Posts categorized as Ferns

Weedy ferns

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  • Distribution of male fern, Dryopteris filix-mas, in New Zealand, based on specimens in Te Papa's WELT herbarium. Note that this is a significant under-representation.
  • Male fern

Chris Horne of the Wellington Botanical Society recently sent me a fern frond they collected on one of their trips. Although the frond is small and lacking the diagnostic reproductive characters, I think it is the introduced holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum). It looks like the shining spleenwort (Asplenium oblongifolium), but the flanges, or ‘teeth’, of the… Read more »

More rare maidenhair spleenwort.

  • These rocks are host to several plants of tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort.
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  • DNA sequence data. The highlighted position is one of several DNA sites found by Lara that differ between the tetraploid (upper two samples) and octoploid (lower two samples) maidenhair spleenworts.
  • These rocks are host to several plants of tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort.]

The rare, tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort  (Asplenium trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens) has only recently been rediscovered in New Zealand.  Several people have contacted me with possible additional sightings. As described by the Scoop website, Jack Ritchie had a maidenhair spleenwort self-sow on a rock used to construct a water feature in his nursery, Tree Guys, in Otane…. Read more »

What’s a punga?

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  • Whekī-ponga, Dicksonia fibrosa.
  • Kātote, Cyathea smithii.
  • Mamaku, Cyathea medullaris.

THIS PAGE HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED. A more comprehensive account of New Zealand’s tree ferns is available here. ‘Punga’ is a quintessential Kiwi word used to refer to tree ferns or sometimes, more specifically, the trunks of tree ferns.  But in his book A Dictionary of Maori Plant Names, James Beever does not record any tree… Read more »

Identifying maidenhair spleenwort ferns.

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  • The Button fern, Pellaea rotundifolia.
  • A maidenhair fern, Adiantum fulvum.
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The maidenhair spleenwort is a spleenwort fern (Asplenium) that (supposedly) looks like a maidenhair fern (Adiantum, see below). The 600 or so of the world’s spleenworts are characterised by having their reproductive structures in lines away from the margins of their fronds’ undersides. Two maidenhair spleenworts occur in New Zealand. They look very similar, but… Read more »

Rare fern rediscovered.

  • Maidenhair spleenwort.  This is the rare species, but the common one looks very similar.
  • Me, on top of the Ruahine Ranges.  No rare ferns sighted up here, but interesting nonetheless.
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  • Maidenhair spleenwort.  This is the rare species, but the common one looks very similar.

I’m one of the Botany Curators at Te Papa, and ferns are one of my specialties.  New Zealand has about 200 native ferns, and some of them are very rare.  We recently rediscovered one rare fern that had been ‘lost’.  I was beginning to wonder if it had become extinct, but fortunately it has not. … Read more »