Asplenium lamprophyllum


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)

None known

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 lamprophyllum Carse



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





Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (Te Paki south to near Wanganui and the northern Hawkes Bay but only common north of Mokau and Gisborne)


Coastal to montane. Mostly found within alluvial forest, always in shaded sites or on the buttresses of swamp trees, or in other forested areas on free draining soils, on clay banks, or on basalt or limestone rock outcrops and rock strewn ground. Usually forming carpet over extensive areas.


Rhizome creeping, up to 150 mm long, pale green with a few scattered scales, stoloniferous. Stipes 60-200 mm long, pale green above, brown below, deeply grooved, covered in small, very dark, triangular to ovate scales which have thick cell walls. Laminae lanceolate to elliptic, 150-600 × 70-200 mm, light green, glossy above, thin, bipinnate. Raches green, scaly, prominently grooved. Pinnae 12-20 pairs, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, acuminate, stalked, 30-100 × 5-25 mm, scaly on underside; lower pinnae themselves pinnate, upper ones pinnatifid. Pinnules sessile or shortly stalked, elliptic, often deeply serrate, 10-20 × 5-15 mm. Sori 3-10 mm long, nearer mid-vein than margin. Sporangia orange brown.

Similar Taxa

Recognised by the widely creeping, stoloniferous growth habit, bright green, membranous, glossy above, paler below, 2- or more pinnate fronds which lack bulbils, and orange-brown sporangia. The fresh fronds, when crushed characteristically smell of oil of winter green.


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Easily grown but rather slow. Does best in a semi-shaded site, planted within a deep, rich, free draining soil. A beautiful plant that deserves to be more widely cultivated.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 144

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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


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.

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 6 Dec 2014