Asplenium obtusatum var. obliquum (G.Forst.) Hook.f.; Asplenium apice-dentatum Homb. et Jacq.; Asplenium lucidum var. obliquum (G.Forst.) Moore; Asplenium obtusatum G.Forst. subsp. obtusatum
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 = 144
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 (Cook Strait only), South, Chatham, Stewart, Snares, Antipodes, Auckland and Campbell Islands. Also South America as well as on many islands of the southern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
A coastal fern confined in the northern part of its range to only the most exposed situations. Further south it grows not only on exposed cliffs but also in coastal vegetation where it often forms an important association with Hebe elliptica and Blechnum durum. Frequently associated with sea bird colonies.
Rhizome stout, often forming a hard woody mass above ground, bearing brown, shiny, ovate, acuminate scales up to 15 x 4 mm. Stipes 40-300 mm long, dark brown at base, green above, stout, covered in ovate scales with acute or acuminate apices. Laminae ovate, 60-400 ~ 50-200 mm, dull green, very thick and fleshy, pinnate. Raches green, stout, prominently grooved and scaly. Pinnae 5-15 pairs, 20-narrowly ovate to oblong, obtuse to acute, crenate-serrate to entire, cuneate at base, 100 ~ 10-25 mm, scaly on the underside. Sori up to 10 mm long, not reaching to lamina edge.
Recognized by the penchant for exposed sea cliffs; by the simply pinnate, thick and fleshy fronds which are < 30 mm wide; by the stipe and rachis which is scaly; by the usually < 8 pairs of pinnae; and by the pinnae bearing scales on the underside only. Asplenium decurrens differs from A. obtusatum by its allopatric distribution, narrowly triangular scales, mostly smaller fronds, larger spores and octoploid chromosome number (2n = 288 cf. 2n = 144 in A. obtusatum)
Not applicable - spore producing
Not applicable - spore producing
Easily grown but generally rather slow. A spectacular pot plant. Thrives with added poultry manure, thus simulating its common habitat of coastal seabird colonies (Ogle 1987).
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.
obtusatum: Obtuse, or blunt
Where To Buy
Occasionally available from plant and specialist native plant nurseries although some plants sold are A. decurrens.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 29 August 2007. Description adapted 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.
Ogle CC (1987): Taxonomic changes in Asplenium (Aspleniaceae; Filicales) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 25: 591-593.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Asplenium obtusatum Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/asplenium-obtusatum/ (Date website was queried)