Table Mountain Fern
Blechnum tabulare, also recognised as the Table Mountain Fern, is a captivating fern variety native to the mountainous landscapes of South Africa, particularly the renowned Table Mountain in Cape Town. The fronds of Blechnum tabulare are deeply divided, lending an elegant and intricate visual appeal. Very old plants form a trunk, much like a tree fern, although due to the leaf shape, mature plants are more reminiscent of a Cycad. This fern exhibits remarkable adaptability and resilience, thriving in diverse conditions, from sunlit spots to partial shade.
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The horticultural history of Blechnum tabulare, the Table Mountain Fern, is marked by growing appreciation and cultivation beyond its South African home. Initially documented by European explorers and botanists in the 18th and 19th centuries, the fern sparked interest for its unique qualities. It found its way into botanical gardens, such as Kew Gardens in London and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in South Africa, becoming an emblematic species.
Its deeply divided fronds and adaptability made it a sought-after ornamental plant, suitable for various climates and landscaping. Moreover, its cultivation contributed to the conservation of this species, safeguarding its genetic diversity beyond its native habitat. Today, Blechnum tabulare is a cherished addition to gardens worldwide, symbolising the connection between South African biodiversity and global horticulture.
Care & Size Guidance
Blechnum tabulare, the Table Mountain Fern, flourishes in partial to full shade, making it suitable for areas with indirect sunlight. The soil should be well-draining with consistent moisture, but avoid overwatering. Prune damaged fronds as needed, and there’s no need for frequent fertilisation. In colder regions, plant in a very sheltered position and protect it from frost as it is only tolerant of brief dips to -3°C. This fern’s low-maintenance nature makes it an attractive garden or landscape choice.
Blechnum tabulare, or the Table Mountain Fern, typically reaches a mature size of about 60-90 centimetres in height. It forms a compact and low-growing clump of finely divided fronds. The spread of this fern can vary, but it generally extends to a diameter of 60 to 90 centimetres. Its modest size makes it well-suited for use as ground cover or as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes where its unique appearance and adaptability can be appreciated. It is important to note that specific growth may vary depending on environmental conditions and the care provided to the plant.