Asplenium haurakiense


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.

Common Name(s)

Hauraki Gulf 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 haurakiense (Brownsey) Ogle



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



Asplenium flaccidium subsp. haurakiense Brownsey


Endemic. New Zealand, Three Kings Islands, Northern North Island to Waitakere Coastline in the west and Whale (Moutohoura) Island in the east


Strictly coastal. Mostly terrestrial, growing in exposed or sheltered sites, often in positions subject to salt spray, also in petrel scrub and on small offshore islands it frequently grows around petrel burrows in dense forest.


Mostly terrestrial. Rhizome short, stout, erect, bearing dark brown ovate scales with very thick cell walls, up to 20 × 2 mm. Stipes 50-200 mm (or more) long, brown on underside, green above, firm and erect, sparingly covered in small ovate scales with very thick walls. Laminae oblong to elliptic, 100-400 (or more) × 40-200 mm, ± dull or more often glossy green, thick, leathery, stiff and erect, pinnate to bipinnate. Raches green, sparingly scaly. Pinnae in 5-20 (or more) pairs, linear to narrowly ovate, acuminate, long stalked, 20-150 × 5-20 mm; degree of dissection very variable, sometimes only divided into very short obtuse segments, sometimes pinnate. Pinnules oblong and obtuse to linear and acute, up to 8 × 2 mm. Basal acroscopic pinnule frequently much longer than that next to it, up to 40 mm long, and itself pinnatifid. Sori submarginal, linear, 2-7 mm long. Spores (38-)43-49(-54) micrometre long, (20-)26-31(-38) micrometre wide

Similar Taxa

Allied to Asplenium flaccidum G.Forst. from which it differs by its mostly terrestrial growth habit, restriction to coastal areas, octoploid (2n = 288) rather than tetraploid (2n = 144) chromosome number, ovate rhizome and stipe scales (with very thick cell walls); stiffly erect rather than pendulous, usually glossy green rather than dull green, oblong to elliptic fronds; by the basal acroscopic pinnule which is frequently much longer than that next to it, up to 40 mm long, and itself pinnatifid; and by the larger spores. Asplenium appendiculatum subsp. maritimum (Brownsey) Brownsey occupies similar coastal habitats and is somewhat similar. It can be distinguished from A. haurakiense by its allopatric distribution, and by the lack of a greatly elongated basal acroscopic pinnule on each pinna.


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not Applicable - Spore Producing (Healthy plants produce spores throughout the year)

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. A very variable species which could benefit from critical horticultural selection.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 288

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Minute spores are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Occasionally sold by plant and specialist native plant nurseries.

Notes on taxonomy

Brownsey (op cit.) treated this fern as a subspecies. However, it is frequently sympatric with A. flaccidium s.s., and on occasion hybridises with it, producing sterile hybrids. Accordingly NZPCN prefer species rank. Kermadec Island group plants referred to A. flaccidium are perhaps closer to A. haurakiense. Further study is needed.




Description modified 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.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 8 Aug 2016