Schizaea dichotoma


dichotoma: Forked or divided into pairs

Common Name(s)

Fan fern

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 - SO, Sp
2009 - SO


Schizaea dichotoma (L.) J.E.Sm.



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



Indigenous. In New Zealand confined to the Kermadec Islands (Raoul Island) and North Island from Te Paki south to Kawhia and Mt Maunganui, and locally around geothermally active sites around Rotorua and Taupo. Widespread from Madagascar east to Australia and across the Pacific.


Usually associated with lowland kauri (Agathis australis (D.Don.) Lindl.) forest but also found in coastal areas and offshore island under pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa Sol. ex Gaertn. ) dominated forest (e.g., Mayor (Tuhua) Island). In geothermal areas it is often found under shrubs of Kunzea ericoides var. microflora (G.Simpson) W.Harris.


Tufted, widely creeping fern forming diffuse patches in open, often semi-shaded sparsely vegetated ground; usually arising from within thick leaf litter. Stipes 100-350 x 1.-1.5 mm, brown at base, green to dark green, erect, flattened, flabellate in upper portion with stipe forked 3-6(-8) times, smooth. Laminae at apices of stipe ends, pinnate (fertile), 2-7 mm long, bright green to yellow-green. Pinnae in 5-8 pairs, infolded, 2-4 mm long. Description modified from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth 2000.

Similar Taxa

None. The combination of the dark green, flattened, fan-shaped frond with each stipe end (of the fan) surmounted with a fertile laminae are unique to this species within the New Zealand representatives of the genus.


Not applicable - spore producing

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Not applicable - spore producing

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Not Threatened. A naturally uncommon, biologically sparse species. It can at times be very common but it is usually found as widely scattered populations. There is little doubt that some populations have declined due to land development and other changes in the surrounding vegetation (e.g., Mt Maunganui)

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange July 2005. Description modified from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth 2000.

References and further reading

Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. Auckland, David Bateman

This page last updated on 17 Jan 2014