Botrychium lunaria


Botrychium: bunch of grapes; from the Greek botrus; grape like spore clusters

Common Name(s)


Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Critical

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 - Threatened - Nationally Critical
2004 - Threatened - Nationally Critical


2012 - CD, RR, TO
2009 - RR


Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw.



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



Osmunda lunaria L.


Indigenous. New Zealand, South Island, where it is known from Hoary Head and Billies Knob, Kahurangi National Park, North West Nelson. There is also an old gathering made from somewhere on Mt Torlesse, Canterbury. New Zealand plants appear to be the same as the form known from Australia


Alpine. Growing in short turf within limestone and marble karst systems


Diminutive fern. Sterile laminae fleshy, pinnate, 10-50 x 5-20 mm, bearing 4-5 pairs of dark green, fan-shaped pinnae. Fertile laminae overtopping sterile. 1-3 times branched, bearing numerous yellow-brown sporangia c.10 mm diam.

Similar Taxa



Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild


First recorded in New Zealand from Mt Torlesse, Canterbury in 1882 it was not seen again until 1980 and 1983 when it was discovered on Hoary Head and Billies Knob on the Mt Arthur and Mt Owen Ranges of Kahurangi National Park. At neither location is it common, and it remains vulnerable to browsing animals, weeds and from human recreational activities such as caving and tramping. It is very vulnerable to plant collectors.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not Commercially Available.

Taxonomic Notes

de Lange et al. (2009) treat this fern as Botrychium aff. lunaria. This is because New Zealand and Australian plants (which seem to be the conspecific) appear to be distinct from the northern hemisphere form of B. lunaria (which is where the type specimen comes from). Urgent research is needed to determine the exact relationship of this highly threatened fern to B. lunaria sens. strict.


Fact Sheet by P.J. de Lange 6 June 2005. Description from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).

References and further reading

Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand ferns and allied plants. David Bateman Ltd, Auckland

de Lange, P.J.; Norton, D.A.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Hitchmough, R.; Townsend, A.J. 2009: Threatened and uncommon plants of New Zealand (2008 revision). New Zealand Journal of Botany 47: 61–96.

This page last updated on 12 Nov 2014