heruheru, crêpe fern, Prince of Wales feathers
Todea superba Colenso; Osmunda superba (Colenso) J.B.Armstr.
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 = 44
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
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: North, South and Stewart Islands from Waipoua Forest south but scarce north of Auckland.
Widespread in dense forest though it is mainly found in montane forest in the northern part of its range. it is especially luxuriant in areas of high rainfall reaching its greatest densities on the West Coast of the South Island
Trunks up to 1 m tall. Stipes 15-80 mm long, pale brown, woolly hairy, with ear-like lobes at base. Frond delicate, membranous, translucent, laminae elliptic, tapering equally to base and apex, 3-pinnate, 0.25-0.1m long, 80-250 mm wide, dark emerald green, woolly hairy, veins free. Primary pinnae in 35-60 pairs, crowded, basal ones 5-10 mm long, ultimate segments linear, sticking up at 90 degrees to plane of frond. Sporangia scattered on underside of pinnae (not in discrete sori), though tending to be more abundant toward frond centre. Description modified from Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth 2000.
Leptopteris hymenophylloides differs by its longer stipe, triangular frond, longer and broader pinnae, and by its ultimate lamina segments flattened in one plane. Where both species meet they commonly hybridise.
Minute spores are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Rather difficult. Best results are obtained where specimens are planted in a shaded, cool, humid site in deep humus enriched soil. Plants must never be allowed to dry out. By and large this species is only suitable for specialist cultivation and it is probably best to admire it in the wild rather than to try and grow it.
leptopteris: Thin fern; from the Greek leptos and pteris
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 10 March 2011. 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
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Leptopteris superba Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/leptopteris-superba/ (Date website was queried)