Asplenium scleroprium


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.

Common Name(s)

Southern Shore Spleenwort

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse


2012 - Sp


Asplenium scleroprium Hombr.



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 aucklandicum (Hook.f.) Crookes; Asplenium lucidum var. aucklandicum (Hook.f.) Allan; Asplenium obtusatum var. scleroprium G.M.Thomson; Asplenium flaccidum var. aucklandicum Hook.f.; Asplenium lucidum var. scleroprium (Hombr.) T.Moore; Asplenium scleropium Hombr.


Endemic. New Zealand, South, Stewart, Chatham, Snares and Auckland Islands. In the South Island uncommon, known only from Bluff Hill and at Sandy point, Invercargill.


Coastal. A species of exposed sites on rocky headlands, cliff faces and at the margins of coastal shrubland. Usually found growing with and amongst Asplenium obtusatum.


Stout, tufted fern. Rhizomes stout, erect, fleshy, densely invested in blackish-brown scales. Stipes 150-500 mm long, stipes and rachises brown below, green above. Covered in dense subulate scales. Laminae ovate to narrowly ovate or elliptic, pinnate, 150-500 x 80-200 mm, dark green, blue green, thick, somewhat fleshy, leathery, bearing scattered scales. Pinnae 50-130 x 10-20 mm, ovate to narrow ovate, apices tapering, margins regularly and deeply toothed. Sori up to 10 mm long, reaching margins at indentations

Similar Taxa

Most likely to be confused with A. obtusatum with which it frequently grows and sometimes hybridises with. From that species it differs by its prominently and regularly toothed pinnules with tapering rather than blunt apices, and by the sori which reach the margins at the pinnule indentations.


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique



Aside from its mainland occurrences near Invercargill this species is not threatened. However nowhere is it common, the largest populations are probably on the Auckland Islands.

Chromosome No.

2n = 288

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Minute spores are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Fact Sheet prepared for the NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (12 August 2006). Description based on 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(1): 39-86.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 24 Jun 2017