butterfly fern, walking fern, necklace fern
Chamaefilix flabellifolium (Cav.) Farw.; Asplenium flabellifolium var. ramosum Colenso
Vascular – Native
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.
2n = 277-280
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Indigenous. New Zealand: North and South mostly easterly from the Bay of Islands. Also present in Australia
Coastal to subalpine. Usually in dry rocky ground, on lava and scoria fields, in grassy areas, within scrub, or along river banks in moderately open alluvial forest. Never found in deep shade or dense forest.
Rhizome short, erect, bearing dark brown subulate scales with long filiform apices up to 6 × 5 mm. Stipes 1-10 cm long, green or yellow-green, slender, lacking scales. Laminae linear, 70-250 × 10-25 mm, light green, flaccid and often prostrate, pinnate. Raches green, weak, lacking scales, frequently extending beyond the uppermost pinnae and rooting at their apices. Pinnae 8-25 pairs, gradually decreasing in size from base to apex, fan shaped, crenate-dentate, cuneate at base, lowest 5-15 × 5-20 mm. Sori radiating along veins, up to 6 mm long.
Recognised by the distinctive lax green or yellow-green fronds which root at the apices, are < 30 mm wide and usually have > 8 pairs of fan-shaped pinnae; and by the stipe and rachis which lack scales.
Not applicable - spore producing
Not applicable - spore producing
Easily grown. An excellent pot and hanging basket fern. Can be slow establish. Prefers semi-shade, and should be planted in a fertile, free draining soil, or among rocks.
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.
flabellifolium: Fan-shaped foliage; from the Latin flabellum and folium
Where To Buy
Occasionally sold by plant and specialist native plant nurseries.
Description from 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: 39-86.