Austroblechnum lanceolatum

Common Name(s)

Lance fern, nini, rereti

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


Austroblechnum lanceolatum (R.Br.) Gasper et V.A.O.Dittrich



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



Blechnum lanceolatum (R. Br.) J. W. Sturm; Spicanta lanceolata (R.Br.) Kuntze; Stegania lanceolata R.Br.; Struthiopteris lanceolata (R.Br.) Ching; Lomaria doodioides Brack.; Lomaria lanceolata (R.Br.) Spreng.; Blechnum aggregatum Tindale; Blechnum doodioides (Brack.) Brownlie; Blechnum chambersii Tindale


Indigenous. New Zealand: North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. Also Australia and some Pacific Islands


Coastal to montane. Usually inhabiting forested areas where it commony grows along shaded river and streams sides, or within the spray zone of waterfalls; or forms a dominant part of the ground cover in riparian forest. It also very common in coastal and lowland forest on shaded cliff faces. It becomes especially luxuriant in limestone country whereit is often a conspicuous fern of cave entrances and overhangs.


Rhizome erect to suberect. Fronds dimorphic, 0.12–0.65 m long, 20–100 mm wide, emergent fronds green, often tinged pinkish, mature fronds dark green, often tinged maroon. Stipe 0.02–0.15 m long, stramineous, becoming purple-black towards base; scales linear-lanceolate, subulate, broadly based, entire, reddish-brown. Lamina narrowly linear-lanceolate, pinnate with 17–40 or more pairs of pinnae. Rachis and costae stramineous, often dark purplish towards base on undersurface, glabrous or with very sparse short acuminate red-brown scales. Sterile pinnae oblong, weakly falcate, obtuse or acuminate, 15–32 × 5–10 mm, adnate with broad bases; margins crenate to serrate; basal pinnae shorter, more obtuse. Fertile pinnae linear, 12.0–45.0 × 1.0–2.5 mm, reduced and often sterile towards lamina base.

Similar Taxa

Austroblechnum lanceolatum and A. norfolkianum are a species pair that need further taxonomic investigation. Exact distinctions between these species are difficult. Chambers & Farrant (1998) suggest that this is due to hybridisim but the basis for that suggestion is not clear. Most field botanists distinguish these two species on the basis of distribution and ecology with A. norfolkianum known only from northern New Zealand where it is mostly found on offshore islands. In this area it is typically found on rodent-free, "sea bird" islands where it is a conspicuous member of the shaded forest floor of petrel colonies as well as the more usual shaded bank and cliff habitats. Austroblechnum norfolkianum usually has brighter green, succulent fronds without the darker pink or maroon pigmentation often seen in A. lanceolatum, and the pinna of A. norfolkianum are consistently falcate (those of A.lanceolatum less often so), while the fertile fronds of A. norfolkianum are said to be shorter than sterile ones (but this is not always the case - consider the image on this Fact Sheet taken by Jeremy Rolfe). However, none of these characters can be consistently applied. On the Kermadec islands only A. norfolkianum is known. Austroblechnum lanceolatum is easily distinguished from A. membranaceum (with which it often grows) by its larger size and longer, narrower pinna.



Flower Colours

No Flowers



Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh spores. Prefers a deep, moist soil in shaded conditions. Responds well ot regular applications of lime.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 66

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Perrie et al. (2014) advocated for a broadened circumscription of Blechnaceae whereby a number of genera traditionally recognized as distinct from Blechnum were merged within it. However, this view has not met with universal acceptance (see Gasper et al. 2016) and does not seem to be followed worldwide (PPG 2016). From a New Zealand perspective the decision to merge Doodia in Blechnum, and rejection of Diploblechnum has not been universally accepted either e.g., Wilcox & Warden (2017), and as such it is considered appropriate to follow world opinion and accept the taxonomy of Gasper et al. (2016) and recommendations of the PPG (2016).

Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Austroblechnum lanceolatum Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=1542 (Date website was queried)


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (19 September 2012). Description adapted from Chambers & Farrant (1998)

References and further reading

Chambers, T.C.; Farrant, P.A. 1998: Blechnaceae. Flora of Australia 48: 359-384. ABRS/CSIRO Australia, Victoria

Gasper, A.L.; de Oliveira Dittrich, V.A.; Smith A.R.; Salino, A. 2016:  A classification for Blechnaceae (Polypodiales: Polypodiopsida): New genera, resurrected names, and combinations. Phytotaxa 275: 191–227.

Perrie, L.R.; Wilson, R.K.; Shepherd, L.D.; Ohlsen, D.J.; Batty, E.L.; Brownsey, P.J.; Bayly, M.J. 2014: Molecular phylogenetics and generic taxonomy of Blechnaceae ferns. Taxon 63(4): 745-758.

PPG 1: The Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group 2016: A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 54: 563-603.

Pyner, T. 2017: A new classification of Blechnum. British Pteridological Society. https://ebps.org.uk/new-classification-blechnum/

Wilcox, M.; Warden, J. 2017: Botany of Hillsborough coast bush reserves, Manukau Harbour, Auckland. Auckland Botanical Society Journal 72: 32-46.

This page last updated on 5 Sep 2017