The mountain blechnum, as Blechnum tabulare is commonly known, is a large and attractive fern suitable for gardens with ample water. Blechnon means fern in Greek and tabulare refers to Table Mountain. This was where the first encounter with the plant took place that led to recording of a scientific description of it, as well as the conferring of a formal internationally recognised name for it.
Many people would also have seen the same plant in other parts of its large habitat across Sub-Saharan Africa. Usually long before the first scientist ever saw the species... like many people knew the Victoria Falls as the smoke that thunders before David Livingstone "discovered" and named the famous waterfall in 1855 in honour of his Queen.
B. tabulare has rhizomes with large surface scales. The spreading rhizomes may develop clumps of stems over time where conditions allow. The leaflets or pinnae on the large fronds are leathery, hairless on top and have entire margins.
The plant grows where shade and water are readily available, thrives when regularly available. The partial unfurling of the whorl of reddish curled-in leaflets can be observed in the picture (www.plantzafrica.com; Wikipedia).
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