Botrychium australe


Botrychium: bunch of grapes; from the Greek botrus; grape like spore clusters
australe: southern, from the Latin australis

Common Name(s)

parsley fern, patotara

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 - DP, EF, SO
2009 - DP, SO, EF


Botrychium australe R.Br.



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



Botrychium ternatum var. australe (R.Br.) Domin; Botrychium australe var. erosum (Milde) Prantl; Botrychium cicutarium var. virginicum (Hook.f.) Linds.; Botrychium ternatum var. erosum (Milde) Milde; Botrychium virginicum sensu Hook.f.; Sceptridium australe (R.Br.) Lyon; Botrychium australe var. typicum R.T.Clausen; Botrychium cicutarium sensu Hook.f.; Botrychium erosum Milde; Botrychium ternatum sensu F.Muell.


Indigenous. Throughout North and South Islands with one old Chatham Island record. Present in Australia, Papua New Guinea and South America.


Lowland to alpine. A species of open ground, short and tall tussock grassland, forest clearings, shrubland, river flats, reverting pasture and seasonally flooded ground. It has also been collected from the margins of peat bogs in the Huntly Basin, lower Waikato.


Red-green (bronze) to bright green, fleshy to succulent plant. Roots thick, fleshy, distinctly ridged and contracted. Sterile laminae 1(-2), stalked, broadly ovate or 5-angled, divided 3-5-times, 30-250 x 30-150 mm, the ultimate segments blunt-ended, 1-7 mm wide. Fertile laminae 1(-2) borne on a narrower but longer stalk, fertile portion shorter and narrower than sterile laminae, divided 3-5-times, bearing numerous, spherical, yellow-brown sporangia up to c.10 mm diam.

Similar Taxa

Closest to Botrychium biforme Colenso from which it differs mainly by its less divided, blunt-ended sterile frond segments. The roots of B. australe are distinctly ridged and contracted. Those of B. biforme are not.


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild.


Generally uncommon and of sporadic distribution. In some habitats it can be locally abundant, but in many places it is now scarce. There is some evidence of losses happening in the northern part of its range but as yet this seems insufficient to warrant a higher threat listing

Chromosome No.

2n = 90

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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




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

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 11: 285-309.

This page last updated on 12 Nov 2014