Nephrolepis var. pseudolauterbachii Hovenkamp et Miyam. appears to be a new name for the same species in the Polynesian part of its range; Nephrolepis auriculata (L.) Trimen
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 = 164
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.
2018 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
Previous conservation statuses
2017 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: RR, SO
2012 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: RR, SO
2009 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: RR, SO
2004 | Range Restricted
Indigenous. Known with certainty from New Zealand, Raoul, Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands, and also Fiji and Rarotonga. This species may also be in Samoa and Sri Lanka and it is probably wide ranging throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It may also be in Australia.
Abundant in coastal forest and scrub on Raoul Island, otherwise in New Zealand confined to the North Island where it is only known from active geothermal fields from about Kawerau south to the Rotorua Lakes District to Lake Taupo, where it reaches a world southern limit at Tokaanu near Turangi.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
FACU: Facultative Upland
Occasionally is a hydrophyte but usually occurs in uplands (non-wetlands).
Rhizomes short, erect, stoloniferous. Stolons without tubers. Fronds pinnate, at first erect but tending to droop with age (0.1-)0.8-1(-1.5) m x (10-)20(-50) mm (including stipes); yellow-green to dark green, narrowly lanceolate, gradually tapering toward apex; rachis bearing subulate scales, margins fringed with many short hair-like processes. Pinnae in 50-60(-80) or more pairs, deltoid-oblong or oblong, subsessile, closely adjacent and overlapping rachis, often with an enlarged basal auricle. Sterile pinnae (5-)10-15(-25) x (4-)6(-10) mm; margins entire to subentire, crenulate or serrated towards apex. Fertile pinnae distinctly shorter, margins crenulate (rarely serrated). Sori submarginal, indusia reniform, opening toward pinna apex.
Frequently confused with the naturalised and highly aggressive N. cordifolia, from which it is easily distinguished by its non-tuberous habit. Both species also differ by their chromosome number, 2n = 82 in N. cordifolia and 2n = 164 in N. flexuosa, and by their spore morphology and size. N. flexuosa tends to have narrower more gracile fronds which are typically drooping, while those of N. cordifolia are wider, stouter and invariably rigidly erect.
Spore bearing fronds may be found throughout the year
Spore bearing fronds may be found throughout the year
Easy from division of whole plants, and also from fresh spores, which take about 6-8 months to fertilise and produce young plants.
Very common on Raoul Island. In the North Island it is confined to active geothermal fields where it can be locally common, though more often than not it is scarce. At least one population near Kawerau is threatened by the spread of N. cordifolia which has become well established at that site. Many populations are threatened by the spread of black berry (Rubus fruticosus agg.) and other weeds, and at least one has gone extinct over the last ten years.
nephrolepis: Kidney scale
Where To Buy
Very rarely available from some specialist native plant nurseries.
Hovenkamp & Miyamoto (2005) treat Nephrolepis flexuosa as a synonym of N. cordifolia var. cordifolia. For N. cordifolia they indicate that the presence or absence of tubers has no taxonomic importance. They then recognise a distinct non-tuberous variety N. cordifolia var. pseudolauterbachii from the mid Pacific islands. However plants of ar. pseudolauterbachii from Fiji had already been referred to N. flexuosa by de Lange et al. (2005), treated in that paper as distinct from N. cordifolia s.s. because of its lack of tubers, larger spores and distinctive tetraploid chromosome number (2n = 164). Thus the relegation of N. flexuosa by Hovenkamp & Miyamoto (2005) into synonymy with diploid N. cordifolia, yet apparent recognition of it (N. flexuosa) as the tetraploid var. pseudolauterbachii is inconsistent. At this stage NZPCN see no reason not to retain N. flexuosaas a valid indigenous New Zealand species.
Fact Sheet by P.J. de Lange 7 December 2005. Description based on Brownsey and Dodsworth (2000) supplemented with observations made from herbarium specimens
References and further reading
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand ferns and allied plants. David Bateman Ltd, Auckland
de Lange, P.J.; Gardner, R.O.; Sykes, W.R.; Crowcroft, G.M.; Cameron, E.K.; Stalker, F.; Christian, M.L.; Braggins, J.E. 2005: Vascular flora of Norfolk Island: some additions and taxonomic notes. New Zealand Journal of Botany 43: 563-596.
Hovenkamp, P.H.; Miyamoto, F. 2005: A conspectus of the native and naturalized species of Nephrolepis (Nephrolepidaceae) in the world. Blumea 50: 279-322.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Nephrolepis flexuosa Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/nephrolepis-flexuosa/ (Date website was queried)