Gleichenia polypodioides, the coral fern or in Afrikaans kystervaring (coastal fern), is a much branched creeping fern, a rhizomatous perennial of coastal land from the Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, east Africa and Madagascar. The habitat of the coral fern is rocky land with high rainfall at low altitude, prone to fog.
The plant may cover patches of land in impenetrable thicket, smothering some competitive vegetation. It is a pioneer plant of disturbed terrain such as plantation land after harvesting.
This indigenous fern is less known in South Africa than it deserves, sometimes thought to be an exotic invader. There are ten species of Gleichenia in the genus (Wikipedia; Bean and Johns, 2005).
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