Asplenium appendiculatum subsp. maritimum


Asplenium: From the Greek a- 'without' and splene 'spleen', a northern hemisphere species, the black spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum-nigrum), was once believed to be a cure for diseases of the spleen.
appendiculatum: appendiculate, with small appendages or projections, hanging in small fragments
appendiculatum: Having small appendages
maritimum: From the Latin mare 'sea', meaning growing on the sea shore

Common Name(s)

Coastal Spleenwort

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Asplenium appendiculatum subsp. maritimum (Brownsey) Brownsey



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class



Asplenium terrestre subsp. maritimum Brownsey; Asplenium flaccidum var. littoralis Dobbie


Endemic. New Zealand: North and South Islands – mainly around the Cook Strait but known as far south as Banks Peninsula and Kahurangi Point, and as far north as the Waitakere coastline, west of Auckland.


Coastal. Usually on exposed cliffs and rocks subject to salt spray, or amongst coastal scrub.


Rhizome short, erect, bearing dark brown subulate scales up to 15 × 2 mm. Stipes 50-150 mm long, brown below, green above, covered in subulate to narrowly triangular scales with long filiform apices. Laminae relatively short and broad, elliptic, 100-250 × 70-200 mm, dark green, leathery or very thick and fleshy, slightly stiff and upright, bi- to tripinnate. Raches green, scaly, prominently ridged. Pinnae 7-15 pairs, those at the base ovate, those above very narrowly ovate, acute, stalked, 30-100 × 5-30 mm, covered on underside in tiny scales. Upper pinnules linear, acute, entire and sessile; lower pinnules ovate to elliptic and pinnatifid, up to 20 × 10 mm. Sori submarginal, 2-7 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Differs from Asplenium flaccidum G.Forst. by its strict terrestrial growth habit, being octoploid (2n = 288) rather than tetraploid (2n = 144) and by having a more or less erect frond and a larger spore size. It can be distinguished from A. haurakiense (Brownsey) Ogle by its allopatric distribution, and by the lack of a greatly elongated basal acroscopic pinnule on each pinna. Asplenium appendiculatum (Labill.) C.Presl subsp. appendiculatum differs from subsp. maritimum by its preference for inland habitats, somewhat larger, lanceolate to elliptic fronds which tend to droop, more pinnae pairs, with those at the base ovate, and those above very narrowly ovate or elliptic, often with long relatively undivided acuminate tips; and by the lower pinnules being larger, and narrowly elliptic and pinnatifid to pinnate


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Easily grown. A very attractive fern which can be rather slow growing. Best in a large pot or planted in a deep, rich, moist soil in semi-shade. Prone to scale and mealy bug infections.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 288

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Asplenium appendiculatum subsp. maritium Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=1519 (Date website was queried)


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (3 February 2005): Description from: Brownsey (1977)

References and further reading

Brownsey, P.J. 1977: A taxonomic revision of the New Zealand species of Asplenium. New Zealand Journal of Botany 15: 39-86.

This page last updated on 2 Mar 2017