Posts categorized as Ferns

Fern Teaching Resource

Microsorum pustulatum, Hound's Tongue Fern.  (c) Te Papa.

Ferns now feature on the Science Learning Hub. Ferns at the Science Learning Hub. You can find out more about: What exactly is a fern? How ferns are identified and classified. The origins of New Zealand’s ferns. The role of a botany curator. The hen and chickens fern. And a whole lot more… Te Papa… Read more »

Queensland attractions

  • Unfurling fronds of the Ptisana (Marattia) oreades, a relative of para, New Zealand’s king fern.  Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • The attractive cycad Bowenia spectabilis.  Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Flowering inflorescence of the root parasite Balanophora.  This is related to New Zealand’s bat-pollinated Dactylanthus.  Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • New Zealanders are pretty familiar with the koru, an unfurling fern frond.  But Australia’s prickly tree fern, Cyathea leichhardtiana, does it a bit differently.  It unfurls the leafy parts of a frond only after the “stem” parts of the frond (technically the rachis and the costae) are nearly fully extended.  Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Despite my previous post, Queensland’s rainforests were far from entirely unpleasant.  The below caught me eye (and of course there were lots of interesting ferns too!). New Zealand’s king fern.

Vampires in the leaf litter

  • A Dendrocnide stinger tree. This nettle-relative packs a particularly nasty poisonous punch if you have the misfortune to touch any part of it (including the trunk!). Not as ferocious-looking as our tree nettle, but I’m reliably informed the sting is worse. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • An echidna. A monotreme mammal like the platypus. Cute but spiky. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Spikes on the stems of rattan palms. These palms also had fine, hanging trendils, which were easy to walk into because they were hard to see, but difficult to subsequently escape because they had barbed spikes. Photos by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • The impressively armed leaf of what we believe is a Solanum (relative of tomato, potato, and poroporo). Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

There’s trauma in this leaf litter – can you see it?! A downside to fieldwork in Australia is the number of things that will bite, impale, or otherwise injure. We had several wet days when the leeches were out in force. At one site, half of our group suffered a leech in the eye –… Read more »

Queensland fern fieldwork

Asplenium carnarvonense is only known from a few gorges in inland southern Queensland. The gorges provide respite for ferns and other moisture-loving plants in what is otherwise an arid landscape. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

I was recently in Queensland, Australia, working with colleagues from the University of Melbourne to collect ferns for DNA analyses. We were principally after the spleenwort Asplenium ferns, and drove large distances in pursuit of the different species. 27 of Australia’s 30 species of Asplenium occur in Queensland, which has a rich fern diversity. New… Read more »

Big travels for little ferns

Lindsaea trichomanoides. (c) Leon Perrie.

Lindsaea are small dainty ferns that are easily overlooked. Three species are indigenous to New Zealand. Recent DNA-based research (Lehtonen et al. 2010) implies that each got here independently; i.e., there were three separate dispersal events. This is because the three species in New Zealand are each more closely related to an overseas species than… Read more »

Collections Online update: Taxonomy browser

Aptenodytes forsteri

Since we released the new version of Collections Online  in July last year we’ve made the odd fix, or a new feature here and there. You probably don’t notice them but hopefully they’ve made your browsing experience a bit easier.  However recently we’ve done a couple of things we thought were worth pointing out. First up,… Read more »

New Fork Fern

Banks Peninsula fork fern, Tmesipteris horomaka. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

We have just described a new species of Tmesipteris fork fern. Fork ferns are odd looking and only distantly related to other ferns. We now recognise five species in New Zealand. There are only about 15 species around the world, with Australasia their strong-hold. The new species has been named Tmesipteris horomaka. It is only… Read more »

Identifying Asplenium hookerianum in Victoria

  • Asplenium gracillimum (a hen & chickens fern), Alpine National Park, Victoria. Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.
  • Polystichum proliferum (mother shield fern), Toolangi, Victoria. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Leon Perrie, Wellington.
  • Asplenium hookerianum (left top and middle) and Asplenium flabellifolium, Alpine National Park, Victoria. Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.
  • Asplenium flabellifolium (necklace spleenwort), Northern Territory, Australia. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Leon Perrie, Wellington.

From our search in Victoria’s Alpine National Park, we suspect the rare Asplenium hookerianum (Hooker’s spleenwort) is actually much more common there than previously recognised. But more searching is needed to confirm this.  Searching for Asplenium hookerianum in Victoria’s Alpine National Park.  Asplenium hookerianum can be distinguished from the other ferns it occurs with in… Read more »

Searching for a rare Australian fern

Asplenium hookerianum (Hooker’s spleenwort), Alpine National Park, Victoria.  Photo by Leon Perrie, Curator. © Museum of New Zealand.

While visiting family in Melbourne, I took the opportunity to go fern hunting. Asplenium hookerianum is a rare fern in Australia.  With Melbourne University’s Daniel Ohlsen and Mike Bayly, we went searching for the two populations recorded from Victoria’s Alpine National Park. How to recognise Asplenium hookerianum in Victoria. We were successful, relocating the known… Read more »

Baby ferns

Baby ferns. Photo by Leon Perrie. © Leon Perrie, Wellington.

A spot in my garden is being colonised by baby ferns. The toppling of a gum tree last year created bare ground. After a few months, this has now been smothered by little ferns, the biggest only a few cm long. Baby ferns are difficult to identify, but I suspect these are water fern (Histiopteris… Read more »