Asplenium trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens
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 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: DP, RR, SO, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: RR, SO, Sp
2009 | Data Deficient | Qualifiers: SO
2004 | Data Deficient
Indigenous. In New Zealand known only from a few collections from the eastern Hawke’s Bay where it was recently discovered (2008) at a few sites. It is also in Australia, Europe and probably elsewhere.
Unclear. Apparently lowland and at one site (Tangoio) it was collected from limestone outcrops. Other than that we know very little about it. It is suspected that a few collections probably came from gardens, and their status as representing truly wild populations is suspect.
Plants tetraploid. Rhizome stout, erect, bearing dark brown subulate scales up to 5 mm long. Stipes 10–100 mm long, dark brown, shining, stiff, lacking scales except at the very base. Laminae linear, 50–300 mm long, dark green, sub-coriaceous, pinnate. Raches dark brown, shining, stiff, lacking scales. Pinnae sub-sessile, 15–25 (or more) pairs, oblong to more or less orbicular, crenate-serrate to more or less entire, 2–10 × 1–5 mm. Sori up to 3 mm long. Spores 34–39 microns long.
Easily recognised by the stiff and erect, simply pinnate fronds which are < 30 mm wide; bearing > 8 pairs pinnae; and by the brown stipe and rachis which is completely without scales. Two cryptic subspecies exist, one is hexaploid (2n = 216) and so has larger spores and is further distinguished by having larger darker scales while subsp. quadrivalens is tetraploid (2n = 144), so has smaller spores. It has finer, smaller, lighter scales.
Not applicable - spore producing
Not applicable - spore producing
Difficult - should not be removed from the wild
Unknown. This subspecies has only been collected a few times in New Zealand and recent attempts to rediscover it at these locations have so far been unsuccessful
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.
trichomanes: From the ancient Greek name used by Theophrastus and Dioscorides, for a type of fern; refers to the slender hair projecting from each spore case
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Notes on taxonomy
The other widespread plant referred to A. trichomanes is a hexaploid which appears to be endemic to New Zealand (it maybe in Australia). This cytorace may yet be described as a new subspecies or even subspecies as part of a European based revision of the A. trichomanes complex (L. Perrie pers. comm.). Until that time we retain the name A. trichomanes for this widespread hexaploid fern.
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.