Asplenium oblongifolium


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.
oblongifolium: oblong leaves

Common Name(s)

Shining 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 oblongifolium Colenso



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 lucidum G.Forst.; Asplenium lucidum var. paucifolium Hook.; Asplenium obtusatum var. integrifolium Szyszyl. in Wawra; Asplenium obtusatum var. lucidum (G.Forst.) Hook. et Baker; Asplenium durvillei Mett. in Kuhn; Tarachia lucida (G.Forst.) Momose


Endemic. New Zealand: Kermadec, Three Kings, North, South, and Chatham Islands. In the South Island known from the Marlborough sounds south to Hokitika and Banks Peninsula


Coastal to montane (but mostly found within coastal and lowland areas). Occupying a diverse range of habitats from coastal cliffs and rock stacks to deep forest where it may be an epiphyte or grow on the ground.


Rhizome stout, often forming a hard woody mass above ground, bearing pale brown, shiny, ovate, acuminate scales up to 30 × 7 mm. Stipes 80-200 mm long, dark brown, stout, densely covered in narrow scales with very long filiform apices. Laminae oblong to elliptic, 0.18-1.00 m long, 100-350 mm wide, dark green and glossy above, pinnate. Rachis brown below, green above, stout, slightly ridged, scaly. Pinnae 4-15 pairs, lanceolate to narrowly oblong or ovate, acuminate, crenate-serrate to ± entire, cuneate at base, 40-150 × 10-30 mm, frequently covered in very small hair-like scales on the underside. Sori up to 20 mm long, not reaching lamina edge.

Similar Taxa

Often confused with Asplenium obtusatum G.Forst. for which it is distinguished by the rachis and foliar scales which have very long hair-like apices, and by the pinnae which are firm (usually not thick and fleshy), glossy above, and acuminate to ± acute. Some forms of A. oblongifolium found on rock stacks along the west coast of the North Island (from about Kawhia south) would repay further investigation was these have distinctly dull, rather coriaceous, fleshy, fronds, and broader rachis and foliar scales, thus intergrading somewhat with A. obtusatum. These features are retained in cultivation.


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Easily grown though often rather slow to establish. An attractive and popular plant widely used for mass plantings in shaded sites. An excellent pot plant. Be vigilant for scale and mealy bug infestations which are a bane to the cultivation of all New Zealand asplenia.


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).

Where To Buy

Commonly available from plant and specialist native plant nurseries.



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 29 August 2007. 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 10 May 2014