G. microphylla has features of both G. rupestris and G. dicarpa. It had very fine small fronds that are a deep green colour and convex on the top like G. dicarpa. But on the undersidethey are flat or just slightly concave like G. rupestris.
I fond this specimen growing on the side of a damp sandstone cliff at the back of the house. There was some G. dicarpa growing there too. G. microphylla is meant to be uncommon in the area so I’m happy to have found it so close by.
This coral fern was helpfully marked on the Mueller track in the wildflower gardens. It was growing on sandstone near the base of a small cliff. The species wasn’t indicated, but from the description in NPOS I think it’s Gleichenia rupestris. The fronds are flat on the underside and are larger and flatter than the pouched coral fern, the stalks are hairless.
“A scrambling fern forming dense entanglements in sunny sites” – NPOS p. 313
The pouched coral fern has small delicate fronds on branchletts that sprout from a central stalk. On some plants the colour of the frinds lightens as they move furthar allong the branchlets. I’m not sure why this is, could it be new growth?
On the underside of the fronds are tiny pouches that contain the spores. The pouches are a diagnostic feature that set the it apart from other coral ferns, and of course the origin of the common name. The pouches really are small, I had to look at them through a hand lens the first time properly visualize them. Now I know what to look for they seem visible to the naked eye.