Dicksonia fibrosa


Dicksonia: After James Dickson (1738-1822), British botanist and nuseryman
fibrosa: fibrous, from the Latin fibra; matted fibrous trunk

Common Name(s)

wheki-ponga, wheki-kohoonga, golden tree fern, kuripaka

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


Dicksonia fibrosa Colenso



Brief Description

Stout tree fern up to 10 m tall. Trunk solitary, dense, made of red-brown interwoven rootlets, Fronds forming dense crown, dying and leaving a tidy, persistent skirt beneath crown.

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



Dicksonia sparmanniana Colenso; Dicksonia antarctica var. fibrosa (Colenso) Kirk; Dicksonia fibrosa var. microcarpa (Colenso) C.Chr.; Balantium fibrosum (Colenso) Fée; Dicksonia antarctica sensu Hook.f.; Dicksonia microcarpa Colenso


Endemic. North, South, Stewart, and Chatham islands. Uncommon north of the Waikato River and Coromandel Peninsula


Coastal to montane, Usually in forested situations, often in riparian sites or at gulley heads.


Stout, non-rhizomatous tree ferns, up to 10 m tall. Trunk up to 1 m diameter, very dense, composed of tightly interwoven, red-brown rootlets, entirely without aerial buds. Fronds numerous, persistent in death, and forming a dense, pendent skirt; in life erect and arching, forming a dense, tight crown 1.2–2.8–3.6 m long, 300–480(–600) mm wide. Stipes 100(–300) mm long, pale brown to red-brown (sometimes golden-brown), smooth, base densely clad with persistent, soft, light red-brown hairs; immature rachises initially clad in soft, pale brown hairs, otherwise glabrate. Lamina (0.9–)2.5–3.3 m long, lanceolate, (2–)3–4-pinnate, abaxially glossy dark green, adaxially paler, harshly coriaceous, primary pinnae 150–280(–300) mm long, lanceolate, long tapering, ± acuminate; secondary pinnae 40–50 mm long, lanceolate, close-set to ± overlapping. Barren pinnules 5 mm long, subfalcate, acute, toothed or entire, widened and confluent at base, shallowly concavo-convex; fertile pinnules rounded, concavo-convex lobes. Sorus ± ovoid to rounded, terminating veins at fertile pinnae margins; sporangia on raised receptacle, partially obscured by in rolled pinnae margin, and submembranous inner indusium. Spores golden brown to red-brown.

Similar Taxa

Dicksonia fibrosa is easily recognised by its non-rhizomatous tree fern growth habit; dense, stout trunk (reaching up to 1 m diameter) and comprised of thickly interwoven red-brown rootlets, and never bearing aerial buds; by the smooth stipes; and by the dead fronds forming a dense, pendent, persistent tidy skirt


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh spores, and also by transplants of mature trunked specimens. A beautiful but slow-growing species that does best in cooler climates, in a damp, humus-enriched soil.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 130

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Commonly available from most mainline and specialist native plant nurseries.

Taxonomic Notes

Very closely allied to the Australian Dicksonia antarctica R.Br.


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (10 October 2010). Description by P.J. de Lange

References and further reading

Duguid, F. 1978. Annual growth of new fronds on Dicksonia fibrosa. Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin, 40: 48-49


This page last updated on 30 Dec 2014