Common Name: Smooth Nardoo
Smooth nardoo is a fern producing solitary, or clumps, of fronds up to 90cm tall at intervals along a long, creeping, much-branched rhizome.
Its sporocarps were gathered from the wild and used as a food by the native Australian Aborigines, though they have potential health disbenefits. (see notes on toxicity).
Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
The sporocarps of this species also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of vitamin B1. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. Fairly resistant to heat, the quantity of enzyme can be greatly reduced by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant[
Australia - Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, southern Tasmania, Northern Territory.
Edges of ponds and lagoons, on river banks and in deep water[
]. Shallow water in seasonally wet habitats[
Found in tropical and subtropical areas.
Most species produce sporocarps as their habitat dries. Spores of some species retain viability within the sporocarp for nearly 70 years; thus species can survive in areas of infrequent rainfall[
Spores - cooked[
]. A source of starch, the spores can be ground into a powder and used like flour. They are astringent and highly indigestible. The spores are contained in a sporocarp. The sporocarps are a rich source of thiaminase, an enzyme that can destroy vitamin B1 in the diet[
]. As such, they are best viewed as a temporary food of last resort[
Spores. The plant produces sporocarps, these need to be lightly abraded and then immersed in water. The sporocarps will then swell and burst to release the spores. The spores germinate immediately, the highly developed prothallus remains inside the large seed-like spores. The gametophyte generation is completed in 24 hours and the first roots and shoots appear in 2 - 3 days. Mature plants bearing sporocarps can develop in as little as 3 months[
Spore germination in the family occurs after rupture of the sporocarp wall allows the sporocarp contents to be hydrated. A gelatinous structure emerges from the sporocarp, breaking it into valves and carrying the sori into the water. Spore germination (gametophyte growth) and fertilization occur immediately[
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