Parablechnum novae-zelandiae


novae-zelandiae: of New Zealand

Common Name(s)

kiokio, horokio, palm leaf fern

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


Parablechnum novae-zelandiae (T.C.Chambers et P.A.Farrant) Gasper et Salino



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



Stegania procera var. stipulosa A.Rich.; Blechnum capense sensu Cheeseman; Lomaria capensis sensu Cheeseman; Lomaria procera var. flagelliformis Szyszyl.; Blechnum novae-zelandiae T.C.Chambers et P.A.Farrant


Endemic. New Zealand: Kermadec Islands (Raoul Island), North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands


Coastal to montane. One of the most widespread, abundant and easily recognisable ferns in New Zealand. Widely known by the Maori name "kiokio" Blechnum novae-zelandiae is most conspicuous in areas of high rainfall along roadsides, cliff faces, ravines and river banks. It also commonly establishes in pine (Pinus spp.,) plantations and is a common urban "weedy" fern in some parts of the country.


Rhizome short-creeping, very robust in larger specimens, occasionally suberect or erect; scales to 16 × 3 mm, linear or lanceolate, acuminate, light reddish brown, sometimes dark at base, more or less entire. Fronds dimorphic, erect or pendulous, 0.09-0.3 m (in dry exposed places and in swamps) -3.5 m long (on stream banks) × 35-500 mm wide, widest mid frond; sterile and fertile fronds usually similar length. Stipes 0.08-0.75 m (stipes of fertile fronds often shorter than stipes of sterile fronds), stout, to c.10 mm diameter, pale brown or pinkish brown, darkening at base, scaly, especially at the base; scales 2-20 × 1-3 mm wide, but mostly small and appressed, ovate, reddish brown, concolorous or "black-spot", entire or branched at their bases. Lamina ovate or lanceolate, bright mid green at maturity, 1 -pinnate, 5-50 pairs of pinnae. Rachis and costae pale pinkish brown, with sparse to moderately dense scales and irregular fine short tangled hairs; scales 3.0-15.0 × 1.0-1.5 mm, variable in shape from linear to ovate or sometimes stellate, pale brown, reddish brown, "black spot" (especially conspicuous for costal scales), or sometimes entirely concolorous (juveniles and plants growing in swamps, and most plants on the Kermadec islands), entire or toothed. Sterile pinnae 20-350 × 6—30 mm, oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate, apices acute, acuminate, or attenuate, or, in juveniles and smaller plants growing in swamps, obtuse; cuneate, truncate, or rounded-cordate at rachis; sub-petiolate at base of lamina, adnate and decurrent at apex; mostly coriaceous but almost membranous in juveniles and plants growing in swamps; margins minutely toothed, more so near apices; veins simple or once-furcate; small-branched or stellate scales often extending on to lower surface of pinnae; basal pinnae rounder and nearly always significantly shorter than middle pinnae, with 2-11 pairs of sterile auricles (small plants from swamps, very harsh conditions, and from low light conditions may lack auricles); terminal pinna longer than subterminal pinnae. Fertile pinnae 20.0-250 × 1.5-6.0 mm, narrow, linear, sessile at base of lamina, becoming basiscopically adnate at apex; basal pinnae often with sterile auriculate segments at their bases, the lowermost sometimes completely sterile and auriculate; sori covering under surface except for auriculate zone and the short sterile apical region; indusium brown, laciniate; spores 40-60 × 32-43 µm.

Similar Taxa

Parablechnum novae-zelandiae is recognised by the basal pinnae which are always significantly shorter than the middle pinnae; by the presence of well developed auricles at the base of sterile and fertile fronds; by the rachis and/or abaxial costae usually bearing numerous peltate scales furnished with a clearly defined "black-spot"; and by the straight, acute, acuminate or attenuate, coriaceous and closely spaced pinnae (spacings usually < 10 mm between adjacent pinnae)


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh spores and whole plants, transplants well and flourishes in most conditions. Needs room to spread, often self establishes and can sometimes become aggressive in a small garden


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 56

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Taxonomic Notes

Plants referred to this species on Raoul Island (Kermadec Islands) may require further study, these plants are uniformly green (without the strong pink colouration typical of this species in New Zealand proper), and the stipe and rachis scales often lack a black spot. However, taken as a whole these plants still fit within the current circumscription of Parablechnum novae-zelandiae.

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). See also the comments by Pyner (2017).

Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Parablechnum novae-zelandiae Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=1552 (Date website was queried)


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (7 March 2012). Description adapted Chambers & Farrant (1998).

References and further reading

Chambers, T.C.; Farrant, P.A. 1998: The Blechnum procerum (“capense”) (Blechnaceae) complex in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 36: 1-19.

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