Tristan-Goughian Fern Brush

The fern-brush includes various ferns, but the two main species are Blechnum palmiforme (Blechnaceae), an endemic dwarf tree fern growing to about 1 m in height, and the endemic Histiopteris incisa (Dennstaedtiaceae). Also common in the fern-brush, is the evergreen tree Phylica arborea, which occurs on several other oceanic islands, but the genus is centered on South Africa, and absent from South America. These small trees are often covered in epiphytic bryophytes, which often include the endemic moss Micromitrium antarcticum. Under storey species usually comprise Empetrum rubrum and the endemic ferns Asplenium alvaradense (Aspleniaceae) and Gymnogramma cheilanthoides (Adiantaceae).


Tristan-Goughian Wet Heath

In the absence of heather species (Ericaceae), Empetrum rubrum (Empetraceae) is the indigenous dominant of wet heath together with various sedges and grasses. Other important vascular plants include Apium australe and the endemic Acaena stangii (Rosaceae), while the ferns mainly include Blechnum penna-marina and the endemic Elaphoglossum laurifolium and E. succisifolium (Elaphoglossaceae).


Tristan-Goughian Mire

Hygrophilous bryophytes including Jamesoniella grandiflora, Rhacocarpus humboldtii and various sphagna (such as Sphagnum magellanica) are some of the more important peat forming species. Important vascular plants here include Tetroncium magellanicum (Juncaginaceae) and various sedges such as the endemic Scirpus sulcatus and S. thouarsianus (Cyperaceae).


Tristan-Goughian Feldmark and Montane Rock Vegetation

Much of the uplands are covered in cushion, mat forming and crevice plants.  The main vascular plants include Empetrum rubrum and various small tufted grasses such as the endemic Agrostis carmichaelii (Poaceae). Other endemic flowering plants are the rush Rostkovia tristonensis (Juncaceae), while important lower plants include the fern Grammitis magellanica, the clubmoss Lycopodium magellanicum and the bryophytes Racomitrium crispulum and R. lanuginosum.

Further information required.



Baird, D. E. et al. 1965. The biological report of the Royal Society Expedition to Tristan Da Cunha. 1962. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, 249: 257-434.

Bergstrom, D. M. & Chown, S. L. 1999. Life at the front: history, ecology and change on southern ocean islands. Tree, 14: 472-477.

Wace, N. M. 1960. The botany of southern oceanic islands. The Royal Society Expedition to Southern Chile. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 152: 475-490.

Wace, N. M. 1961. The vegetation of Gough Island. Ecological Monographs, 34: 337-367.

Wace, N. M. 1965. Vascular Plants. In: Biogeography and Ecology in Antarctica. Eds. J. Van Mieghem, P. Van Oye and J. Schell. Dr Junk Publishers. The Hague.

Wace, N. M. & Holdgate, M. W. 1958. The vegetation of Tristan Da Cunha. Journal of Ecology, 46: 593-620.