

  • 1 - 3 Abundance
  • 1 Jun 2021 03:33 PM Recorded on
  • JaneR Recorded by

Additional information

  • 10cm to 30cm Plant height

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  • Confirmed by an expert moderator
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